Thanks Mom and Dad

Phil Goldstein | North Forty News


My parents paid for the bachelor’s degree in journalism that I earned in 1973. I then proceeded to not use that education for 44 years because I got sidetracked by other career opportunities. I didn’t dust off my West Virginia University School of Journalism diploma until a local magazine (2017) and then North Forty News (2020) offered me columns. Among my saddest regrets is that my parents never saw their ‘investment’ bear fruit.

With both Mother’s Day past and Father’s Day approaching, I’m doubly reminded of how much I miss my late parents. I lost my mother to a five-year battle with cancer in 2003. The only consolation in her passing was that she didn’t see the lovely home that she and my father had retired to in New Orleans and all the precious keepsakes from their worldwide travels destroyed during Hurricane Katrina two years later. And the only positive from the catastrophe itself was relocating my father to Colorado, allowing me more time with him before he passed away in 2009.

Meanwhile, I don’t need any special days as reminders about my parents. Their memory is with me in every important aspect of my life. Whatever success I’ve had in various endeavors, I owe to them and their advice and counsel. 

Some of their guidance on life included:

There’s an important difference between a good experience and good experience. Partying all night with my friends might have been the former, but it certainly wasn’t the latter.

Don’t make excuses or be a ‘yeah but’ person. If you didn’t get it right, just say you’re sorry. 

Don’t ever go along to get along. Others will do it, but that doesn’t make it right for you.

If you’re going to have a happy marriage, you must master the art of reverse psychology. For example, “Why of course I’d like all of your family to visit for a month.”

Never hang anything on your body that you wouldn’t hang on the wall.

Don’t be envious of others’ seeming affluence. Affording the payment isn’t the same as affording the purchase. 

Always write and speak as though a university president is critiquing your communication. “Me and him…” won’t get you where you want to be.

You’ll meet a lot of interesting people in your life. When you do, spend more time learning from them than talking about yourself. 

Don’t laugh at your own jokes. It’s presumptuous.

In business and other endeavors, you’ll be tempted to take advantage of others. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. 

Running 100 miles a week might be good for your heart, but it can’t be good for your joints. That’s why, six surgeries later, I have my own wing at the orthopedic center.

What will you ever do with a journalism degree? Well, maybe someday, someone will ask me to write a magazine or newspaper column. 

Thanks Mom and Dad. I hope I got most of these right because I really did try

Phil Goldstein is in his fifth year writing Tales from Timnath for North Forty News. Phil is a 13-year Timnath resident who is finally using his West Virginia University journalism degree after getting sidetracked 51 years ago. The views expressed herein are Phil’s only. Contact him with comments on the column at [email protected].


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