A High School Diploma

Monday, a surprised Rick Berchtold got a brand-new Axiom 2002 courtesy of American Isuzu. The wish came from Rick's sister, to whom he generously gave a life-saving kidney. But not every wish The Early Show receives is for a big-ticket item. Some people dream of things we all take for granted. Things just as important as a car or a trip. On Tuesday, one of those dreams came true.

In the twilight of a long and happy life, Wilson Yager can look back with pride. At 83, he's done everything he ever wanted to do.

Well, almost everything.

Wilson Abbott Yager was born in August 1918 to a family with little except for their good name. When his father died in 1937, Yager, the oldest, was forced to leave school and go to work.

"I didn't finish high school. I went three years, but I didn't finish high," he told us.

Sixty-five years later, the disappointment still stings.

"He had to leave because they were poor. He didn't have money to buy clothes, and he said, 'I did really good in school, but I got tired of borrowing my school supplies from other kids,'" said his daughter, Darlene.

In 1939, he met Rosa Mae, a young girl who was to become the love of his life.

They were married on the eve of World War II and before long, Yager was in uniform. In 1946, he came home to his beloved Rosa Mae.

When the first of four children arrived, Yager took a factory job, but he kept his love for knowledge, reading everything he could get his hands on.

"He's a testament to what you can do without an education," said his daughter, Wanda.

His children finished school. Yager made sure of that. And when the nest was finally empty, he and Rosa Mae resumed their lifelong honeymoon, drinking in the joys of family and freedom, until cancer intervened.

In December 2000, Yager said goodbye to Rosa Mae for the last time.

"After Mom died, we all went into her room and held hands around her body and prayed, and it was like she was giving him to us," said their daughter, Wanda.

The truth is, after Rosa Mae died, no one thought Yager would have many more birthdays, but he learned to get by on his own.

He has everything he needs, and with the exception of Rosa Mae, everything he wants. His only regret is his lack of formal education.

"I do pretty good with writing. I got a lot of common sense. I might not have a whole lot of book sense, but I got a lot of common sense," Yager said.

When his daughters heard about The Early Show Week of Wishes, they knew what to do.

"We feel if people can receive honorary doctorates from universities that Wilson should receive an honorary high school diploma," said Wanda.

"It was never any other thought about what would I wish for. I just thought, 'I wish Dad could have his high school diploma,'" added Darlene.

Tuesday, Yager was asked to be at his old alma mater in Chester, Va., though he did not know why.

Billy Cannaday the superintendent of Chesterfield, Virginia Public Schools was there to make his dream come true.

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