Even when she was a small child, Marjorie Mae Brothers wanted to be a teacher.
At the time, this must have seemed like an impossible dream. Marjorie was born in 1928, the second of John and Hattie Burch's four children. And even though her father was a mason skilled in brick and stone, the Great Depression made it hard for him to find work. There were times, as a matter of fact, when the only way the family survived was Hattie's job sewing sacks of sugar at the mill in Loveland, Colorado.
Yes, money was tight – too tight, it seemed, for someone like Marjorie to attend college and become a teacher.
But then she found out that all you needed to teach at that time in Kansas was a two-year degree . . . and with Marjorie working full-time in the college cafeteria, and her mother putting in a second-shift at the sugar mill, she was just able to get that degree in teaching from Southwestern Bible College in Waxahachie, Texas.
Other degrees would follow: a bachelor’s degree from Fort Hays State College, a master’s degree from Portland State University, and a doctorate in education, awarded jointly by Portland State University and the University of Oregon -- all gained in her ongoing efforts to become a better teacher.
In return, teaching gave her meaning . . . and purpose . . . and a family.
At her first teaching job, you see, she would be out on the playground with her children during recess, and the man who delivered milk to the school for the children’s lunches would whistle at her when he saw her. One day, this man asked her out on a date; his name was Robert J. Brothers. And just one month after their first date, the two of them were engaged to be married. This August, Robert and Marjorie would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary together.
Together, they would raise their children: Greg and Jana.
Together with those children, they went camping just about every place you could camp here in the West – everyplace from the Oregon Coast to Banff.
And when their children moved out and started lives of their own, then Robert and Marjorie traveled to places they’d always wanted to see – places such as Mexico and Norway and Greece.
Yes, it’s a long ways from Haddam to places such as these.
But the same God who gave Marjorie the dream of teaching . . . that God was with her all through her life.