Tag: Youth

Living Without Regret

Like many women my age, I am 28 years old. ~~ Mary Schmich

Mary Schmich is a lot smarter than me.  She was born in Savannah, Georgia and went to high school in Phoenix, Arizona.  She would go on to get her B.A. from California’s Pomona College.  Then, after three years working in college admissions, and more than a year in France, she attended journalism school at Stanford.  She worked as a newspaper reporter afterwards and in 1985 went to the Chicago Tribune.  Later she became their national correspondent in Atlanta.

In 1992 she started writing a column for the Tribune but after a year took time off to attend Harvard on a Nieman Fellowship for journalists.  Like I said, Mary’s a lot smarter than me.  From 1985 until January of this year she authored a comic strip Brenda Starr.  She’s also a ragtime piano player.  Multi-talented I’d say.

Schmich who is still writing her columns for the Tribune wrote her most famous in 1997.  She started with a simple admonition and continued with advice for living without regret.  In time that advice would be spread around the Internet and, as often happens, has been falsely identified as a commencement address given at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by author Kurt Vonnegut.  The author was once quoted by the New York Times as saying, I would have been proud had the words been mine.

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Books Tells Us a Lot

Books are more than books, they are the life, the very heart and core of ages past. The reason why men lived, and worked, and died, the essence and quintessence of their lives. ~~ Amy Lowell

I think the kind of books one reads says a lot about the person. I prefer reading nonfiction as I’ve found there really is no comparison to the realities of life. I love reading about real people and events. I love history, the people, places and things that brought us to where we are today. They’re great teachers about how to react to — and deal with — our todays.

Lately I’ve turned to reading some fiction as well. I think it could help me become a better writer and — as I’ve written before — friends have suggested there’s a book inside me, somewhere that needs to come out. Fiction or nonfiction, I’m not sure that hidden book’s nature. I’m not sure even if it will ever come out, beyond what you find here or in my personal history that will someday be shared with my family and a few close friends. Whether fiction or non, books take you places your feet can’t go.
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Matt and Ethan

My son Matt when he was about 8 or 9 years old (I’m guessing) had a best friend named Ethan. Ethan was a scrawny little kid and wore glasses. The kind of kid that had you looked up the word “Nerd” in the dictionary, you might expect to see his photo, or at least something close to it. His would have been a more modern replacement for my own. In many ways he was like me but not nearly as bad. I was as nerdy/goofy as they came. the best of them! King Nerd… I have proof!

Me!
Well one day after church and seeing the both of them together, as they normally were, I asked my son (and I’m embarrassed to admit it, even though it was a bit tongue-in-cheek);

“Matt, why do you hang out with Ethan, he’s such a nerdy kid?” Matt’s reply was tainted with a sense of annoyance, maybe even a little hurt. All he said was “Dad! He’s my friend!” Those four written words don’t do justice to how they came back to me. Matt’s response was such that there was nothing more to say. In fact I immediately felt bad, really bad (and still do), that I had misspoken and questioned my son’s choice in who he wanted to be his friend. Matt was a good kid and Ethan came from a great family, his parents were our friends.  He was a nice boy. (more…)

Lists – Evidence of a Troubled Past?

I’ve been a list-maker since I was a boy.  My first memory of list-making goes back to when I was probably seven or eight years old who knows exactly?  It was a list of daily chores I would do around the house on pages for each day of the week and attached to a small clipboard:  Monday: Take the garbage out. Tuesday: Dust. Wednesday: Clean the bathroom… those kinds of things.  Simple in their purpose but deep in meaning as to the reasons why.

Those lists of things to do were probably the first sign of my compulsion to write things down.  But why would one so young be so inclined?  It certainly wasn’t something “normal” for a boy to do, but I did it nevertheless.  And what of my propensity to be organized?  Did it all have something to do with a need to bring structure, some kind of order to an otherwise unstructured, disorderly life?  Was this my way to gain some control? (more…)

Those were the days …

This is a story about one of my oldest friends.  I spent a lot of time with him and his family during all of my teen years over a seven-year period.  Through most of them we were constant companions.  We were once the best of friends.  No matter what, when I hear the words “childhood friend”, I think first of Marcus and all those crazy days we spent together.  (Marcus is not my friend’s name.  I’m using it to protect his and his family’s identity.)

Friends

Marcus and I shared a lot of adventures amidst our active lives.  They included attending the same classes in school, working at many jobs side-by-side, the V.W. then the G.T.O, our travels around the beltway of D.C., and the many people, especially the girls we came to know. (more…)