My mother blazed a mighty trail as a single-mom pursing higher education. In the 1970's she graduated top of her class at UCSB when my brother Doug and I were still in elementary school. Fondly pulled from my memory banks are the days when the babysitter was ill or unavailable and she took us with her to the university. The campus seemed so huge and vast as the three of us walked together to her class.
I vividly remember her reading "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" to us. She was fantastic at tempo and I hung on every word. It was a double duty book - for me and Doug to hear of this strange place called Narnia and required reading for one of her literary classes.
I'm sure she got an A in that class - proudly she graduated on the Dean's List.
Yet, more important to her legacy, she proved to us that higher education can be balanced and accomplished with one single-loving hand holding a Bachelor of Arts degree - her cap tassel blowing in the beachy afternoon breeze and one hand holding the grip of her small child.
She would go on to teach young students. Her personal education would pave the way as a professional teacher in the California classroom and as a gifted home-school instructor. She molded minds with promise and laid foundations of strength from within.
As the first new millennium decade came to an end, I contemplated going back to school myself to finish my degree. It was though a strange inner struggle and a deep desire collided. I was really on the fence at the huge commitment and amount of time it would take. How I would do it as a single mom of three daughters --- and at my age? While Mom and I weighed the pros and cons my mouth just blurted out, "Mom, I will be 43 by the time I graduate!" She quickly replied, "You will still be 43 if you don't."
That was an epiphany moment and I went for it. My mom helped me dramatically in my educational years - she was the hand I could count on. She was the place of trust I could stand on. She was seamlessly the grandma extraordinaire. Oh, and oh the glory day came - she waited, she watched and triple cheered me on as I (age 43) passed by her and my daughters with my graduating class - once again draped in the sunny Santa Barbara sky.
An educational drive is part of the heartstrings she tied into us in her life and through these fragile days of time we walk today. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Judith Ann Chance (Stolp) Scholarship Fund.
She learned, she taught, Judith Ann changed the world because of books and a desire to improve the world around her.