Graduation Day

This post is dedicated to my niece, Chante’. I loved you the moment I saw you, and I love you even more today. You have grown into the most beautiful, accomplished woman. Your beauty shines through from the inside out. Your loving spirit is something for all others to strive for guided by the example you set. I love you Chante’, Aunt Virginia.


I’ve always been very close to my late brother, Stephen’s, daughter, Chante’.  And, as far back as I can remember, Chante’ has talked about wanting to be a nurse. When Chante’ told me she was actually going to go to nursing school, she asked if  I would come to her graduation when she finished all her studies. I told her I would be pleased and proud to attend her graduation. This past Thursday, November 14th, my husband, Bill, daughter, Shantel, and I drove to San Diego to attend Chante’s graduation on Friday, November 15th.

We had an uneventful drive until we actually arrived in San Diego. Then all hell broke loose as we found ourselves in the middle of rush hour traffic, which I soon came to realize should be renamed suicide hour. OMG, I forgot how crazy California drivers really are. I mean I thought New York traffic was bad, let me just say at least in New York they are driving reasonably slow due to the sheer volume of cars on the road in Manhattan. The drivers we encountered in San Diego, on the other hand, drive like they think they  own the entire freeway and no speed limit exists… We were almost hit twice in the span of fifteen minutes!!! Then, to add to the excitement, and heart failure…, the GPS system we had in our car was set for the shortest distance rather than the fastest distance so the voice on the GPS kept directing us on and off the freeway. We went through every little side town and neighborhood, etc. during rush hour, then we would be directed back onto the freeway over and over again…. What should have been a 5-6 hour trip from our home to our hotel ended up taking well over 7 hours… But, it was nothing that a couple of glasses of wine in our room couldn’t help calm down… Jeez, I don’t remember getting that nervous in traffic when I was younger, and Bill and I played in San Diego every other weekend… I wouldn’t think it has anything to do with getting a little older…would you? 🙂

We stayed at the DoubleTree, by Hilton, in hotel circle. It was a really nice room and just across the street from where Chante’s graduation would be held.


After we got settled into our room we went down to dinner right in the hotel restaurant. I had a grilled smoked turkey sandwich. Bill had a roast beef French dip sandwich, and Shantel had grilled chicken caesar salad, and a brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream… OMG how that girl can eat!!!

The next morning, my niece, Chante’  her husband, Roger, and beautiful daughter, Josie, met us at our hotel and we all went out to breakfast together.

This is my niece, Chante, and her beautiful daughter, Josie. Josie is 3 1/2 years old and just as precious as she can be. She is smart as a whip, and will carry on  a full conversation with you for as long as you are a willing partner to talk to…


What a doll. I’m so glad we got to spend some quality, one-on-one time with Chante and her family prior to the graduation.

After breakfast, and a long chat, Chante and her family had to get going, as they had other family members to visit with as well. So we said our good-bye’s until later that afternoon when the nurses pinning ceremony would take place at 4:00 p.m., just prior to the actual graduation that started at 6:00 p.m.

Shantel wanted to find a mall to go, to and as luck would have it…, there just happened to be one right around the corner from our hotel. So off we went to spend a few hours walking around the mall. Then, when we tired of walking, and helping Shantel shop…, we went to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. I had a delicious chicken tequila lime pasta dish that was to die for… Bill had an oriental chicken salad, but was less than pleased with it only because he didn’t notice it had cilantro in it and he doesn’t like cilantro. Shantel, of course, had a whole pizza to herself, and ate all but one piece, which she reluctantly gave to Bill since he was not happy with his salad even though he did eat it… 🙂

After lunch we went back to our room to get ready for the pinning ceremony and graduation.

We were so very proud to see our niece, Chante’ being pinned as a nurse. The program was beautiful and allowed any established certified nurse , i.e. mother, father, relative or friend to pin the new nurse coming into the profession. My mother is a retired R.N. but of course, she was in no condition to make the trip to pin Chante’. She did however ask me to give Chante’ her original cap and pin that she received when she graduated nursing school in the 1940’s. I was going to have the cap and pin mounted in a shadow box for Chante’ but decided not everyone loves shadow boxes so I asked my Frissy, who is a fabulous photographer, who has had her work shown in New York City ,and even published in books…, to photograph the cap and pin of my mother, together with a photograph of my mother in her cap and pin, and make the whole thing look aged. Frissy did an outstanding job. She created a black and white photograph that looks aged just like I wanted . Then I had that photograph framed in an antique frame to further showcase the aged effect… Chante’ was very pleased with the gift. I can only wish I could show you that photo but it was lost when we had our computer “fixed…”

This is Chante’ awaiting her turn to be pinned. I can only imagine the emotions and excitement of this moment for Chante’.


