142 Comments

When I was growing up in Boston my dream was attend college and became the CEO of General Motors. No one in my family had ever attended college as we were immigrants from Hungary...but I thought the automobile industry was had shown the world the most wonderful technologies of the future.. So I went to university and became an engineer even though everyone said that a female would never get hired anywhere. And they were right! No one wanted to hire me... and ended up being hired by the Bell Companies as a telephone operator. I worked my up and when I left them I working on the Bell Labs on the 1st computer generating call switchboard ...but I changed jobs and went to Motorola to be on the design team for the government’s RF and fiber access network. I never did get to work in the automobile industry but I had an exciting career and got to be cutting edge opportunities every day even though I was a female.. I think my story proves that it's possible to attain success in this great country...

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

Congratulations on your wonderful accomplishments, Thank you for your contributions, people like you make this Country great and I am grateful. 💙

Expand full comment
author

Agreed.

Expand full comment
RemovedMay 12·edited May 12
Comment removed
Expand full comment

Laughter is good medicine for the soul. What does Jesus say about that?

A happy heart does our bodies well. Besides, smiles make you appear younger, in the face!

Expand full comment
author

More laughter, please.

Expand full comment
RemovedMay 12
Comment removed
Expand full comment

Yes. I live in my happiness where I choose to be. Peace. I allow no one, other than he lead my ways. I know him, his call brings peace to my heart. Others only chaos. Some mumbling and stumbling along their ways. No, I will walk hand and hand like the Pickens man, but hopefully in a holier way. I do not wish to dishonor my heavenly Father, you see, he raised me through a gentle kind man used by society his talents. Let us stop.

Expand full comment

I agree wholeheartedly!

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

Unexpectedly, I became a first-time husband at age 54 AND a first-time father at age 68. Neither were ever goals or dreams of mine, but having occurred, perhaps they were the best things to ever happen to me.

Expand full comment

It’s funny how being a parent can give you something outside yourself that you realize is greater. A child is potential that is what I wish more parents would realize. Children aren’t “ours” but gifts to a better future.

Expand full comment

We reap what we sow. We have four years. My prayer for my children. Lord, place them in your hands, show me how to love and care for your babies, they are not mine, they belong to you. Calm me when I do not know where they are to let me know they are safe. This I ask in my Saviors name, Christ Jesus, The Lord of Lords. Amen.

Expand full comment

Completely true, SPW. Here's my recent post called "Our Son Turns 17":

https://trules.substack.com/p/our-son-turns-17

Expand full comment

Wow, what a blessing!

Expand full comment

Somehow our Holy One will give a gift, just to let you know he guided your life, just to give you this gift and this time to just these people. His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are so much higher than our own. Now where did I get that? Oh, The Holy Word of God, Jewish. Are you glad for goodness?

Expand full comment

Last night I saw the Northern Lights on Lake Michigan, at the beautiful shores of Indiana Dunes National Park. I never thought I’d see them in my lifetime.

( I posted a picture on Notes).

Expand full comment

I saw a red haze in our sky.

Expand full comment

I was a troubled child who became a troubled teenager who struggled into my 30s. I spent 25 years in and out of therapy trying to understand why I was this way. Even as I settled into my marriage and a successful career, I sought to understand why. Shame was a constant companion, shame for all the stupid things I did in the way of self harm.

In my late 40s, my husband’s health began its slow decline, and after numerous challenges over the next several years, he started hospice when I was 53. A month into a horrible six months of hospice, my mother unexpectedly died. After my husband died, I developed complicated grief and then I broke. A decade-long severe gambling addiction took over, with the obsessive behavior of shoving $20s into a machine while slamming the button temporarily numbing my pain, but also locking me in the complicated grief. I spent years suffering suicidal ideation, desperate to stop but completely unable to.

The lockdown in the early days of the pandemic gave me the pause to stop, and then recover. Today I am unbroken.

But the dream I’ve carried my entire life - the dream to be okay with myself, to stop carrying the weight of so many woulda/shoulda/couldas - was realized. Today, closing in on 69 years old, I am happy and content. My life is good and complete. I never expected to feel peace inside myself, and I’m so, so grateful. (But damnit … I didn’t see the aurora last night!)

Expand full comment

Get up at midnight tonight, you can still see it over the weekend! And, grief is one of those life experiences that is the most difficult and yet the most important. I am grateful you recovered in your own personal way.

Expand full comment
founding

Terrific recovery! What a story!

Expand full comment

https://konmari.com/beauty-in-broken-things/

You’ve had a heck of a ride. Read about kintsugi via the link I included here. The finished item is where you are now. Good luck in your new life.

Expand full comment

Others have shared kintsugi with me as well. It really is an appropriate analogy.

Expand full comment

Brings to mind, Simple Gifts, a Shaker song; "Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free....

