Can you imagine living over 100 years and only having two regrets? I can't. It is one of the things that amazed me about Velma Wancura.
And to think that one of those regrets was that she didn't finish college astounds me when I consider the time.
Velma went to Ft. Hays to summer school for six summers, as well as taking correspondence courses. When her husband, Ted, passed away, she had accumulated 62 hours of college credits. She was 47 years old at the time, and wishes she would have taken the time to finish. As you hear her talk about education, you realize that for her, it is never ending. That value was passed from on from her parents and grandparents.
There wasn't a high school in her hometown, so to continue her education, her parents had her live in McCracken, Kansas with her grandparents. When Beeler High School was completed, she went home to attend school there. She graduated at age 17, not old enough to get her teacher's certificate, so she worked for a doctor for a year. At 18, she went to the county seat and took the teacher's test. After all this time, she still remembers her score- a 91, a number she is extremely proud of. She loved being a teacher. When we talked, she brought a yellow pad with notes of all the things she wanted to tell me.
Velma Wancura has a memory for details. She recalled years, ages, scores, locations, people's names, (which I am horrible at), those small tints that color the entire painting. Speaking of painting, she was a bit of an artist, and true to Velma fashion, learning a skill from one who knows more than you do, is how you do things. She started painting classes when she was 70 years old at the high school. The Baptist preacher got wind that the class was painting nudes. One night they heard a noise at the door. It was the preacher. He made his accusation. In response, the teacher invited him in. After taking a look around, said he guessed he was mistaken. Velma laughed as she recalled the extreme look of disappointment on his face. We all laughed. Revisiting her story makes me miss her, and say a quiet thank you for the privilege of meeting her.