I wonder if there is anyone on this planet who has no regrets. This is how I started my tenure.
That photo was taken more than sixty-four years ago. I don’t think I’d made any major mistakes by the time I was seven months old, but I guarantee that I’ve more than made up for it since then.
My initial ‘super’ blunder occurred during my days at Langley High School.
This picture was printed in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph. My band Director wasn’t pleased. The clarinet on the bench beside me is the instrument I was supposed to be playing. As for Meredith Wilson, I had no idea who the man was; thus, I was oblivious of the honor of being a member of his band.
We used to make a lot of fun of our band director – Mr. Floyd Bennett. Mr. Bennett did a few strange things and we teenagers were unmerciful toward him. It wasn’t until he passed on a couple of years ago that any of us knew he was a highly decorated hero during World War II. Considering the horrible things he experienced during the war in Europe, it’s no wonder he was a fanatic about cleanliness.
That was a minor mistake compared to some others. My biggest mistake in high school was believing that is was not cool to study. Only one teacher ever nagged me about that. Russell Q. Bobbitt – we called him “alka-bong” – constantly told me I could do much better. I believed him, but didn’t do anything about it.
My parents got on my case for never bringing any books home. So I took books home, set them in my bedroom (unopened), and returned them to school in the morning.
I can’t begin to tell you how shocked I was when all my best buddies were graduating with honors and I just barely made it with my 2.0 grade point average.
I did the same thing at Edinboro State College. The thought that I was preparing for a career – and the rest of my life – never crossed my mind. I did just enough to pass my courses. I loved the social aspects of school, but hated studying. As a result, I picked the wrong major – I intentionally went for a degree in the Social Sciences in Secondary Education because I saw it as the easiest path. Looking back, I should’ve majored in music.
The only positive aspect is the fact that I stuck to it and graduated. Without that degree I never would’ve had a chance of landing a high paying job with IBM.
There are other mistakes I made – otherwise I would not have been divorced, but I won’t go into any details in that regard. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to change any part of that portion of my life because I dearly love the four children who resulted from that marriage.
Considering all the things I’ve done wrong in my life, I’ve been extremely fortunate. While not very successful financially, I believe I’m very rich. I have a wonderful family and fantastic friends.
Would I want a few ‘mulligans’ – opportunities to do things over? You bet I would. But that’s not possible. All I can do is enjoy what is.
Now, if I could only get rid of those nagging regrets.