Comparing Your Life to Others
This is a story about my 30th High School Reunion...ten years ago. I am going to my 40th this weekend. It is a story about self esteem, comparing our lives to others
Date: 4/19/2005 8:11:17 PM ( 8 y ) ... viewed 910 times
This is a story I wrote for a chapter of a book.
Wanted to get it up on line in case some friends
want to read it over the weekend.
Your Enchanted Gardener
My 30th High School Reunion
© 2005, Leslie Goldman,
Your Enchanted Gardener
I never went to a high school reunion. I always compared myself and came up short. My whole life in the world felt odd ball in the 20th century. I really fell out of place and time right before I entered high school. My mother died around that time. I was 12 years old. Most of my life was about figuring out how to live my life, not the life others wanted me to live. My whole life was about finding ways to be bigger than the boxes I was in, and the packages others would have liked me to be in.
For years I had dreams of two high school friends. One was Ira Erenberg. I knew him from Camp Max Straus, run by the Jewish Big Brothers. We came from the same neighborhood. We both lived in East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights. We moved to the West Side of L.A. when all the Jewish folk moved across town. Our high school was in the "borscht" belt, the new Jewish section of town. Borscht is a beet soup, a favorite among the Jewish people of Europe. It was also a favorite of my mother’s. She was a really great cook and baker.
Ira and I attended high school together. Ira shared his family with me. His mom reminded me of my own. His dad took us to sports events. I experienced what it was like for a dad to spend time with his kids. This meant a lot to me. We lost touch when we went to different colleges.
The other boy I dreamed of was Glenn Erso, a long distance two miler on our track team at Fairfax High School. Glenn was a champion runner with a joyful heart and spirit. He was one of the most popular boys in high school. I hurt my hip in tenth grade. It progressed from there into crippling arthritis. Glenn also had an injury in his hip. A tremendous athletic career was cut short. I was the manager of the cross country team. I felt close to him. I felt his tears and triumphs. Glenn ran for me in my dreams.
I finally felt good enough about myself to go to my 30th High School Reunion. One of the first people I met was Glenn. It turned out he lived in San Diego, about ten miles from my house. We became friends again.
Ira was also there. He greeted me with the love of a brother long lost. "I have been looking for you for years, Leslie. I read about you in the L.A. Times Sunday Magazine.” What? An article written about me, in the one million plus circulation L.A. Times. An article written about the guy who never felt comfortable about showing up at his high school reunion because in his own eyes he never measured up? He said the magazine article appeared five years back. He said he would send it to me.
The L.A. Times article had been written by the editor of my college paper, Bob Baker. We both went to San Fernando Valley State College that later became known as Cal State Northridge. The article Bob wrote came out during the Rodney King racial crisis in Los Angeles. Bob remembered back twenty or more years to our campus days, to a time during the Vietnam-Cambodia crisis, to a ‘minor’ event in my life that stood out in his life.
In the article he wrote:
“Leslie was a short, white guy with glasses and unkempt hair. He didn’t stand out until that afternoon when hundreds of students headed from classrooms toward the building where anti-war activists were distributing get-out of Cambodia postcards for students to mail to President Nixon. The students, filled with earnest fury, rushed up a low, grassy hill to the building where the postcards were being handed out. In their path stood Leslie, alone. He was yelling at them.”
“ ‘Listen!’ He shouted. ‘It doesn’t make any difference whether we end the war unless we solve the problem of racism!’ Nobody listened. They ran right by him. The war was the thing. Racism was last year’s problem.”
No matter how much I have accomplished with my life, I have always felt bad because I did not go the conventional route. I have felt bad because others I admired went on to claim their race and victory lap. I felt I stayed back. I was an excellent feature writer. I won national awards for our Journalism department in college, but I did not have the self esteem or health to pull off a career in journalism. Bob and others in my class went on to become professional journalists. In truth my life was directed elsewhere by my Soul.
In the article Bob remembered something I did, something I never thought twice about. I was just being me in the moment. Somehow being me, I deeply influenced him.
The article by Bob Baker was titled, "Shouting It Like It Is." The article was an acknowledgement, but I never received that acknowledgement sooner because I was not ready to hear. The article began:
"I’ve been waiting half my
life to tell somebody about
Leslie Goldman. Always figured
I’d wait for some desperate moment.
Now it’s here.
LOS ANGELES TIMES MAGAZINE
SUNDAY, MAY 31, 1992
Peace is about
the little things we do,
the little things that inspire
and uplift others.
1000 years of Peace
is about enough of us
becoming Peace installations
in our own lives,
and going beyond
whatever crippled ideas
and feelings we have.
This Blog entry begins a series
of Radical Growth surrounding attending my 40th
High School ReUnion, April 9-10 in Los Angeles.
These are the other Blog Entries in the series:
Cupid and the Sprite are Out:
Safe and Sound:
High School ReUnion
Why Go to a High School Reunion?
Why Look at the Past?
Are You a 'Choke?"
Rising to the Occasion:
The Gangs all here!
The End of Mercury Retrograde:
Lost in the Woods:
A Love Story:
The Day JFK Died:
The Four Destructive Emotions and Love:
The Courage to be an Adult:
A Message to My Father
Your Words Healed Me:
To a 17-year-old Woman:
Elephant in the Mud:
Manhood..The Horn my Father Blew:
On Good Fathering:
radical Healing--Title Page:
I Write from Stuck Bones:
Testimonials for Radical Healing:
IMAGE: (L to R)
Ira Erenberg, Leslie, and Glenn Erso
at the 40th Reunion, April 9-10, 2005
#47 4/14/05 4:38 PM
#58 4/14/05 11:03 PM
#73 4/17/05 7:47 PM
#97 4/20/05 6:10 PM
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