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An Ode to Atkinson

By Belle Bulloch
(As a student at York U, age 73)

An Atkinson Student I am, I am,
Determined to pass in every exam.
I march down the hall with step so firm,
My goal in the distance, the Common Room.
I'll study there, where it's quiet and warm
About Social Groups, their roles and norm.
I settled down and started to read
Merton, Homan, Hadfield and Mead.
Over seven hundred pages, scientific, analytic
dialectic phraseology, terminology specific.
Why can't they use plain English, this science to explain?
Why make is to exclusive, why put me under strain?

"Folkways" by Sumner I really enjoyed.
I read it when I should have read Freud.
Freud worries me, how clever can one be
and still hold on to one's sanity?

Soon, a couple came in holding hands so cosy
cooing and wooing, so lest I seem nosy,
I gathered my wits, my books and my clothes
determined to study, where nobody goes.

A great deal of reading covers scientific reports.
Kinsey's report makes me cringe, blush then snort.
Seems I read it in the Bible a long time back,
They either did or they didn't, which whom or with what.
It can be depressing, the world's just the same
As it was in the beginning, now who is to blame?

Woe is me, I'm all undone.
I'm past the age where school is fun.
It's work, work, work till the day is done.
And sometimes longer, till the rising sun.

At home, husband says sweetly,
"Why stare at me so?
I'm an open book, as you very well know,
Why analyze me, I feel like a worm.
This is being dissected, stop making me squirm."
My dear old Dad, bless his contemplative soul,
Wonders why, my new scholastic role?
"Are you sure you're alright both mentally and physically?
You're a worry." he says, as he stares at me quizzically.

My exam paper's back. Oh dear, I've done poorly.
Just barely a pass, I can do better, surely?

Seems I can
  specialize,
  economize,
  improvise,
  dramatize,
  systematize,
  sympathize,
  bowdlerize,
  socialize,
  generalize,
  realize,
  visualize and
  analyse.
But I simply must learn to theorize.

When ten years are over, will I get my diploma?
A Batchelor of Arts Degree.
Will it hang on my wall, to be seen by all
Who wish to have a look see?

In the meantime, with greater persistence,
I'll listen to Schlesinger with lesser resistance.
His lectures on families, I want to know more,
Behaviour in foreign countries is never a bore.
It's the Sociological terminology I really abhor.

Fathers of Sociology, must you be so contrary?
It's impossible to learn without the dictionary.
I must get ahead in Atkinson College,
Before I'm too old for the function of Knowledge.

Our mother's mother did not have one single day of schooling, wore rags on her feet as a child and was always hungry. She vowed as a teenager that when she got married her children would always have shoes, schooling and never suffer from hunger. When brother John visited grandma Halter as a child, she insisted he first put on his good shoes and then have something to eat. Many of Grandma's children and their children went on to be scholars. Mother never got that diploma but she treasured evey minute trying.