It is an oxymoron to on the one hand profess to cherish your privacy, and on the other to host a blog, but in the interest of the latter "bird on the shoulder" winning out, I offer my first post of 2015.
Most blog experts will tell you that its always a good idea to include a picture or 2 in a blog post, but I've "used up" my family portrait, my new grandson, and my summer beach party, so what's a "photographically challenged” man to use for a theme for a post? Then I came upon this picture and it hit me – I should write about my college "career"!
Alas… writer’s cramp immediately set in as I sat down to begin, as I realized that I have no story to tell. Can you really call 4 months at Penn State a college career? Me thinks not. Especially when I "majored" in ping pong, teaching myself to play the guitar, and doing all of the experimenting a teenager of the 70s did back in the early 70s. No, it is not my proudest moment. I had a sign permanently pinned to my bulletin board that read, "Classes Cancelled Today”, and when my friend Mikey asked me how “officially dropping out of college” went, I proudly answered "No Red Tape". Happy Valley was a GREAT place to be under any circumstances (and still is), but it is much better suited for someone who wants be in college, and I unfortunately was not that someone.
As Forest Gump said "Stupid is as Stupid Does", but truth be told I was no dummy. I was accepted to Brown and Cornell for engineering, and my mother (God rest her Soul) still probably rolls over in her grave when she recalls the day I told her I wasn't “cut out” for college, and that I preferred to head for Key West in a VW Camper with my other good friend Bob - where I would surely "find myself". We had a GREAT time, but I never did "find myself" in the Keys - choosing instead to do all of the above mentioned experimenting, and more. In the interest of journalistic integrity... both Bob and Mikey will be reading this blog and can profess to its accuracy (and hopefully not add anything to the story that may actually embarrass me – but I don't embarrass easily). To punctuate this part of the story, I actually had a rich uncle who had long ago agreed to pay the full 4-year ride for any of his nieces and nephews to the college of their choice. My sisters both took him up on his offer - their brother "knew better".
So this Account Executive in the bridal/social occasion industry stands before you with a High School Diploma, and nothing more. The degrees however don't make the man, and I apologize for nothing. Whatever shortcomings as a rep the rare misguided storeowner may perceive, my hope is that lack of intelligence is not one of them.
The picture above is of my youngest son Michael with his Diploma in hand from Millersville University taken back in December. He is the third Grass Boy with a college degree - and that is something Carol and I are immensely proud of. Just like my uncle offered his family back in the day, any Grass Boy who wanted to go to college was encouraged by his parents to do so. And all who graduated did so with zero college debt, and that is also something we are very proud of. The burden of student loans is a tremendous load that many graduates have to overcome as they start their career, but that will be the subject for another post. No one need feel sorry for the parents here, but we did sacrifice things along the way - and would do so again as it was something we felt very strongly about. My older 3 sons have terrific careers, and I have no doubt that Michael will be successful (in whatever means you choose to define success) as he sets out this month to follow in his brothers' footsteps and begin his career.
But wait you ask. The title of this post is "My One Regret", and I've fessed to nothing approaching a lifelong regret. Truth be told regrets are not my style. I'd change places with no man on earth, nor any who've lived before me! But I would love to have dinner with some famous people past and present, because there are so many things that I wish I knew that I don't. A lot of these things I would know without needing to ask if I had only gone to college, and that I DO regret. Knowledge is a powerful thing, not as in the power one can use against his fellow man, but for the personal “power” one feels by knowing more “stuff”. I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I wish I knew a lot of things about way more stuff. At 60 I'm still hungry for knowledge; I learn something new every day and I believe with all my heart that this thirst for knowledge makes me feel young and strong, and keeps me healthy of body and mind.
Perhaps one day I'll go back to college - one could reasonably assume that even if I wasn't ready for college right out of high school, that by 60 I am surely ready! If I don’t ever get a degree, that's OK too. If I die with my only regret being that I didn't go to college... I feel pretty certain it will be with a smile on my face and the comfort of a life well lived. HG