The Third Kid from the Left

As we get older, it seems that we have a tendency to reminisce more often.  The other night, as I was drifting off to the sanctuary of sleep; my mind was reeling.  In that gray zone of near-slumber, our random thoughts can lead us to unexpected places.  In my case, I clearly remembered being called into my cavernous elementary school gymnasium for the dreaded “class picture!”

I was unusually tall for a first grader; now I am unusually tall for an adult.  That meant that I was always situated in the back row of children, somewhere near the middle.  The photographer was invariably attempting to build a sense of symmetry within the group.  I did not mind being led to the top riser and being showcased near the center.  What irritated me, however, was the fact that there was always at least one girl next to me and she was a good inch taller than me.  I often wonder how their careers in the WNBA went.

In my near-dormant mind’s eye, I could visualize the results of that class picture.  Forget the fact that I have not seen that photograph in over a decade; it is firmly etched in my brain!  I was wearing a plaid lumberjack-style shirt, which was a true fashion statement in the mid-1960’s.  One of the cuffs on my jeans was tucked in a boot and the other was sticking out.  I am pretty sure the front of my shirt was carelessly half-tucked in as well.  Mercifully, those fashion blunders did not show up in the final picture.

What did show up, captured on film for historical posterity was my persistent cowlick.  Being raised in a military family, and going to school on base; your hair was worn “high and tight!”  Unfortunately the military barbers were not overly concerned with the results of their quick work.  I always managed to have a shock of hair sticking straight up on the back of my head.  Then there was the fact that the class picture was never taken at the start of the day; where there was some hope of looking the way you did when Mom took you to the school bus stop.  No, your face was coated in sweat, your clothes were wrinkled, and you hair looked like a ferret’s nest!

As we would stand in line behind one of the other classes, my chums and I would chatter away.  All of us were going to be astronauts someday.  I had a rather unique twist on my career ambitions.  First I would make the game winning catch in the Super Bowl and then I would be whisked away to command the first manned mission to Mars!  Along the way, my wife, who happened to be a former Miss America and the current President’s daughter, would tearfully ask me not to make the perilous journey!

I often wonder what happened to my fellow classmates.  Envisioning the class photo in my mind gives no hint as to where their individual destinies took them.  Did any of them end up being astronauts or beauty pageant winners?  Did they look forward to broken marriages, custody battles, failed careers, addictions, and homelessness?  Did they have any concept of what adult reality was really all about?

Each of us has had more than our fair share of challenges in life.  It is what molds us.  We are the result of the experiences that we have been forced to confront.  The question that must be posed to each of us is, “will we allow our failures to dictate who we are in the future?”  Or will we return to that wonderful enchanted kingdom called adolescence and try again?  Fate can be cruel, destiny can be unfair; but choice is the great liberator.

I never left Earth’s atmosphere, I never donned an NFL uniform, and I did not marry Miss America.  On the plus side, I was fortunate to learn some valuable lessons along the way.  The foremost of these is that I can reclaim the innocence and enthusiasm of my childhood whenever I choose to!  Care to sign my yearbook?

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About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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9 Responses to The Third Kid from the Left

  1. Enjoyed this Jerry. Great title too, Third Kid From The Left. Yes I think we do reminisce more as we grow older – more to reminisce about I guess, and it’s a safe sort of environment isn’t it? I mean the fact that it is already there, there is no wondering about what might or might not happen because it already has. As long as we don’t overdo the reminiscing I think it’s a great pastime. Best wishes, Joan.

    • Joan,

      I hope that all continues to go well for you in the UK. Yes, reminiscing is a wonderful thing, not taken to excess. But it forms the portal for us to pass through as we return to the joys of our childhood. Now let’s find a third person to join us and please grab the other end of the jumprope!

      My very best goes out to you and yours,

      Jerry

      • Thanks Jerry. Am currently typing out some of my husbands reminiscences which we are hoping to print in a booklet. He lost his sight 15 years ago so he talked it into a tape-recorder and I am getting it onto the computer and printing it out. So far it is a brief insight into his childhood and his six years in the army during the second world war. Nothing earth shattering but a bit of ‘how it was then’ for the grandchildren and anyone else who is interested.
        My new book, Turn Of The Tide is due to be published (see Robert Hale Publishers website) on July 30th. Be good if an American publisher was interested to take it up too. Very best wishes to you and yours. Give your dog a pat from Leon and me please. Joan.

  2. Ann H. Shea says:

    Jerry, I was lured here expecting a quaint and perhaps comic vintage class photo, but got some good expository writing instead. I imagine you might be able to dust off some of those personalities frozen in time through Google, and someone might even have that photo you remember so well. Thanks for capturing your musings and introducing me to your blog. Truly a delight to read your work.
    Ann
    (fellow Innovative Marketing, PR, Sales, Word-of-Mouth & Buzz Innovator)

    • Ann,

      Thank you for your kind words; which mean the world to me. If I can serve to inspire another person, if I can elicit a smile or a knowing nod of the head; then my purpose as a writer has been fulfilled. I enjoy seeing the deeper meaning in everyday situations and events; and then sharing those insights with the world.

      I wish you all the very best that life has to offer,

      Jerry

  3. I very much enjoyed your reclaimed youth. I wish I had as clear a memory as you however, I am older. I have just reclaimed my own youth in a book of memoirs “Growing Up in the Rockies” which will be released by July 15th. I like you choose to reclaim my youth when I need to go to that special place to retreat and think. Keep writing I will be back to see what’s new. Feel free to join me at http://cjanasdreams.wordpress.com

  4. Nicole says:

    Great post!
    “First I would make the game winning catch in the Super Bowl and then I would be whisked away to command the first manned mission to Mars!”
    I miss being a child.

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