Quote of the Day:

“We get hurt and embarrassed by our early failures and forget to go back and take a second look at what we’re feeling. We get disconnected from who we really are and what we can do.” -Hal Zina Bennett

(Image from the Mickey Breen CollectionClick to enlarge)


I came across this quote early Saturday night and cried.

Hal’s words best describes me as a kid and maybe it describes you too?

In 1978 I lasted three days as a 14 year-old freshman at Power Memorial High School.

Later on I spent a few months at John Jay High School on three different occasions from 1979 to 1980.

Sandwiched in between I can’t forget the one month I spent riding the ‘F’ train to the Lower East Side at LaSalle Academy in 1979.

Believe it or not, I never completed one full semester of high school. I can’t even recall taking an exam; that’s the God’s honest truth!

You’re probably wondering; How did you ever graduate from Central Michigan University in 2003?

Well, it was easy; I went back and took that second look at my life.


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  1. Jack Kelly says:

    For some looking forward is all you have left because looking back reminds you of what your missing.

  2. Robert D Terry says:

    Steve: None of us can ever change the past; we all wish we could. What we can do however is make the future. If we choose, our greatest days & accomplishments are right in front of us.

  3. jimmyvac says:

    Look at the big picture.. you woke up and corrected your early mistakes.. There is a famous quote ,”Men live lives of quiet desperation”.. I would add regret to that.. but you corrected the past . Look at people in thr neighborhood that was on the same path as you that wound up in jail or dead.. My favorite quote is Jackie Robinson’s.. “the measure of a life is its impact on others”… when it is all said and done, through coaching and helping t helping kids and this

    site, you are leaving a great legacy.. Life is a race, its where you finish that counts….

  4. Glenn Thomas says:

    They say that life is a journey and not a destination. It doesn’t matter where you were in the past but where you are now. A true success story and for that you should always be proud.

  5. dpc65 says:

    Treat the past like looking in the rearview. Be aware of what is behind you or around you, but if you spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror, you’ll probably either miss or crash into what’s ahead of you. You’ve come a long way. And I remember your cameo appearance at LaSalle Academy. Bottom line is you’re in a good space now.

  6. Al says:

    So much truth in that quote. No doubt almost every person ever born can identify with it. It brought to mind an old chestnut I’m fond of:

    “If we had all the answers when we were born…there would be nothing to learn.”

    “We get hurt and embarrassed by our early failures and forget to go back and take a second look at what we’re feeling. We get disconnected from who we really are and what we can do.” -Hal Zina Bennett

    Yup, I agree it’s powerful.

    I think the quote could use some revision, though, for not all failures we experience are “ours.”

    So many wonderful words of wisdom in the responses to your post. All so true.

    Another quote comes to mind (similar to one of the responses):

    “It doesn’t matter where you came from, but where you’re going.”

    Yet another floods the mind:

    “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called ‘research’.”
    (Albert Einstein)…(I used to keep that one pinned to my son’s cork bulletin board in his room, to remind him not to be afraid to make mistakes.)

    I think Life is kinda like that. We all sort of grope along the way, overcoming obstacles. The only difference is that some of us have bigger ones to overcome—and not all were caused by us.

    Those truly fortunate have been brought to their knees at least once in their lives. For me it’s been a few times. Each time was a blessing and a reincarnation, and each time I was reminded of all that I should be thankful for—and what I have contributed during this great Cosmic Dance.

    “That day she put our heads together
    Fate had her imagination about her,
    Your head so much concerned with outer,
    Mine with inner, weather.”

    (Robert Frost, from ‘Tree At My Window’)

    One reason “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of my favorite movies, is the lesson it reminds us of, as conveyed through the words of one charming character named Clarence Oddbody, “Angel Second Class”:

    Clarence: “Strange isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole doesn’t he? You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.”

    One of the most profound moments of perception I’ve had in my life came when I found out that one of my co-workers, an older gent who wasn’t the most polished and a bit rough around the edges, had been an orphan, and grew up in an orphanage. I reeled from the revelation. Many recollections of his behavior flashed through my mind, and I realized that he was the most caring, helpful person I ever met. I recalled the time, very early in my career, when I wanted to submit my resignation, and he took me aside and counseled me—like a caring uncle. His difficult childhood prepared him for Life in a way most people never learn. And in that orphanage he learned, no doubt, that one must help one another—like family.

    “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”
    (Ernest Hemingway)

    And, I think, as we go through Life, we get stronger. This has been true with me. As a result, I’ve been able to contribute more, take more risks, brave another chance a finding a new love, and become a late in life father, a role I cherish; only God knows how grateful I am for His gifts.

