THE STORY OF THE GRAD SCHOOL PAPER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My mother’s first husband died when she was 29 years old. She had just gone back to college to get her degree. Years earlier, she had to leave college in her second year, due to illness. She ended up getting her Master’s Degree in psychology and becoming a practicing psychologist. She started out as a child psychologist but later switched to adults. She found that treating children was too physically demanding for her after she had me.

Anyway, while she was in graduate school, she was dating my father. He was a prominent and published psychiatrist and anthropologist. In one of her psych classes, she was required to read a book that my father had written. She then had to write a paper on the book.

Mom and Dad in their dating days

Coincidentally, Mom had helped my dad edit this book before it was published. Mom was swamped with other schoolwork, so she asked my father to write the paper for her. He knew that she knew the book backwards and forwards, so he agreed to help her.

I’m sure you can guess what happened. Mom got a B, her worst grade ever. On top of that, the professor wrote comments in the margins. She said that Mom misunderstood what the author meant on one point, and missed the point of what he was trying to say on another.

Of course Mom couldn’t say anything to the professor! She had to swallow her grade and move on. My dad found the whole situation disturbing, but funny.

Mom never had Dad write anything for her again.

20 thoughts on “THE STORY OF THE GRAD SCHOOL PAPER – BY ELLIN CURLEY

    • Ellin Curley December 14, 2017 / 3:11 pm

      I’ve heard versions of this story about other writers too. I don’t know if it reflects badly on the author – he didn’t communicate his ideas well enough. Or badly on the teacher who just didn’t get it.

      Like

  1. AlexisChateauPR December 14, 2017 / 12:22 am

    That is hilarious! Look who didn’t understand the author, after all 😂

    Like

    • Ellin Curley December 14, 2017 / 3:13 pm

      The frustrating part was that Mom couldn’t tell the teacher how wrong SHE was. She was deprived of her ‘gottcha’ moment because, of course, she couldn’t say anything to the teacher.

      Like

      • AlexisChateauPR December 14, 2017 / 4:12 pm

        Haha, she could have said she interviewed the author or something 😂

        Like

  2. loisajay December 14, 2017 / 8:22 am

    You should write a book, Ellin. These stories of your childhood are both funny and heartbreaking–but so darn interesting!

    Like

    • Ellin Curley December 14, 2017 / 3:15 pm

      I have compiled my family blogs, in chronological order, in a big three ring binder for my kids. So they have a family history in blogs. If you know a publisher who might be interested, please let me know!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Covert Novelist December 14, 2017 / 11:55 am

    I agree with Loisajay. Your childhood stories are interesting and worth reading.

    Like

    • Ellin Curley December 14, 2017 / 3:16 pm

      I wish I had contacts in the publishing industry. My husband and I wrote a screenplay and tried to get it read by someone in the industry who could facilitate a movie deal. We gave up, even with a daughter in the business in LA. She didn’t know the right people in the right sub section of the industry.

      Like

      • Covert Novelist December 14, 2017 / 4:35 pm

        I am so sorry. That bites the big one. It would be entertaining no doubt about it.

        Like

  4. swo8 December 14, 2017 / 5:06 pm

    The picture of your mom reminds me a little of my mother, Ellin.
    Leslie

    Like

    • Ellin Curley December 17, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      That’s great!

      Liked by 1 person

      • swo8 December 17, 2017 / 4:43 pm

        I always thought my mom was a great beauty.

        Like

  5. Marilyn Armstrong December 14, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    Jeffrey had a similar story except the “author” got nailed for plagiarism. The prof did not take it in good spirit. Personally, I think the professor didn’t get it. I didn’t think they got it MOST of the time, but that’s just my opinion.

    Like

    • Ellin Curley December 17, 2017 / 3:30 pm

      That’s a weird twist on this story. I can understand the professor being less than thrilled.

      Like

  6. Rebel Girl December 15, 2017 / 12:25 am

    LOL! The author didn’t understand himself! More like the teacher had no clue!

    Like

    • Ellin Curley December 17, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      That’s why it was so frustrating. My mom wanted to tell the teacher that he didn’t understand the book, but she couldn’t!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. beehumblewithme.com December 16, 2017 / 2:48 am

    She was definitely put on the spot! I always wanted to study Phsycology! Loved this post!

    Like

    • Ellin Curley December 17, 2017 / 3:31 pm

      Thanks!

      Like

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