In a society of convenience and plastic it would be wonderful if we could embrace more from theses values, domestic or Japanese.

Expand full comment

You found a way to shed those weights and give yourself permission to realize your dream. Good for you Lynn!

Expand full comment

Congratulations!

Expand full comment

I know the feeling of doing something to take your mind off your grief. About a year ago I watched as my neighbors dog intentionally murdered my dog and it screwed me up, I was traumatized by that. I dealt with it as best I could but I couldn't stop crying so I decided to do some retail therapy. I ended up spending a couple thousand dollars at shopgoodwill.com but then I realized I'm too old for jewelry, I have nowhere to wear it. And then I stopped cold just like that. I have some nice pieces and things I have to sell to get my money back. But aging is a good thing (we're the same age), because the trauma melts away at last. Sorry that's not a dream of mine. Now my dream is to have neighbors who don't harass me.

Expand full comment

I am so sorry you witnessed this horrible trauma … I can’t imagine. I’m sending best wishes for your dream to become reality. There are few things worse than shitty neighbors.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thank you for sharing your dreams and how they impacted your life. Not sure I can say any dream has come true. That being said, two wonderful things are true: I have a son who is a good man and Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

Expand full comment
author

Two wonderful things.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I fulfilled a dream of riding my bicycle across the North American continent in 1983. Now I have a dream of doing it with my 27 year old son.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

When I was a child I wanted to write stories for children and illustrate them, but I didn't know what to write, and my drawings didn't come out the way I wanted. I left home and went to work at 18, so I could go to a state college, which I had to do with no financial support from my parents. (I graduated with no debt. Who can do that now?) I did a lot of different things during my life and was content to enjoy retirement. The nastiness that was exposed in 2016 or so made me want to do something to fight back. I decided to go back to my original dream. Now I write a story blog for children, teaching kindness, appreciation for diversity, a little science and problem solving skills, following a family of very realistic dolls in photographs as they act out the stories. I'm working on my fifth book.

Expand full comment
author

What a valuable thing to do. Thank you, Peggy.

Expand full comment

Steven, I loved your remembrances this morning. Your dreams were much like mine and I have been fortunate to have made them come true in several different ways. As a teacher I had summers and holidays off from the classroom and used these vacations to visit places I had been teaching about in social studies classes. I have traveled in all of the places I have ever wanted to visit in this world and now that I am retired there is more time to explore. Thank you for helping me to remember how fortunate I am to have lived during this time. May everything be settled in the world so that people can enjoy the places I have seen. May serenity come to America and the world in 2024-2025.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

Such interesting questions you posed...

My dream has been to retire in another state that is more purple in politics than red Idaho, but my friends don't want me to leave. They tell me to stay and keep making a difference. These comments helped me realize that my attitude, generosity, kindness have made a mark in my community. That is my dream come true!

Expand full comment
founding

You are very brave as you and I know Idaho is getting worse by every day politically and socially! Doctors and educated folks are leaving so best of luck!

Expand full comment

I never felt like I fit in when I was growing up; I didn’t act, talk or think like the other girls. Being white and heterosexual was the only commonality I shared with most people then. As I approached my graduation from high school, I couldn’t wait to leave, but didn’t have an idea of where I wanted to go. I figured if I’m a stranger in my home town, then everywhere is home.

I had visions of becoming a famous writer (not that I had the requisite talent or discipline) but I didn’t want to have to rely on anyone else, like a husband, financially. I’d seen the trap girls got into getting married right out of high school. So, I went to university and got an engineering degree. That changed the whole course of my life.

I learned academic discipline and thought; it was hard but the rewards were fulfilling and began to shape the person I’d become.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the US, as well as personal travel to Europe and Algeria. Quite exciting for this white bread, small town girl.

Today I’m retired and while I enjoy occasional mental challenges I don’t miss the rigor of working life. I enjoy watching birds make their seasonal lives in my home garden and seeing the trees and flowers transform through the year. I probably focus too much on my daughter and granddaughters, but they represent the best outcome of my lifetime endeavors. I’m thrilled that my career gave me financial freedom to travel often to see them and to help with their dreams and goals.

Life has been good for me and to me, even through the hard, stressful times. At the end of it all, the most important thing I’ve learned is that what matters most is the people in your life and to let them know you love them.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

It wasn’t quite a dream in the sense of aspiration but when I lived in Chicago, LA, and DC I wondered what it would be like to be married to a farmer and live in the middle of nowhere. Well, here I am …

Expand full comment

When I was in 6th grade I did a book report about how people lived in various pre-industrial corners of the world. I found myself dreaming about living in a thatched hut in a remote African village for a few years and learning to speak some African languages. I did that.

Expand full comment

you are blessed. Africa is one of the countries still on my bucket list but I am not traveling as the present time. Soon I hope to hop on a plane and see animals in the wild.

