Today is my father’s birthday and it was just a coincidence (or was it?) that I mentioned him in a story I was telling one my students. The story centered on how Dad made me take typing, shorthand, and business law courses in high school “Just in case college doesn’t work out.” Well, college didn’t ‘work out’ — at least not that time — and the conversation with my student centered on pondering what I would have become if I didn’t have those courses and skills ‘to fall back on.’ Sixteen years as a legal secretary/assistant and another 20 or so in the field of higher education…I wondered aloud what would have I done if I hadn’t been put or, more specifically, if he had not put me in that office, that cubicle, that box.
Unlike Robert Frost, I will never know the road less traveled by.
However, my father, if nothing else, taught me the value of options. The more education/experience/skills/ you have, the more employment options are available to you. I have, over the years, become a woman of many enthusiasms, but continuously working in an office environment has allowed me access to computers, keyboards, printers, and writing lessons every day from constructing the perfect memo to copy editing textbooks. It has been a road of missteps and detours that has led me inexorably, assignment by assignment, to becoming a writer. Unforeseen, but discovered along the way, writing has become the joy of my life and my life’s work.
How did he know? Wishing I could have this conversation with him only breaks my heart, so I am writing it instead. I know he sees it.
He reads everything I write.