This is Chante’ being pinned. The picture is a little fuzzy because everyone was pushing and shoving everyone to get their pictures… But still, such a proud, proud, moment.


Right after the new nurses were pinned they participated in a candle lighting ceremony that represents the passing of the light of the nurses profession to the next generation. So beautiful.


After the nurses were pinned, we were all ushered out to wait for the graduation ceremony which included all the students that attend Kaplan College. This included dental students, X-ray tech’s, medical billing students, as well as nursing students. The nurses were the last to receive their diploma’s. This is Chante’ waiting in line to receive her diploma.


This picture is Chante’ receiving her diploma. We are so PROUD of you Chante’.


As with all young children, even Josie was getting overly excited for Mommy to be graduated so the celebration could begin… ” are we done yet, are we done yet… Her Nana, Lucie, was looking on and helping to contain all of Josie’s excitement… 🙂


Finally, to Josie’s delight, Mommy, the nursing graduate, arrived with her pin and her diploma… Again, Chante’ we just could not be more PROUD of you and your accomplishments.


After the graduation, we said our good-byes to Chante’ and her family. Bill, Shantel, and I went to dinner then back to our hotel room to pack and get ready to leave early in the morning… which came way too early if you know what I mean…

But, once on the road, we were grateful that it was a Saturday and the traffic was not as horrendous as it was when we arrived in San Diego on Thursday evening during “suicide hour”…, We did enjoy this beautiful scene of nature…


Which quickly turned to this fog so thick that when you got in it you could not see the car in front of you for miles and miles… but “fun/scary just the same as we rarely see this type of weather in the Phoenix area.


One of the things I look forward to seeing every time we travel the Interstate 8 route is what I call “the windmill farms”, for lack of a better term…, You just drive along Interstate 8 for miles and miles then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, these windmills just pop up and go on for miles… how cool is that?


Another thing I love seeing is the Sand Dunes between Phoenix and California. People from all over travel in their RV’s to camp out and enjoy their recreational toys to run up and down the sand dunes… How much fun does that look like???


In closing I just can not say enough how very PROUD we are of Chante’ and her accomplishments. I know your father who is now in heaven,  is PROUD of you too sweetie. You did your whole family PROUD… We love you and are always here to support you in anything you choose to do… Aunt Virginia.

Stay tuned!

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lucie
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 02:43:45

    Virgina thank you this was so beautiful. It was so nice to see and chat with you. I love when your blog and always feel that I am right there when I read it. This time I was there and have to say that you nailed it. Thank yo so very much. love you


  2. Aunt Ellen
    Nov 20, 2013 @ 05:17:29

    What a delightful day you must have had and feel the pride you have for Chante. It is so good to know the nursing profession is being carried on to another generation. Chante will always be fulfilled knowing she is helping and carrying for others. She will be a loving and kind professional, it takes a very, very special person for her kind of duties. Thanks for sharing your trip. Always enjoy fond memories….<3


    • beyondcinderella
      Nov 20, 2013 @ 11:54:47

      Yes Aunt Ellen, it was wonderful seeing Chante’ graduate nursing school. She holds a special place in my heart and this just added to the good memories I share with her. Love you, Virginia


  3. gotham girl
    Nov 21, 2013 @ 17:00:50

    What a wonderful trip! I’m thrilled she liked her photo! And like Auntie Ellen, how wonderful that she is caring on the tradition of nursing. Now that takes a very special person. Congrats Chante’!!


  4. katsbynp
    Nov 23, 2013 @ 02:23:59

    What a wonderful ceremony! Congratulations to Chante. Thanks for sharing the trip and pictures. I remember on a trip to LA driving on the freeway thinking I could never do that every day. Great post


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