Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Recollecting youthful thoughts

My parents started me early in school. My birthday is in November, and apparently placed me right on the deadline of whether to start early or late. Because I started early, I was seventeen when I graduated from high school. Which meant that I was usually the youngest, the smallest, and the slowest to mature.

I suppose Mamacita might have something to say about it, but that would be for another discussion.

My childhood, apparently was not very memorable, or else it was so traumatic, that my subconscious has totally blocked it out from my random access memory.

I had a friend who was older, and seemed to be more aware of what was going on. I definitely looked up to him, and in some ways I wanted to be like him. He was the scientific geek, that so many joke about. At a young age he was experimenting with chemicals, and knew so much more than I did.

I remember the logo on a pack of cigarettes had the words: "PER ASPRA AD ASTRA" and "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES". Without any doubt, I had not learned any foreign words or phrases, so, in effect I had never even thought about what the phrases meant. For some reason, one of the times we were together, my friend informed me the phrases meant "The stars through difficulty" and "In this sign conquer".

I recall how lofty those two terms sounded to me. I still don't know if he had the correct translation or not, but I remember how much those words affected me.

This was even before Sputnik and any space travel of any note. But in my youthful mind, I could understand the stars through difficulty. That was a deep thought, but it resonated with me. In some existential way, I understood the truth behind the phrase.

Add to that the phrase: In this sign conquer, and i had the motivational information I needed for me to dream the impossible dream. School frustrated me, and my home life was less than ideal, these phrases gave me a sense of hope. Today, fifty years later, I see how they were instrumental in giving me a ray of hope that I would one day get out of school and get out of my home.

What phrase or phrases, have given you some sense of hope, at some time in your life?

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