Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go” was the theme for Ricky’s high school Project Graduation party way back in 2005. And here he was, perched on our couch, a rare event these days, visiting “the parents,” along with our oldest, Katie, and future son-in-law, Chad. We don’t have anyone graduating this year, high school or college, so it seemed like a great time to gather a little column material. Got a couple of college tips from a few who have been there and done that. “Do not sign up for credit card offers on campus. I’m still paying for that free king-size bag of M&M’s from UT,” said Katie, whipping out the Longhorn encrusted credit card she has owned since 1998, renewed several times over, of course. “Yep, and I’m still paying for that T-shirt I got at A&M,” said Chad. It’s probably why Katie lectured her little brother so strongly about staying away from the card offers when he started college. Thanks to serious threats of toasted knuckle sandwiches from his big sister, Ricky actually graduated with a diploma AND absolutely zero in credit card debt. “Oh, and here is another great tip. Even if you get a ‘D’ in Zoology you can still graduate AND work at a zoo,” Katie said with a smile. And yes, Katie works at the Houston Zoo … performing marketing duties … and gladly leaving the care of animals to the experts. I remember her very first semester well, at UT. The professor had made copies of his “textbook” and students were required to memorize it. I think it was the first time in her life Katie ever got a “D” on a report card. It was a very humbling experience mostly because Christmas break centered ‘round her parents lecturing about the changes she would be making once back at college. “I got a ‘D’ in Intro. to Spanish,” confessed Ricky. His dad never knew about the grade … but he does now. It is interesting how many years have to pass before kids confess what really happened during their college years. “Heck, even Mimi can say ‘hola,’” said Ricky’s dad, referring to our special needs daughter. “I really intended to make it to the Spanish lab. But hey, it was scheduled on Friday night? It just never happened. The lab was 15 percent of our grade. At the end of the semester I had a 69.5 percent and a professor that wasn’t impressed with my begging skills,” Ricky stated. I suppose if a survey were performed on first semester college students, we’d find a percentage had a similar teachable moment. It was Chad who raised his hand next. “I got a ‘D’ my first semester. It was an engineering course that caused me to change my major,” said Chad. I think that pretty much sums it up for Katie as well. But then … they obviously weren’t meant to be studying the majors they started with I’m guessin’. “Yep, and after all these years, sometimes I still have dreams I’m sitting at a desk taking a college final. And in the dream I didn’t go to class once the whole semester,” says Katie. “I have that same nightmare,” agreed Chad nodding his head. My kids also highly recommend studying abroad. Lots of colleges have study-abroad programs. Katie went to Italy for a summer session and Ricky studied in Spain for a semester. Ricky’s lovely wife of six months, Kate, also studied in Spain and had a college internship one summer in the Ukraine. Obviously they took Dr. Seuss literally. “Nine hours in Rome and I got seriously lost. I was standing behind a nun at a gift shop in St. Peter’s buying Dad a rosary. The nun was buying about a hundred rosaries and my group accidently left me behind. I didn’t know the name of my hotel. Only what it looked like. I still remember standing on the bridge over the Tiber River crying and it was getting dark. I thought I was gonna die,” Katie stated. A group of University of Kentucky students happened by and rescued her. They walked her around Rome for the next six hours until divine intervention … they just happened upon her hotel. Ricky, on the other hand, hung out with six girls while studying in Spain. “The guy students were all potheads so I befriended the girls. They called me ‘the boy.’ I was their protector. If some creepy guy came up to them they pointed at me,” said Ricky. He and the girls traveled to Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Austria during breaks that semester. Now scattered in different locations, five of them attended Ricky and Kate’s wedding last November. So parents are you ready? If not, I say blame it on Dr. Seuss … he’s the dude that wrote the book. Dixie Frantz is a longtime Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 16 years. Email Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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