The Graduation Celebrator We Miss

The summer between my junior and senior year in college I worked in Pittsburgh selling cable television. It was a job that required a car since I sold in every neighborhood all over the city, depending on where the new cable was being built. One night we had a big team event and on my way home I got t-boned in an intersection and my car was totaled. My father happened to be in Pittsburgh that day, which was very comforting. He also went out the day after my accident and found me a “new” used car. It was a maroon Volvo sedan, the safest car he could think of.

I loved that car, but the day I graduated from college my mother put the dollar amount my father had paid for that car on a piece of paper on the refrigerator. Happy graduation, no present, you owe us this money. Since my parents had paid for my education it seemed only fair. Thankfully I got a job that provided me with a company car, so I sold that Volvo for $7,700, seven hundred more than my father had paid for it and returned the $7,000 to my parents. (Good thing I was good at sales.)

Last summer it dawned on me that I paid my parents back exactly what my father had paid, but he had gotten insurance on the car I totaled. I asked him about this when I thought of it. He said, “You are right, but I never told your mother that I got that insurance money.” I told him that was rough on me. He said, “Don’t worry, I will make it up to Carter when she graduates this year.”

Sadly he did not make it long enough to see her graduate. Even though she got her diploma in December, she is going to walk in graduation next month. We are going to celebrate and see her do it, especially since it will be at Fenway. I do wish my Dad had lived long enough to celebrate it with her. He would be very proud of how well she did and the job she got.

She also is not getting the present that would make up for his pocketing the insurance money, instead having me pay for the whole car. I’m not sure she is getting any presents at all for graduation. Not that she needs anything other than money to help her decorate her new apartment now that she will have a separate bedroom. Her grandfather would have been the big celebrator. We do miss that about him.



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