Paula’s Father & Their Field Of Dreams
My father loved me and believed in me, but my mother emotionally abused him as well. He became a quiet alcoholic so he could cope with the abuse and bury his rage. He could not always provide the support I needed because my mother did not support him.
My father believed I could and should someday go to college and get two degrees. He told me this repeatedly. He wanted me to teach. He had been a teacher until the cost of raising his growing family outpaced his professor’s salary at Northwestern University.
Unimagined Success Story #7 explains how I finally started college at age 35.
Because of my spinal injury, attending college was painful. I never sat through a class in a desk chair with my feet on the floor. Carrying a lumbar back support pillow everywhere, I sat on a desk chair only when I could put my feet on another chair. The university allowed me to keep my own chair in one building. It was an old rocker with the rockers cut off and wheels added. In other buildings, I sat on the floor against the wall with my back pillow when no desk chair was available for my feet. I lay on the floor for one semester to take a psychology course.
When I took Communication 101, one other nontrad student was in the class. I considered her the best speaker in the class. One day she asked me what grade the teacher had given me on my last speech. I said an A-. The best speaker in the class said, “You’d think you and I could get straight As.” I decided to become a professional speaker, a teacher to large audiences.
While I was in college, the Field of Dreams movie came out. I went to the movie with my boyfriend knowing only that the movie was about baseball and was filmed in Iowa. All the way through the movie, I kept thinking,
“This looks like Iowa.”
On the way out of the movie theater, surrounded my dozens of other movie goers, I said to my boyfriend,
“That looked like Iowa.”
You can imagine what the other moviegoers must have thought.
My boyfriend responded,
“I thought you knew. It was filmed in Dyersville.”
My father grew up on a farm outside Dyersville, Iowa. When his parents retired, they moved into Dyersville. Every summer for maybe a decade, we visited his family in Dyersville. I recognized the landscape around Dyersville while watching the movie.
Dyersville was a bit of heaven for my father and me. My mother had to be nice to both of us in Dyersville. My father was happy to be with his family and they were nice to me. Our own heaven on Earth in Iowa.
Field of Dreams is now one of my favorite movies. My father died in 1981 and Field of Dreams came out in 1989. I could never share the movie with my father. Every time I watched Ray realize that his father had come back to the heaven of Iowa to play catch with his son, I cried out of sadness. My father was dead and couldn’t know that I was fulfilling his dreams for me.
It took me five years to get my bachelor’s degree and another five years to get my master’s degree. When my younger brother got married, I was still in graduate school. My mother introduced me to another wedding guest haltingly explaining, “She’s going to graduate school” in the same manner she would have said “She’s been convicted of murder.” The other guest looked at me with shock, wondering what could be so terrible about being in graduate school.
I didn’t attend either of my graduations because sitting would have been too painful. My mother completely ignored my graduate degree, never offering me congratulations. She never even mentioned my graduate degree ever. Only my older sister congratulated me. When I said our mother had ignored my degree, my sister’s response was, “She didn’t raise us to be successful.” My other four siblings also ignored my graduate degree.
Weeks after my master’s graduation, my diploma arrived in the mail. Two friends of mine came over that night for a quiet visit. No celebrating, just good conversation. In the middle of the conversation, I suddenly felt a presence to my left side and slightly behind me. I turned to look and clearly saw my father’s face. He bent close to my ear and said, “Congratulations!”
Now when I watch Ray catch that baseball in Field of Dreams, I remember my father’s face and “Congratulations” and cry with happiness.
My father knows.
My father also knows that I am now an international bestselling author, international professional speaker, international TV producer, and soft skills mastermind teaching soft skill power strategies around the world.
My father knows I fulfilled his dreams for me.
© Paula M. Kramer, 2023
All rights reserved.
Updated August 31, 2023.