The Octogenarian

This new column is submitted for your entertainment, information and possibly even edification.

Why the name Octogenarian and who is the Octogenarian and why should I read his column?

By definition, an Octogenarian is a person in their ninth decade of life.

My name is Ken and I came by this title, The Octogenarian, by the simple act of having been born a mere “four score and three years ago.”  When I was born, Herbert Hoover was the U.S. president, the Great Depression was just beginning (that’s the bigger depression before this most recent one) and we did not yet know it back then, but we were between world wars.

More important, at age 83, I am, as far as I can tell, the oldest full-time undergraduate student on campus.  This gives me a chance to prove to those of you who read my column how much alike we are as well as the chance to observe our differences.

When you see me on campus, please say hello, but don’t take it as an affront if I don’t recognize you, as I am a victim of old age onset-dry-macular-degeneration (meaning that even though I do not consider myself blind, I just can’t see you as anything except an outline.)

Also, don’t laugh, but if at first I don’t pay any attention to what you say to me I may not have my hearing devices in. Even with them, I cannot recognize all sound.  So, what to do?  Does the expression in your face come to mind as a form of greeting?

You have every right to ask, “What is this old codger, a wreck of the man he once was, doing on my campus?  Trust me, I ask the same question.

Well, having completed the first two of my 12 full years of college in the year 1951, and at the urging of my president, Mr. Truman, I took a four year school break to investigate the joys of military life.

In 1955, I went back to school for three more years but left before earning my degree. With my second of seven children on the way, I had to earn a living.

Thirty years after starting school the first time, I was back in school earning my first degree.  Being a consistent chap, I waited 30 more years to go back to school, and this past May, I received an AA from Lone Star College (I think it was for being their oldest graduate ever) and so, in pursuit of a well-rounded education, I became a Bearkat.

My perspective is varied.  I have children old enough to be your grandparents and I have two children in college with one even being on this campus.  Next year, one of my granddaughters is joining us here on campus.

This column will carry many perspectives on many varied subjects.  I look forward to sharing this newspaper space with you and inflicting my experience and opinions for your reading pleasure and I intend to enjoy and respect your feedback.

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