    Once you are resurrected, you can be a powerful force for good.

    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
    (Mahatma Gandhi)

    And, for those doubters of the strength of determination:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    (Mahatma Gandhi)

    Steve, if it weren’t for you, I–and others– wouldn’t have this beautiful “comfort food” of a website to click on for a brief, emotional connection to our pasts. It has brought me much pleasure, recollections, and the opportunity to re-establish contacts. And, I have read of all your good deeds.

    From one Park Slope boy to another—Thanks for the Memories, and all that you do!

    “…when I’m weary of considerations,
    and life is too much like a pathless wood
    Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
    Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
    From a twig’s having lashed across it open,
    I’d like to get away from earth awhile
    And then come back to it and begin over…”
    (Robert Frost, from Birches)

    The Big Blue Marble

    Sometimes, when I needed a fresh perspective, I have re-read the words of former astronaut Rusty Schweikart, and how he described looking out the tiny window of his space capsule, while floating out there in perpetually dark, cold, airless space, and looking at our beautiful blue orb—planet earth. His words are at once poetic and philosophical:

    “From the moon, the Earth is so small and so fragile, and such a precious little spot in that Universe, that you can block it out with your thumb. Then you realize that on that spot, that little blue and white thing, is everything that means anything to you – all of history and music and poetry and art and death and birth and love, tears, joy, games, all of it right there on that little spot that you can cover—with your thumb. And you realize from that perspective that you’ve changed forever, that there is something new there, that the relationship is no longer what it was.”
    (Rusty Schweickart, astronaut)


  7. Al says:

    Take a moment today, December 7, to reflect on the horror that befell our servicemen and women on that early Sunday morning in 1941, when the sky darkened with 353 Japanese military aircraft that wrought a sudden, fiery apocalypse on those below.

    No matter what each of those souls had scheduled that day or what personal struggles they were wrestling with, they valiantly rallied to the call to arms and, that day, many drew their last breaths.

    Their families were left bereft and scarred.


    May their ultimate sacrifice never be dulled by the passage of time.

  8. Al says:

    Woke up this morning to discover that today is the 40th anniversary of the historic photo of our home, Earth, taken from space. It is called The Blue Marble. The dissemination of that photo globally was the first time in the history of mankind that civilization saw their planet from a distance. Up until that time, only a few humans—astronauts—had that opportunity. Because I made reference, yesterday, to Rusty Schweikart’s reaction when he beheld that sight a few years earlier (during the Apollo 9 mission, in 1969), I thought it pertinent to follow-up with this post.

    The image is, quite simply, breathtaking, profound, and humbling. Google it.

    Let me leave you with a few brief, selected excerpts from an article by Frank Bures, entitled “Celebrating the Iconic ‘Blue Marble’ Shot”:

    “Forty years ago today, on Dec. 7, 1972, three young men were on their way to the moon, racing away from the Earth at 25,000 miles per hour. Some ways out (about 28,000 miles), their ship passed a narrow tunnel of light, directly between the Earth and the sun. In that moment, they looked out the window and saw the Earth as almost no one had ever seen it: a giant, full, beautiful circle. The sands of the Sahara were in full sunlight. The snows of Antarctica shone bright white. The ocean resonated a deep blue hue.

    At that point, one member of the Apollo 17 crew picked up a specially made Hasselblad camera and took several photos. No one knows who did this, because all three astronauts recalled taking the photo. Whomever did, it was a stunning, rare shot. You could see nearly all of Africa – the cradle of humanity – as well as the island of Madagascar, the Arabian peninsula and the clouds swirling over the ocean.

    The photo would eventually become known as the “Blue Marble,” and it would become one of the most enduring pictures of all time. In fact, that photo probably changed the way we viewed our place in the cosmos more than any other.

    In The Blue Marble you could see that our planet was an island of warmth, water and life in the black, cold ocean of space. The Blue Marble drove home just how beautiful the planet was, in the color and movement the photo captured. But there was something else: the edge. The void. The thin line between the blue and the black carried the most powerful message of all: Beyond that line, the Earth was finite.

    Forty years later, Blue Marble remains the only true photo of the whole planet; one of the few times a human eye has actually taken in the entire Earth.

    Some astronauts, when they leave the Earth and watch it get smaller out their window, report a sudden overwhelming sense of how interconnected everything down there is. It’s known as the “overview effect.” And while most of us will never go into space, and never have that experience, in the Blue Marble, there has always been a bit of that feeling for us all to share.”


    If the Book of Genesis had photos accompanying the text, this is what we would have seen.

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