Chapter 2: Dr. Edwards as a Student | Professional Aspirations
11:11:25:24 - 11:13:26:26
Lisa: Dr. Edwards, when we spoke before, you talked about, um, one of your first experiences, really seeing how people with intellectual disabilities were treated. Um, you mentioned working for the department of welfare and some training you had done at Byberry and I was wondered if you could tell me a little about, um, that experience; that first time you really did see, um, how people with intellectual disabilities...
Dr. Edwards: Well actually the, when I spoke with you last, my first exposure to large number of disabled individuals was a cerebral palsy group that came to Temple University. I was a lifeguard at that time and on Saturday mornings, the group would come in and I would have a chance to work with them. So that was my first exposure. That was a very positive, very pleasant experience to see the care, the tenderness of the aides who came with them and supported them as they tried to adjust to the water, the water situation, swimming situation. That was positive and the next, uh, large exposure to the disabled was when through a training program, we had to visit certain facilities and Byberry was one of them and uh, I was appalled with watt I saw. The, uh, it was almost as if I was going to a zoo, the way individuals certain areas were behind the cages and um, you know, just looking out as us and uh, you got no sense of, uh, any kind of normal interaction taken place with the, uh, with the patients. Uh, if it happened, then I just didn't see that, uh, but I left Byberry with a very, very negative experience with intuitional life for the disabled.
11:13:26:26 - 11:17:21:26
Lisa: Thank you. As a young man what were your professional aspirations? What did you want to be when you grew up?
Dr. Edwards: (Laughs) Well you know its interesting you would raise that question. I remember a friend of my father asked me, uh, what do you want to do when you graduate from high school? What do you want to study? I said I want to be a dentist. And he looked at me, a dentist? These guys, these were college graduates. A dentist? Why do you want to be a dentist? I don't know why I want to be a dentist (Laughs) I just thought that was something I needed to say at the time, you know. But then I began to zero in, uh, maybe that's not such a bad idea to become a dentist and, uh, so I began to pursue sciences as I went into my undergraduate years as a bio major; a chem. minor. Um, I spent, uh, my years at two colleges. I started at Virginia Union, and uh transferred into Temple as what you would call a rising sophomore. Uh, they gave me a number of credits. I think I came to the university with about 60-63 credits and they gave me 40 of them so that wasn't a bad deal. Uh, so I brought some good grades out of Virginia Union. So as I began to pursue my quest as becoming a dentist, the uh, it was a lot more difficult here at Temple than I had anticipated in that, I, uh, I'll give you an example; one professor would, uh, assign 90 pages to you. I'll never forget his style-ogy, 90 pages, and they had open recitations which meant that when you came to class, the next Wednesday or Thursday, whatever day that was, you could be called on and you were expected to, uh to respond to questions that he would raise about those 90 pages. That was tough! It was tough so that the expectations in my judgment from the professorial prospective were high but at the same time, uh, I had difficulty grasping so much material in just a weeks time because at the same token, I had calculus; I had history and I had cat anatomy and some of my colleagues say you should never take history with cat anatomy in the same semester. Well what did I know? I'm a transfer student. Well to make a long story short, I used to tell everyone my 81, from 79 to 81, 82 came directly from this brain. Whereas there were guys who had old exams who, that we had to compete against, and uh what happened is that if you have an old exam and you cant get a high B or low A you had no business being a science major in the first place, you see. But it was just when it came time to, uh, get into the professional school; you know dental school or medical school, my grades just weren't enough. That C, that 2.4 to 2.5 just didn't cut it. Uh, now what I could have done, I could have gone and got a Masters in a Biology or Chemistry related area and I could have upped the ante for getting into medical school but by that time I was married and, uh, had a child so that was just, that was put on the back burned; not the back burner, I took it off the stove. (Laughs)
11:17:21:26 - 11:18:51:08
Lisa: You mentioned that you were married. When did you meet your wife?
