Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A dreamer bouncing off the walls of reality.

Senior year of high school was a great time, but as with everything in life there comes a time to pay the piper.

One of the things you do in your senior year is to get together with your guidance counselor and plot a plan for the future. The plan really starts back in junior high (7th & 8th grades). You take a battery of tests and the gurus in the guidance office evaluate the results, discuss it with your parents and then decide what "tract" you'll follow in high school.

The results of those tests for me, so said Mr. Getman and Mr. Blake, revealed an aptitude for journalism and nursing. I was stunned. The journalism thing was ok but nursing, "Those tests are bogus," I said. "Nursing is a girl's job, only queer guys go into nursing." That was that, I didn't put any credence in those tests. So what do I know, I'm only a kid. It was determined, therefore, that I would be put in the "regents tract" course of study which would lead to a regents diploma and was the ticket to college. It was further explained that an A average for the four years of high school would guarantee a college acceptance, but a B would be acceptable too.

I spent a number of days in the guidance office over the four years; usually at the end of each marking period. As a solid C student I was told, " you've got to do better rel, you can do better." That was all well and good if a fellow was inclined to study more diligently; I was not.

With senior year comes decision time: What do you want to do with your life? What colleges do you want to go to? Did you take your SAT's yet? How will you pay for college? Yadda, yadda, yadda. The nagging and pestering by the adults in my life was incessant. I know now as a parent, that they felt imbued with the task of molding a responsible individual. I was being forced to consider a life beyond today.
Mom asked for the umpteenth time:
"What do you want to do, what is it you think you'd enjoy doing for a career?"
I replied, "I'm going to be a catcher for the NY Yankees!"
Mom: "Really? Let's see, you're a senior, how many scouts have come to see you play? Have you gotten an offer you've failed to share with us?"
Me: "Well no, not yet, but I'm sure they'll come this season."
Mom; "This season will come to an end a week before graduation. If they don't show up, what's your plan for earning a living after graduation?"
Me: Shrugs shoulders.

Mom: Get you head out of the clouds son, come back to reality and act like you know something!"

Dad pipes up: "Get a job where you can use your brain instead of your back." Sage advice from a smart and talented man who discouraged me from getting my drivers license just so I wouldn't be tempted to make a living driving truck like he did.

Another trip to the guidance office and another conversation with Mr. Getman, led to a joint decision that perhaps I'd make a good coach/teacher. We concluded that I should apply to a state school to keep the costs down. At his suggestion, I sent applications to Brockport State and Cortland state, and a pie in the sky application to SU (Syracuse Univ.). He said, "maybe, if you get lucky, if they take pity on you, and if they suspect they won't have enough applicants to fill their freshman class, maybe they just might give you a chance. It's a long shot, but it's worth a try."

The only school to even grant me an interview was Brockport State. The gentleman very diplomatically said, "You've got to be kidding!"
Running smack dab in to reality was a shocking disappointment: no baseball contract, no college acceptance, what's a fellow to do?

I know I'm dragging this out, but I'm detailing this for my children and grand children, capiche?

I recall stopping to see Ernie Richardson with my mother one day, I was probably 12 or 13 at the time, at the ice house down at the State Hospital, for what I don't know. Ernie and dad were chums from the American Legion Post. But I've never forgotten this remark he directed to me: "Your a dreamer like your father." That pissed me off for some reason. I don't think he meant any harm. I'm sure he was just stating an observation. He might just as well have called me a sissy. He was right of course and I forgave him this perceived slight many years ago.

Next: application to seminary!

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Blogger paisley said...

agh!!!!! and here i am chomping at the bit for more!!!!!!!!!

9:31 AM  
Blogger Catch said...

ok...waiting here......I think male nurses are the best!

12:16 PM  
Blogger Epiphany said...

I think its lovely that you're recounting this for your children and grandchildren, Rel. Its fascinating to me, but could be life altering for them in a wonderful way.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I am enjoying this stroll through your life, it's fascinating!

Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

3:40 PM  
Blogger Jellyhead said...

Wow. It's amazing to read about what you were like as a young kid .... I hardly recognise you! Keep telling your story - we are all riveted!!

And thank you, Rel, for your sweet comment on my last post.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

It's great that you're telling this linear story of your life. Mine are all over the place.

4:06 PM  
Blogger willow said...

Application to seminary?! I wasn't expecting to see that. Very interesting!

LOVE the Lennon song.

6:17 PM  
Blogger PEA said...

I'm finally catching up with your last few posts...such an interesting read, Rel!! It really made me remember the angst and uncertainty I went through when I came of age to work and deciding what career I wanted to follow. I was an A student and had all the secretarial skills but after graduating from grade 12, I no longer was interested in continuing my education. In fact, I got married the year after I graduated and never did go back into the workforce except for selling Avon for a few months.

I think you're so smart to put all your memoirs in writing...it's so important for children and grandchildren to have such facts about their ancestry.

"Imagine" has always been my favourite John Lennon song. xoxo

9:07 PM  
Blogger Puss-in-Boots said...

To be quite honest, I think too much pressure is put on kids to think about their futures at too young an age. What 12, 13 or 14-year-old knows what they want to do? To them, the next six or so years is an aeon away and besides which, they change their minds about their careers every five minutes (usually when they hit legal drinking age!).

My granddaughter was determined she was going to study physiotherapy. What's she doing?...an office administration traineeship and a modelling course. That's what I mean...

12:38 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Journalism and nursing that early on? That was some test Rel.

5:53 PM  

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