After her fifth child graduated, Dorothy, aka “Mama Dot,” decided she was going back to college to get her degree. She went to get it even though she is older than everybody else. She had her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other relatives' support all the way. Seeing her walking across that stage made me as happy as me eating chocolate.
Dorothy Thompson Humbert, aka “Mama Dot,” was born in 1925. She had several siblings and got married young to the late William M. “Pa Boot” Humbert. Later on, things got in her way, preventing her from going to college. She had five children, including my dad, and put them through college. She said, “After my children went…to college…I went to college.” She encouraged herself to go to college; it was her decision to go even though she was older. “I…..was about in my….70s when I….when I went to college…probably when you were real little.” She went to college in her 70s at Greenville Technical College. Her professors commended her for going to college at her age. At first, she felt bad being older than everyone else, but it didn’t stop her; she kept on going.
“It was difficult at first but I got my work done and I worked real hard to make good grades.” Her environment in the classroom was about average size, with people that would say, “If you need help Mrs. Humbert, just tell me. Ok?” Her friends, instructors, and other classmates helped her and commended her on how she did her work on time. They talked to her normally and asked her about normal stuff like her family, hobbies, and things she did with her free time. She said, “It was a sacrifice to make but I did it.”
Mama Dot was so grateful and happy that in 4 years she got her degree. On graduation night, all of our family came to the program. I’m talking about aunts, uncles, cousins, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and other family friends. I was about five or six at the time. I remember seeing a lot of people. Then I saw Mama Dot walking across that stage getting her degree. So many people clapped for her, and then went to see her. We had to wait in a line. People were running up to her and commending her for going to college and actually graduating. Mama Dot said, “I had support from the instructors…and the staff that kept me going.”
After Mama Dot graduated, she got a job in Greenville. Her job was to check on foster children in Greenville. “I would ride all over Greenville checking on children and investigating how they were being treated.” When downtown Greenville was not as big as it is now, she worked with kids that did not have a family who cared about them. Mama Dot worked with kids all over downtown and West Greenville. She was a foster children investigator for ten years. Now, she is retired and lives with my Aunt Rosemary, and she says, “I’m doing good.”
Mama Dot is my inspiration and hero because she told people to never give up if something happens. I have always told her that she is my guide through college. I’ll never forget what she has told me, my family, and friends, “Don’t ever give up your education if anything gets in your way!” Mama Dot’s life had a bump in the road but she kept on going!