Dr. Edwards: Actually, uh, I met my wife as an undergrad at Virginia Union and uh, the, uh, uh, I transferred for the reason that I thought that I'd have a better shot of getting into dental school uh, or medical school by coming out of Temple. And it just turned out that I was just wrong, wrong, wrong; because where I faired with the group at Virginia Union, I was like number 4 or 5 position in terms of science majors so I could have gotten into Howard or Harry. Uh, but the, uh, but it just didn't work out for me. But anyhow, I transferred out of Virginia Union. We kept our relationship going and by the time, uh, I had almost finished school in 59, we got married. I had to take, uh, a year of Physics and a year of German, That's what happens when you transfer, you get stuff all messed up in the terms of how you take courses. My last year of college, I had something like, uh, seven semester hours the first semester; seven semester hours the second semester. So Physics and uh, German; Physics and German so that's crazy, that's the way it worked, yeah. Okay.
11:19:11:06 - 11:24:52:25
Lisa: Thanks. Um, Dr. Edwards, I believe you also served in the Army?
Dr. Edwards: Yes.
Lisa: Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Dr. Edwards: Um, that was, uh, that was an experience in that, uh, I was what you call, a, uh, a reservist. A reservist goes to work, goes into service for six months. And uh, that was serious training for the first, uh, 16 weeks. And then, uh, I guess by the time I was in the tenth week, we had tryouts for the, uh, regimen basketball team and uh, of course I made the team. And uh, you heard I said of course I made the team and uh, as a result, I went into what you call special service. Which meant that, uh, you had to get up with the troops in the morning but at eleven o'clock your day was gone because then you went over to the gym to practice your basketball craft so uh, that was, uh, a joke. You know, I was serious the first, like I said, the first ten weeks, I was serious trying to learn a craft of being a combat engineer. But once they, I transformed into special service; I kind of forgot about being a soldier and just, just be a basketball player. And uh, so at the end of February, my six months were up so of course, I'm home now to work as a, continue my service as a reservist where you go to, uh, training, I think we went to training, was it once a month or I think, once a month, we had to go for two or three hours at 57th and uh, 57th and Chestnut, yeah. Uh, and I did that from February until August. And then they had the Berlin crisis, and the Cuban crisis so, uh, they called back all the reservists. Now that, I thought, now that was going to be real serious because, you know, you know, you hear the media, they're talking about, are we going to have a nuclear war and all this kind of stuff. We have to send troops to Germany and uh we may have to send troops to Cuba. I'm saying geez, why did I join the reserves to get caught up in this stuff because by the time that happened, if you were married with a child, you didn't have to go. You didn't have to go to service because things had changed. You see, but people who were already in it, you're stuck. You were stuck, but that turned out to be, uh, that was almost a picnic in terms of they sent us to Ft Bragg, North Carolina. And uh, we had a, we must have had ten lawyers in our company. These are enlisted men who were reservists who were called back to duty. We must have had ten and these guys would question everything. (Laughs) We were the beneficiary of it, you see. I remember one, I'll never forget this, they said at four o'clock on Friday it is our right to practice our Sabbath. Well, they were right so the Adjutant General said, uh, they're absolutely right. So they will have no duties at 4 pm through Saturday. Well the rest of us are saying, wait a minute, if these guys aren't doing anything, we're not going to do anything! And if we did do something, we were going to do it in a lackadaisical fashion. Knew nothing about cooking but they wanted to know who wants to work in the mess hall? Well my cousins told me, they said listen, if you ever have a chance, these are cousins who'd been in the service, if you ever have a chance to work in the kitchen, you work in the in the kitchen! So I raised my hand, I'd like to work in the kitchen and it was a tremendous pay off because the people who worked in the kitchen, they would take food out to the field and then come back. Didn't have to stay overnight, you see, in the field.
More Interview Chapters
- Childhood and Family
- YOU ARE HERE: Dr. Edwards as a Student | Professional Aspirations
- Birth of Graynle, Jr.
- Graynle Jr.'s Educational Experience
- Impact of Disability on Relationships
- Graynle Jr's Education and Impact of Least Restrictive Environment
- Joining a Community of Advocates
- Lack of Opportunities Post-secondary School
- Dr. Edwards Advocacy for Children and Adults with Disabilities
- Challenges for Parents Today
- Relationship with Graynle Jr. and Reflections on Advocacy
About Graynle Edwards
Parent, Adjunct Professor in Environmental Sciences, Lincoln University
Fathers, Education and Least Restrictive Environments, PARC, Parents, Employment and Workshops, Waiting List