Thursday, April 21, 2011

S is for "Seventeen Magazine Made Me What I am Today"

Back in the Dark Ages when I was a teenager, I read Seventeen Magazine religiously, hoping I could become one of those attractive girls in its pages. That didn't happen, but the magazine did have a huge impact on my life.

My freshman year in college, I read an article in Seventeen about the field of speech therapy, about young women who were helping children and adults with speech disorders. My sophomore year I had to declare a major. I didn't want to be either of the two choices for girls in those days--classroom teacher or nurse. Remembering the article I'd read, I impulsively chose speech therapy. Of course, I didn't expect to BE a speech therapist; I would just study it. I'd BE a wife and mom. But I did intend to get a degree and I had a vague feeling that it was always a good idea to have a fallback, just in case.

After college I worked in the public schools for a while, got married, and worked again for a while during my first pregnancy. I enjoyed the work, liked the children I worked with, but I was happy to leave it behind. I was on my way to being June Cleaver. Seventeen Magazine had given way to Ladies Home Journal.

Then, splat! My marriage broke up. Clearly I could no longer lead a Leave it to Beaver life; I would have to go back to work. What had been a hazy "just in case" idea was reality. With the help of my parents, I got my Master's degree in speech pathology and then went to work. I've never stopped.

Even though I married again and could have gone back to being a homemaker, I loved my work too much to quit, so together my husband and I shared the responsibility of three kids and a busy home life. I moved from the Speech and Hearing Institute in the Texas Medical center to private practice, where I've been ever since.

And now that my magazine of choice is AARP, I'm still at it. I work half time now and I still love working with children (Scroll back to read my K is for Kids post). Yesterday the secretary at the one of the private schools I visit remarked that she had heard me and the two-year-old I was working with laughing during our session. As long as I can laugh while I work, I'll keep going. My husband used to say I would be the only 100-year-old speech pathologist still in practice. I don't know that I'll make it that far, but I'm working on it.

Thanks, Seventeen Magazine, for introducing me to the best career I could have chosen.


Dafeenah said... [Reply to comment]

What an amazing story. I remember Seventeen but I was one of those girls who made fun of the girls in it not one who read it. Although now I am thinking maybe I should have.

Suzi Banks Baum said... [Reply to comment]

Thelma, you are an amazing woman. I too was inspired working with kids. I started at a summer residential therapeutic camp as a dining room aide, when I was 15 in Upper Michigan. I helped with the campers when I was free, reading stories and such. Then as I progressed over my years working there, the therapists were so inspiring to me. I pursued theatre but always did things with kids, especially special needs kids and adults. Magazines like 17 open windows for girls- just as I was tucking in my 13 year old tonight, she had to read a few pages of her "American Girl" mag before falling asleep. What a great testimony to your career here in this S post.
Looking forward to the last week of A to Z posts! xo S


Template by: Bright Sunshine Designs by Mary - Affordable Custom Blog Design © 2011