Life happens…

High School…Senior Year.

So many dreams for the future mixed with an incredible amount of uncertainty with what might lie ahead.

For those with both feet firmly planted on the pathway to college or some career, there was little doubt in place.  For others, like me, there was one choice, a dream even, with what was on my horizon.  That was a constant topic in 12th grade.  What college did you pick?  Where will you be working?  And of course, for those who had been high school “couples” of record, the inevitable… Will you get married after school?

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Just one thing was on my agenda.  Stewardess College.  That’s what it was called, back in the day. 

I had the application filled-out, ready to attend the American Airlines facility in Dallas, Texas.  As I recall, being 18 at the time, both parental signatures were required on the form and I had just one, my fathers.  My mother, another story.  Mind you, I had that paperwork tucked away once I started my senior year but my mother always refused to discuss it when I broached the subject with her.  Airplanes crash! was always her basic response but that was her way, much like being at the beach and hearing her say You’ll drown! each time I went into the water.  Ahhh, the downside of my being an only child.

Graduation slowly moved closer and so did my application.  One more attempt to get my mother to sign failed miserably the week before commencement.  And, she managed to convince my father to set me up with an office position with Bell Telephone.  To both of them, my future looked bright, at least through their glasses, but not mine.  That one dream I held so close ended up being torn into pieces and thrown in the wastebasket.

Was it the right thing?  I’ll never know but I sure as hell will always wonder.  A missed opportunity to spread my wings disappeared with an argument and a parental mandate.  Every young person should have that chance to grow and experience life’s unknown territories.  But, that was more than fifty years ago, when kids mostly listened, and obeyed, their parents.  We trusted their judgement and relied on whatever wisdom we thought they had even if that was based on their desire to retain some element of control.

Life will happen, in spite of it all and although we take those roads less traveled or make a few detours along the way, we all end up just where we’re supposed to be. 

I’ve learned that, if nothing more. 

 

workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…Share a 12th grade memory.  Trust me, I gave a lot of thought back then to simply forging my mothers name on that application.  I mean, what could have happened once I had my suitcase packed and got out the door to the airport?  The hardest part would have been finding someone to drive me to JFK.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda!

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Remembering…

Fond memories of what once was are often much better than what actually took place.  So are dreams.

 

Time does that.  It tends to erase so much.  Like, romanticizing things.   Almost in an attempt to blanket all that might have been painful so long ago.  And, those situations we wish could have had happier endings.  Dreams are much like old photo albums.  With each turn of the page, a moment jumps out at us.  It lingers for a while, softening into a cloud of wishful thinking.

 

And memories.  Like raking leaves every Autumn, when we reach into a pile and pick out the prettiest ones, stopping to admire their vibrant colors before gently sweeping them into a mound.  Then, we watch the wind carry them away. 

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Fond memories of what once was are often much better than what actually took place.  So are dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

My choice from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…..Write a post that begins and ends with the same sentence.

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Back to my playground…

 

After a fairly hectic work week, I curled up in front of the television and watched a favorite movie, Heart Like a Wheel; kind of a chick-flick for someone who once enjoyed tearing down a quarter mile at breakneck speeds. 

                                  

That would be…me.  

Later, my dreams had me drag racing through the night and into the early morning hours.  Today, I’ve been in some pretty deep thought about what I would redo in my past, if I had just one chance to return to what used to be…my playground.

Trust me, there is plenty and it’s difficult to focus on just one thing but…for fun’s sake, I’d walk, no run, back to the late 60’s and a chance to earn my NHRA Competition License.

I was close back then, very close.  A local speed shop owner offered me the opportunity to drive his AA/Gas Dragster to qualify at a local drag strip.  The requirements were not as strict as they are today even as dragsters started approaching speeds of 200 mph.  If you were a street racer and week-end competitor at a drag strip, having that important piece of paper gave you an edge, if not just bragging rights.   Aside from those rights, there were great memories of the various racing events which gave me the thrill of meeting so many big names in racing, among them, Shirley Muldowney, who advised me to follow my dreams and “show these guys what you’re made of…get that license!”

And I wanted one…badly.

In 1967, the NHRA’s requirements were as follows…”Known, qualified, competent drivers will be the first to receive their license upon the recommendation of their home strip manager. These experts then become the backbone of the entire program. Their judgement and experience, along with that of the strip manager, determines who shall be licensed later. Each strip manager will be a member of the Licensing Committee for his strip. Other members will be at least two licensed drivers at each meet.

The driver’s test will basically consist of a series of runs before the Licensing Committee, working gradually to a full quarter-mile under power and at progressively faster speeds. Should a driver not pass his first or subsequent tests, he can continue to apply at each meet, but is limited to single runs until he passes the test and receives his license from the Division Director.”

I was a ready-teddy, armed with a competitive and mechanical background, necessary signatures and that need-for-speed.  The only drawback was the dragster at hand and questions about the safety of both its design and performance.  As I said, I was close but those questions were to keep me from making what could have been a dangerous attempt to grab that precious license.

It just wasn’t meant to be and I gave up the chance only to learn, a few months later, the rail job exploded during a race and the driver was severely injured. 

That…could have been me.

But, if given that chance to go back to that playground and try it all again?  You bet your gas, I would!

 

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From Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop… Tell us about a favorite side hobby you’ve had at some point in your life.

A favorite post from several years ago which fit this prompt…perfectly.  Drag racing, a hobby?  It was so much more than that, mostly one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done.  Mostly.  I’m sure there have been others but with everything involved in owning and racing a car, I can look back on so much knowledge learned and some sorrow with not having my GTO any longer.  But, I wouldn’t have missed it all, not for the world!

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