Expand full comment

I was in Senegal, in west Africa. People used to ask me if I ever got over to the famous Serengeti to see the animals there, and I would reply "When I was in Dakar I was closer to the Empire State Building than I was to Tanzania." I never got anywhere near there. Africa is big.

Here is a post I wrote about some of my experiences in northern Senegal. Hope yo ulike it: https://open.substack.com/pub/johnsundman/p/the-dark-side-of-the-hut-50-years?r=38b5x&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

Expand full comment

Which? I had a dream of being a missionary long before agnosticism informed my childhood certainty- but still had 14 wonderful years doing public health (HIV) in Lusaka, Zambia. (Only learned phrases, and proper “king’s” English, tho.)

Expand full comment

Love that you did wonderful work without being a missionary; you might not have been able to accomplish as much.

Expand full comment

Suspect you may be right.

But was very lucky in my opportunities in Zambia!

But I also noticed you gave me much credit with little evidence.

If I had your positive faith in people I believe would have had both a greater and more enduring impact. You have a gift.

Expand full comment

I think I could feel or sense your joy at what you had accomplished in your words: "had 14 wonderful years doing public health...". That is hard work, especially with HIV and for you to say what you did, it struck me as truth.

Expand full comment

You have a good heart, Kirsten. ☺️

Expand full comment
May 13·edited May 13

Have an odd secret to share with you Kirsten, … don’t often mention, or perhaps remember, in my old age-😏-but your State Department credited our 2004-2014 work with having ‘helped save 500,000 lives’. An award, ceremony, etc. So … may be about the most fortunate person who ever lived - & sometimes just want/need to tell that story & express my gratitude to life, to someone, even a near-total stranger - very remarkable things do happen - but are somewhat less often known.

And, so, thanks for paying your taxes! 🥰 Believe they were well spent.

Expand full comment

I am *so* grateful that you shared this! The magnitude of your work is stunning.

What you said, "express my gratitude to life", was especially important to hear. There is an honest humbleness that I find so refreshing.

Gratitude to you, Mark, for your answer, and to Steven for asking this question - what an enriching way to have us communicate with each other and share glimpses of real life. (if I was on my phone I could add a lot of heart emojis!)

Expand full comment

Senegal. I spent two years there as a Peace Corps Volunteer and then nearly another year a couple of years later doing research on smallholder farming systems when working on a graduate degree in agricultural economics. I never got anywhere near Zambia, alas. Maybe in my next life.

Here's a post I wrote about some of my experiences in Senegal all those years ago.

Expand full comment
May 11·edited May 11

My ~biannual trips to the states often refueled in Dakar or Cape Verde, but always in a rush, never did a sojourn- which I now regret. Did get to present at the 2001 ICASA in Ougadougu, and an epidemiologist on my staff in Louisiana did his Peace Corps in The Gambia c. 1990. Zambia was blessed with up to ~85 peace corps volunteers at some points during my tenure- several were assigned to my team for several months at a time.

Peace Corps does tremendous good work- much more than most people know!

Thanks for your service.👍☺️

PS your essay/memoir didn’t come thru

Expand full comment

Hrrmmmm. . . . Don't know why the link didn't work, but if you go to my substack & look for the essay "Dark side of the hut, fifty years later" you'll find it -- if you feel like making the effort. I'll copy the link one more time in case I mis-copied last time -- but maybe substack doesn't allow links in comments? I dunno. https://open.substack.com/pub/johnsundman/p/the-dark-side-of-the-hut-50-years

Expand full comment

(-biking)

Seems you may have a couple years on me-

Expand full comment

In the immortal words of Indiana Jones, "It isn't the years. It's the mileage."

Expand full comment

Started off dirt poor. "Dad" abandoned us when he came home from Vietnam when I was six. We bounced around - changed schools 12 times in 12 years - moved 35 times before I turned 25. I left home when I was 13 and tried to stay school for awhile even though I was working full time for room and board. Eventually I made some good money on a construction job that allowed me to put something in savings so I could finish college. It took nine years going part-time but it was worth it for me to pay as I went because debt was just too scary!

After all that chaos, all I ever wanted was a peace-filled oasis! So I manifested what that would like like and started my own business. A few years into it, I ended up buying a lovely piece of rural property where I could live and have my business. I have gathered amazing staff over the years (almost half have been with me for more than 20 years!) and now I'm living a dream and caring for my staff of 29 people.

My only dream when I was little was being fed and sleeping in a safe place! Circumstances change if YOU change them! Never give up!

Expand full comment

So wonderful that you now have that peace-filled oasis - I am happy for you. And you must be a pretty incredible person to have staff with you for over 20 years. May you continue on a peaceful path.

Expand full comment

Thank you!

