Rosemary Graham was educated in France.
Okay, it was only nursery school, or l’ecole maternelle as they so beautifully call it, and it was for less than a year. But still. Soon after my birth (in my mother’s hometown of Jersey City, New Jersey), my father’s work took us to a suburb of Paris, where we lived for three and a half years. While my memories are a bit jumbled, I do remember eating (and liking!) escargot and standing in the corner of that French nursery school classroom with tape over my mouth for talking too much.
Apparently in French—a fact that would no doubt surprise Madame Bogrow, my high school French teacher.
After France, my family moved to the Connecticut suburbs where I grew into a teenager with a Dorothy Hamill haircut, a Harvest Gold Dodge Valiant, and a (fleeting) desire to one day run a multinational corporation. (See yearbook caption below.)
Thankfully, I came to my senses in college and instead of Business Administration opted for the major universally acknowledged to hold the least promising job prospects: English. After a couple of years teaching high school, I went to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D., intent on testing the dire predictions of everyone who said I’d never get a job. And everyone did say it. The University of Virginia, where I went to study, said it in its acceptance letter. I said it myself, while hoping that someday people would be calling me Professor Graham.
It all worked out, and in retrospect looks like genius. I’m now a tenured professor of English and Creative Writing, which is kind of like being an English major for life. With pay. At Saint Mary’s College of California, I teach everything from Freshman Composition and Nineteenth-Century American Literature to graduate workshops for our MFA Program.
Plus I get to live in the pretty cool city of Berkeley. It’s not Paris, but it’ll do.