March 1999 No age limit
Norbert couldn't get
my question out of his head. What he didn't know but soon found out was that I've had the Peace Corps on my mind for 30 years, since college years at the University of Texas, Austin in
the '60s. The other thing he didn't know was that I already had my application in hand. NO AGE LIMIT! it said. "Well, there you go then!" as the most truly Minnesotan
receptionist at my clinic would say.
Norbert called the Peace Corps medical office and was
told his year old bypass wouldn't necessarily disqualify him. He requested his application through the web.
April 20,1999 Go for it
The exercise bike and daily climbs up the hills to Old Main did the trick. My
one-year stress test was negative. When asked about the Peace Corps, my cardiologist, Dr. Fine said: "go for it." Still, the final moment came after so
many words of encouragement from friends on the Hearttalk-L online support group. That was it. I started filling out my application.
May 6, 1999 Dotted, signed and sealed
Completing application forms took weeks. There were college transcripts
to dig up, professional licenses to xerox, people to get as references. Our resumes had to be updated. Finally came the agonizing work on essays about
motivation and cross-cultural experience.
Then one Friday, a warmer one I might add, it was finished - spelling
checked, i's dotted, signed and sealed. We packed it into a thick envelope, drove to the Post Office on Bridge Square, took one last gasp, and dropped it in the mail.
Here are the essays we included and one we didn't:
May 17, 1999 Phone quickly
Monday, a letter arrived. Dear Carol & Norbert, it started. Enclosed are
Peace Corps programs for which you can be considered . . . you must phone me as soon as possible. . .schedule an interview. . . Sincerely, Matt Dufresne, Peace Corps Recruiter. I took a deep breath and called immediately to make an
appointment for our interview.
May 21, 1999 Four critical hours
By Friday, we were on our way to downtown Minneapolis. The day was
sunny and warm and full of nervous talk. What if he asks this? What about that? How can I answer that question!? Maybe I could say. . . We arrived
before 10 am. The interview lasted four hours, 1 1/2 hours each and an hour together. It went well. Then came the fingerprinting and we headed out of
town by 3 pm. Step Two - Done!