Always staff first - clients second! <3

Expand full comment

thank you for sharing your experience and strength. And thank you for believing in yourself and others. You are truly a mensch!

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

As a kid, I knew I wanted to be in radio, but growing up in the 1950s, I was told girls couldn't be deejays. (Supposedly, our voices were just suitable for so-called "women's shows," discussing food and fashion and family. But I wanted to play the hits, and cheer people up the way the deejays on my favorite station cheered me up. ) In college, once again, I was told I couldn't be a deejay. So, I embarked upon a 4-year battle to earn the right to be on the air, and in my senior year, finally, a new program director saw my potential and gave me a chance. In October 1968, I became the first female deejay in the history of my college (Northeastern University). Somehow, the republic did not fall; in fact, I got a lot of fan mail. I went on to a four decades long career in radio, and although I never got equal pay, I met a lot of famous and soon-to-be famous people. And I launched the US career of a certain Canadian rock band, Rush. I was there when they got a star on the Walk of Fame, and when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We are still in touch 50 years later, in fact. As for me, I was inducted into the Mass. Broadcasters Hall of Fame last year. I'm also a widely-quoted media historian. Not bad for a working-class kid who was told she would never be anything in life.

Expand full comment
author

Well done!

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

Thanks. I love your work, by the way. Read it faithfully. And if ever you need a friendly media historian, let me know! Much love to you.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I had lived in my apartment for 17+ years when it was sold to a man that turned out to be a slumlord. He refused to put oil in the tank for the furnace, and said we had to pay for our own heat (6 apartments, 1 furnace). At 83, the lack of heat caused my immune system to be compromised, so I looked for another place to live.

My good friend lived in senior affordable housing in a nearby town, in what was a mansion. She gave me the phone number to get on the list to live there.

Long story short, I now live in the most elegant place I know of. It took 3 months, but it is a dream come true. I still pinch myself every morning to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Expand full comment

My only dream is for right now, that is - this world begins to make sense, that people stop hating each other, that logic and reason becomes manifest and that the word war will never be in our vocabulary again. That kindness, peace and love permeates the entire fabric of each and every human existence.

Expand full comment
author

Can’t think of a more important dream.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I was a horse crazy little girl living in the city. I dreamed of going west and having a horse. I did those things. I dreamed of becoming an artist and I did that too. My dream of marrying a cowboy never came true but that worked in my favor. I gave away my last horse last year to her trainer. I miss her but I was no longer riding. And after 51 yrs of living in the west, I am moving back to my childhood home. The art is still a thing. At 71 I still have dreams of what more I can do as a creative. I also dreamed of being a singer. I did meet my husband in choir! Maybe I will join some sort of choir again.

Expand full comment

When I was a child, I got separated from my parents at a renaissance faire. It wasn't remotely upsetting, likely because a group of performers hung out with me and passed me off to the next group when they had to do a set. Shortly thereafter, my family located me (I hadn't moved), and thanked those who'd kept me safe. 15 years later, I packed up my car and went on the road doing faires professionally. I met wonderful, creative, complex, maddening people with an amazing array of skills and experiences, and I learned how to run a business from a group of women at a time when there were no business loans for women. I also made a lot of money and spent very little of it, since I had no rent, utilities, credit cards, or anything else that didn't fit in a small hatchback while leaving room for a big dog. 6 years after that, I found a business partner and started a costume shop. We both married and had kids and kept that business running while also working full time for 10 years. It was the stepping stone for entry into the middle class, and when I sold out, I bought a house with the proceeds. That business changed hands a couple times but is still running 30 years after we started it. Sometimes, our dreams change, and we get to help others by passing them along. There's a deep satisfaction in that.

Expand full comment

So the old saying is true Rebecca - "it takes a village."

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I grew up in those rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania and dreamed of getting the hell out. I didn't fit in with anyone there, not even my own family. Though I loved growing up on a farm and riding horses along the abandoned railroad tracks, I wanted to be more than what everyone else saw in the cards for me; my dad paid for my brother's education, but according to him, girls were only supposed to "get married and be brood mares." Humph.

Reading is my superpower; I was inspired by the Renaissance idea of a many-faceted life. I put myself through liberal arts and then chiropractic college, and had a good forty year career helping people stay mobile. I've hiked with my son around our Tucson home plus Wales, England, Australia, New Zealand, Maui, and Canada. I've written historical fiction novels, nonfiction biographies, and children's books. I've battled cancer twice and won. I'm an election poll worker and voter registration helper. I still want to go to the Galapagos, sail around Cape Horn, dogsled through Alaska, plus eat my way around Italy, Spain, and France. And I want to make sure any grandchildren I have will have the same opportunities I did to make whatever they choose of their lives without old white men barring their way.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

My family of eight lived in Bellwood, south ot Chicago, across the street from the train tracks. So I, too, dreamt as a young girl of other destinations when the sound of the clattering box cars lulled me to sleep at night. My husband of 42 years and I are about to cross the Galapagos off our bucket list. He, too, was born in the great state of Illinois.

