Graduation day is next week, May 21st.
Graduation day for me, May 20th 1968, was filled with excitement,
relief, and expectation, with a touch of an unexplainable sadness.
The first three emotions I had been experiencing for weeks, but
it took a while to figure out where the sadness was coming from.
As all my friends and I were scurrying around doing last minute
signing of yearbooks and saying goodbye, it finally dawned on me
that I was about to move out of a very important phase of my young
life. I would never pass this way again. I know a lot of people
have tortured feelings about high school, but I loved it. I was
surrounded by my friends many of which seemed more like family.
But I was also surrounded by loving teachers who had invested a
great deal of their time and energy over the past several years
just to make it possible for me to have a shot in this old world.
I didn't have a clue what was coming, but I think they did. They
encouraged me to dream large. It is a lesson I have never forgotten.
Another amazing thing happened on May 20th 1968....it was my first
date with Jilda Phillips. I had been dating her best friend Marcia
Mitchell but things had gone south and Jilda was there for me. It
seemed only natural that I ask her to be there that night. I know
for a fact that she has questioned many times, the wisdom of her
decision to go out with me but I am so glad she did. I can't imagine
my life without her.
Graduation Day 1968
So you may be asking, what words of wisdom
do I (the old fart as I have been called on the message board) have
for the Class of 2004....well, I'm not sure I'm qualified to give
advice, but I can relate some of the things that have served me
Don't forget how to laugh, read the labels, and if you're a guy,
ask for directions if you're lost. It took me a long time to get
this one because we're on a globe and if you keep driving straight,
you'll eventually end up where you started, but you can save a lot
of gas if you ask. Keep reading; you'll discover that books have
a lot to offer and they are one of the simple pleasures of life.
Ever now and then, take the long way home. Shoot a lot of pictures.
Call your friends occasionally. Learn to cook, you cannot imagine
how much fun it is to have folks over to share a good meal. NEVER
stop exercising. Know this: every day is a school day. Just because
you no longer are "in school" does not mean that your
education ends. When you close your mind, you stop growing....when
you stop growing, experiencing new things and enjoying life, you
become old before your time.
One last thing: the best job for you might not mean the job that
pays the most money. Money is great, but if you hate what you do,
you will not be doing what you were put here to do. Go forth, do
something remarkable, and make a difference.