Mistakes

1958 vividly recalled…

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

“My mistakes are my life.” So said Samuel Beckett, the late playwright and Nobel Laureate. Lord knows we only learn the hard way. My earliest memorable mistake dates back to the mid-20th Century.

Mr. Harwood was an upbeat geography teacher, who taught me in 7th grade. I have no idea why I remember his name except that my mind was more of a sponge than a drain hole when I was 13.

He created competitions each week with his tests. I just missed the best score one week when I misspelled an answer, possessions. I had a singular “s” and a double “s” instead of a double “s” times two.

Getting older apparently diminishes the spelling ability of even good spellers. But, despite that, I don’t think I will ever forget how to spell possession. Of course it could have been worse. The word could have been possessionlessness.

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Some Regrets

“Picking other people’s brains is an art worth cultivating.” Jessica Mitford, a 20th-century writer.

Oh how I wish I had appreciated that when I was younger. I could have asked my grandfather what life was like in 19th-century Hungary when he was small or on the Cadillac assembly line on which he worked for 25 years. Likewise for asking my folks about their childhood and early adulthood.

My older sister, who has been prone to ask those questions, has given me some key stories and perspective in the course of my memoirs. I think my life would have been richer had I been more curious with my three living grandparents and my folks.