Expand full comment

Have a fantastic voyage, Patty!

Expand full comment

Thank you, Jacqueline!

Expand full comment

When my first baby was placed in my arms, my dream had come true. 🦕

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

My dream turned out to be something I never knew I had. In 2011 I went to Jordan as a volunteer at a small organization assisting refugees from Iraq, and I began teaching English to the people who were going to be resettled in English-speaking countries. Teaching was an exciting and joyful experience, and I became close to my students and am still in awe of their strength and power to forgive those who destroyed their country and their lives. After several months, I moved on to Cairo, Egypt, where I spent 6 years teaching English to both adults and children. I had no idea how satisfying it would feel to give the gift of learning, and after a long career working in NY courts and as a clerical employee in civil service, I ended my employment career doing something I loved and had no idea how much happiness teaching brought me.

I not only lived in Jordan and Egypt, but I also spent a month in Pakistan. I tell my grandchildren, travel, go and be somewhere that challenges you.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I come from a family that valued boys over girls and so I grew up thinking that my sister and I were destined to failure. I certainly lived up to that until I got married and had 2 daughters of my own, at which time when the youngest was 2 years old I was admitted to university and completed an undergraduate degree. Unlike my mother, I encouraged my daughters to follow their dreams and I decided at the age of 42 to follow mine. I was admitted to and successfully completed an MBA program at one of Canada’s prestigious universities. Then 4 years later, my dream of spending a month in France came to fruition when I did a house exchange with a woman I had met through a friend. Both were experiences that shaped my life and will cherish till I die.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

What a profound question, Steven. And pushes me back years, wondering at maybe my first dream of becoming.

I know what the likely genesis was, I knew then probably, the stories of life at sea I’d heard over and over between my father, his friends, his family visiting us in New York - who’d travelled from what seemed like everywhere on the globe (that I never not remember being present in our house).

I wanted to be a sea captain and not just go to the places they talked about but also to stand watch for a glimpse of the kind of sea monsters described to me by an uncle, a captain on ships in the North Sea, who spent days walking with me while waiting for my dad to return from work.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

Such an interesting question.

I was a child prodigy (on the piano) and started writing songs when I was probably 12 or 13. My interests expanded to arranging and orchestrating for high school ensembles. When I got to junior college I discovered jazz and big bands and virtually taught myself how to write for larger groups. During my freshman year I saw a flyer announcing something called “Famous Arranger’s Clinic” to be held in the summer in Las Vegas. It was there I met a gentleman who become my friend, mentor and ultimately my partner. When I came home I announced that I wanted write music for film and television. Hard to believe but I ended up writing my first arrangement for television some two years later. One would think I’d be thrilled (I was). But I was also shocked to realize that I had no idea what I would do next! Coming to grips with that existential question began more than 40 years in music with more recognition and success than I could have ever imagined. All fueled by an incessant curiosity to experience new things. I’ve since branched out into academia, online education, entrepreneurship, and now bringing all of this knowledge and experience together to develop a music based treatment option for mild to moderate anxiety and depression. That’s another story but related because I had a dream 6 years ago to make as large an impact on the world as I could- to help people like me who suffer from trauma related mental illness. None of this remarkable life I’ve been able to live would have been possible if I couldn’t dream.

Dreams can definitely come true if we don’t allow fear to inhibit our personal growth.

Expand full comment

Growing up poor & crowded in a walk-up apt. in the Bronx I dreamed of a home & family & the ability to travel with them

With ever grateful thanks to NYC, I attended free college, graduated & have had a wonderful career. We have taken our 3 around the US including Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean & thru Europe & Israel. Now they have adventures with their own families & we continue to see the world. This year includes Australia, New Zealand & Portugal.

We are always glad to come home but now must fight to protect democracy right here in America

We will prevail

Expand full comment
founding
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

What a terrific group of aspiring folks! Steve, you hit it out of the park with your question: thank you once again!

Expand full comment

I never imagined that my life would be one of service to teenagers as a HS/MS teacher and coach. I was a good student but struggled to find focus. I was a good runner, but like with academics, I struggled to find focus enough to make something of my talents as an athlete. Eventually teaching/coaching found me. It has taken me to wonderful places like Honduras, England, Poland, Sulawesi, Indonesia, and I have met wonderful students that remain my ‘kids’ even today. More than that. I’ve been able to use my experiences to help them become better students, athletes, and people. How do I know? They tell me. I could have never dreamed this my self.

Expand full comment

I dreamed of a college degree and achieved it, the first in my family to do so. I became a teacher and later earned a Master’s degree in English. I also dreamed of France and Paris. Spending four weeks in that country was a memorable life experience.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

at age 8 i'd lie in bed looking out the window beside me at the moon, with plans of running away up north, even had a grand dream a rowboat appeared on a river outside & i slipped out & rowed away towards the big full moon, but i never did go because i couldn't leave my cats & family.. well i painted that scene, one of many in my online art gallery, it hangs on my wall now in my room up here in portland, oregon.. it was like foreshadowing, i made it here to the columbia river gorge, i look out at that moon at night from beautiful french door windows, & although they're all over the rainbow bridge now, i took my family of 7 pittypat kitties up here with me where we've had a beautiful life.. <3

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

A wonderful piece. A lot of nostalgia.

Expand full comment

I am glad some of your dreams came true.

I read about Florence Nightingale and Albert Schweitzer when I was a pre-teen and dreamed of working in disaster areas in a helping capacity.

I have never achieved those things but I have found love in my life and birthed some wonderful human beings. The death of my eldest at the age of 9 years, 7 months and 7 days… in a car accident with me driving the car that was hit by a lumber truck!

Expand full comment

So sorry for the loss of your child.

If you still dream of helping, call your county and ask how you can train to be a volunteer for disaster management. There are organizations that help out in the aftermath of disasters large and small and will let you know how you can, too. It doesn't have to be a job. You can still help.

Expand full comment

Thank you for all the people who liked or replied to this.

I realize my last sentence is not grammatically correct but it stands like a reason why I didn’t achieve my goals.

Before Joy died, as a young mother with 2 small children, I trained to be a first responder and I worked as a volunteer fire fighter in my rural area of Northern New Mexico.

I must say I’m glad I wasn’t called out much and didn’t get to save anyone’s life. However, I did, unsuccessfully , perform CPR on a person I came across in a traffic accident. It may have been too long since the accident. I thought of becoming a paramedic after my car crash but realized it would be re-stimulating every day and decided not to take that training.

Expand full comment

…and I would be in my bed, always, even now, curtains open, looking at the sky and wanting to meet the beings in other worlds. I still have a fascination with UFOs and what that could hold, but also Gods.

Expand full comment

“What dreams have come true for you?”

I did not have dreams such as the way you describe Steven. Though there are three things that have been crossroads in my life that directed my path each time they presented.

The one that came at my youngest was my interest in music, rock music to be specific. It has always been a through point that has stayed with me to this day. Being a working musician had been a desire to achieve, not so much a dream to be realized. At 68yrs, for the better part of my entire life, on & off, it has been very much a desire achieved.

The unexpected path of parenthood at 21yrs put me on what for me was a very difficult journey, that challenged my ability to accept, inspire, advise and most importantly to love through all that it threw at me. I was not unlike many other parents who wrestle with self doubt about whether or not they are doing the right thing by their kid. I don’t believe any parent can take all the credit or accept all of the blame when it comes to the path that a kid chooses. Fortunately I had a moment or two at pivotal junctures where I like to believe that I got it right. As it was my son who did the work. Today, I could not be prouder of who he has become.

There came a time in my early 20s that I developed an interest in photography. I was largely self taught and not particularly talented at it, but I understood it’s principles and enjoyed it. A professor I studied under for a semester told me I could make a living at it. I held onto that tightly.

Some years later I managed to develop a handful of various clientele and quite by accident, through a then girlfriend working in Film, landed a job on the tail end of a low budget movie. I did not do a very good job, due to not knowing what or how I was to do it. However, I found myself developing an understanding of the use of Still Photography in the Film/TV Industry. Which I continued at for 23 1/2 years. Retiring in 2018..

Where this seemingly unrelated story tie into this question of “What dreams have come true for you?” Is a tale of accidentally being at the right place at the right time. To realize an unexpected and unplanned achievement. You see, During that 23 1/2 years making photographs for Film/TV I worked on an Academy Award winning Film and an Emmy winning TV show as a crew member. I did not set out to do this with any preconceived agenda, but when I retired, when I walked away from my Film/TV career I had no regrets of having missed out on something. I was at peace and proud of my contributions to all of the projects I worked on. As for the happenstance that for a brief moment put me at the pinnacle of that industry? It was quite an unexpected achievement to be sure. Only because of the people I was working with, and certainly not because of me.

I did not think I would go on as I have in answering this question. I guess it’s that I have never been asked it before.

Expand full comment
author

It’s hard to overstate how important happenstance or good luck is in most significant achievements.

Expand full comment

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Expand full comment

Thank you Steven.

Expand full comment

This was lovely. I’ve never strayed far from home. New York City. Traveled a lot. Guess I got the need to experience other cultures that way. Didn’t have the self confidence at an early age that you seemed to have. Mine showed up rather late in life. However show up it did. Had many professions/“jobs”! Almost all have been rewarding in their own way. All different. Fun too. Sometimes! Now at 82 I’m still at it. Real estate photography designing textiles dog boarding volunteering still traveling. Good life. Hope you all who read this know that you should never stop. If you retire have a back up plan. Don’t sit around waiting for something because it will never come. Get up get out. As Yoda said “There is no trying only doing”. Peace!

Expand full comment
May 12Liked by Steven Beschloss

I hope my dream of a Biden reelection comes true and doesn’t turn into a nightmare.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I’m still working at age 83 at a job I absolutely love, but it’s hardly a dream come true in the classic sense, because I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I always wanted to write a book, and did self-publish one. But my greatest dream come true is marrying the love of my life, after two marriages—I now think of as training-wheels marriages—that didn’t work even though the dream was there. I finally got it right!

Expand full comment

My dream was to become part of the Washington press corps in the age of Helen Thomas.

Woodward & Bernstein heavily influenced me as I watched Watergate hearings during the summer of 1973 instead of going to the neighborhood pool with my friends.

Weird kid.

Journalism and the 4th Estate became, in my view, a societal pillar and critical checks-and-balance foundation of our democracy.

With the decline of print newspapers and hyper-local journalism, the advent of cable news, and the onset of digitalization I feel this has impacted, if not eroded, the 1st Amendment.

Truth is now, I wouldn’t want to be a journalist. Covering all-things-Trump would be infuriatingly nauseating.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I always wanted a swimming pool and a hot tub, which I realized in 2006. Also to buy a car new, which I've done every time since 1991. I suppose that makes me rather shallow, but, I'm ok with that.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

I went from a being a young man with small dreams, to being an adult and achieving things I'd only dreamed about in a big way. What a great life!

Expand full comment

Childhood family life was scary and dangerous. so when I finally escaped the terror my dream was to one day marry a nice woman and be a member of a warm, caring family, would be a husband who would be good and kind and patient and supportive ... and be happy. I married a very nice woman. After 3 years my personality deficits ruined us, and we got divorced. A few years later I was fortunate to marry another woman who was remarkable and who I adored. But I had not changed, and after 5 years, that marriage ended. Several years later I was, again, lucky enough to marry another nice and also remarkable woman. When we had kids - our two wonderful daughters - I was lucky to be the one who primarily took care of them in order to support my wife in her ambitions. I had grown somewhat, but then things went south, and she divorced me after 20 years and after raising 2 terrific mid-teen girls who have become awe-inspiring women. I've been single now for 20 years, and the past decade of intense, painful work with a terrific psychologist has finally gotten me closer to being the person I had hoped to be. My shame-based personality is still part of the atmosphere in which I live, though, and I am alone at 76.

My dream as a kid in the "duck and cover" era - with one parent who was a terrifying psychopath and one parent who had a different, softer style of abuse - was to survive. Survive "The Bomb" and survive childhood. It was a dream that was not captivating or that would lead to gratification of a life well-spent. Surviving has caused the dream to come true but in the same manner as a desperately thirsty person finds enough water to live another day or two, only to look all around and see nothing but desert.

Expand full comment
author

Thank you for sharing, Rick. I appreciate your honesty.

Expand full comment
May 12Liked by Steven Beschloss

Owning some acreage in the Pacific NW has been a dream of mine since I first saw a photo of the lush coast with huge swordferns and mossy trees. It came true, and caring for this 5 acre jewel every day is my pleasure and honor. Protecting it from the drier, hotter summers takes some effort.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

Your dreams sound as if they came true because of your hard work, ambition and willingness to be open to anything. Sometimes we must take a leap of faith and just go for it. And if our dreams don’t always materialize, then we go on trying. My dream has always been to go to Egypt and see the Pyramids, and I had thought I would reserve a cruise this year, but the Middle East is so unstable right now I decided to wait until next year. However, I am making plans instead to go to Australia- another country on my dream list. At this time, my hopes and dreams are for those in government and business all over the world to take climate change under serious consideration, and actually do something good for Mother Earth. We all do our little bit to help, but I dream of a new leader coming forth to make real change.

Expand full comment

When I was in my teens in the 60s I dreamed of working at Disneyland, about three miles from my home. Alas, it was not to be at that period in my life. I worked in Aerospace for 24 years, then for a network equipment manufacturer for another 22 years, retiring at 68. On a whim I applied for a job at Disneyland and worked there for six years, first in Resort Transportation and Parking, then in Attractions in Galaxy’s Edge, truly a dream position for me. I used to cosplay Star Wars for free, now I was being paid for it. I fully retired last October, another longtime dream. With nearly 3/4 of a century on the clock it’s unlikely I’ll ever climb Mt. Whitney, yet another dream, but I am content.

Expand full comment

WOW! Waxing philosophically now, are we? You are asking unanswerable questions, which is how I view philosophy, which is always asking questions we can never answer, only what we can study and think about. I guess that’s why we have philosophy. What is love? What is a dream? What is the meaning of life? WOW again! These are things I think about every day. Why are we here? What creates the hate we see around us every day among so many people, especially those who hate others because they are not white, but then require saying grace before every meal. WHY?

Sorry, Steven, but this is deep shit. I have had the great privilege to grow up white in this great age of discovery and energy from a safe, middle-class background, somewhat privileged by having a “normal” upbringing in an isolated white community, never wanting for much, but often so overwhelmed by everything that I just lived day-to-day in awe of things happening, not dreaming as much as just trying to keep up.

I am not religious, although I was brought up as a Presbyterian, probably because I am more of a philosopher steeped in realism. I am not an atheist because I cannot answer the question – is there a God in the sense of a Catholic God, or a Protestant God, of a Jewish God, or an Islamic God, and so on – and I can’t honestly swear allegiance to an atheist's version of no God. In my view, all of these religions have missed the boat. We should possibly think more about our place in the mystery of the Universe. How can we be so different if we can procreate all over the world – black on white, white on black, yellow on brown, etc. – and then when someone hurts any of us, we bleed the same blood, have the same deceases, we all live and die. Let’s all step back a bit and think this through. This is not philosophy – this is truth.

Expand full comment
May 13Liked by Steven Beschloss

Ah, your last paragraph says so many things I have thought.

Expand full comment
May 12Liked by Steven Beschloss

Steven, thank you for asking the question! I am enjoying reading the beautiful, inspiring responses. Gives me hope - so desperately needed in these frightening times.

Expand full comment
author

They are inspiring. I agree.

Expand full comment
May 12Liked by Steven Beschloss

A little pause in the glowing stories, if I may: I am almost 60 years old, and during my childhood, there was officially no such thing as autism and ADHD in girls. Only boys. I guess my dream as a child was to be understood and liked, which was impossible considering my condition. Nobody could figure out what was "wrong" with me. I was intelligent, though, quite precocious, and had a great talent at copying things, sounds, ideas, affect, etc. I would get a lot of praise for being good at academics and art, but it was all copying what was in the environment around me. Of course the other kids didn't like me - I was hard to be around, and I outperformed many of them. I managed to barely make it through public university twice just continuing to copy other peoples' likes and ideas of what I was good at (parents, teachers, professors, supervisors, relationships, friends, etc.) It was all a system to get praise, which I was missing at home. I acquired mental health problems along the way because of maladaption and a lack of acceptance. Fortunately, my parents had me in counseling for most of my childhood and teens, so at least I found a modicum of understanding in those settings. I stumbled through life, through dozens of employment situations, several relationships, and then at age 48 I recieved an Asperger's syndrome diagnosis. They don't tend to use that term any longer, and so now I am on the spectrum with ADHD. My condition, combined with previous trauma, has left me disabled. I stopped working at age 39. There isn't a lot of room for dreams when you are on disability and struggling to keep yourself fed and to not become homeless or addicted. Fortunately, my dream found me. I met two other people with my same diagnoses and with similar backgrounds of our mental health burning out and leaving us disabled. The three of us make just enough on disability to share a mobile home in a quiet adult park in a rural area close to the Pacific ocean. Now, we don't have to struggle for food, shelter, or medical coverage, which is a huge blessing. We mesh perfectly as housemates, and we can drive to the ocean any time we want, see wildlife in and around our town, have a deep connection to each other, and be the best parents we can to our cats. We don't have a lot of money, but our friendship is full of love and acceptance, which is what young me always wanted. Now to figure out how to discover my own dreams, and not have to copy anyone else in order to finally have peace.

Expand full comment
May 13Liked by Steven Beschloss

I'm glad to read that you have two roommates and that you all mesh well; that is an important part. It is a gift to have friendship that is full of love and acceptance.

I hope you find your dreams!

Expand full comment

Wanted to be a veterinarian.

Flunked out of undergrad at 19.

Returned to college at 35.

Graduated from veterinary school at 43.

Developed a fear of flying for no obvious reason.

Took flying lessons.

Got my private pilot's license.

I taped Calvin Coolidge's quote about "Persistence" on the wall over my study desk.

I claimed that I was persistent.

My parents said that I was stubborn.

Whatever it was, it worked.

Expand full comment
May 12Liked by Steven Beschloss

A dream that I never allowed myself to dwell on…our first grandchild was born two months ago. I never knew I could love a little, tiny human like this. I love my own children with every fiber of my being, but being a grandmother (Nonni) is next level.

Expand full comment
May 11Liked by Steven Beschloss

It’s so fitting you asked this the day before Mother’s Day. A dream is that my wife, who is so unlike my mother, married me, was a great mom and has brought so my to my life. I didn’t exactly dream of that, but I should have.

Expand full comment