This photo was taken in the fall of 1968 at the start of my sophomore year in high school. My dad was a great inspiration to me in teaching me the value of working hard in pursuit of academic accomplishment.
You’re Lucky, It Comes Easy To You!
By Richard Mabey Jr.
When I was in high school and then when I was in college, I remember that people would say to me, “you’re lucky, it comes easy to you!” Nothing could ever be further from the truth. I think that I had to work 10 times harder than a lot of my good buddies did, to get that B.
When I was in high school, my dad didn’t care too much if I got a C, as long as I did my sincere, honest best. On Sundays, after church, we would all eat lunch at the kitchen table; mom, dad, my sister Patti and myself. Then right after lunch, Dad and I would spend the rest of the afternoon at the dining room table, in the old Mabey homestead.
Dad would work on his scouting paperwork and also catch up on his logbooks. I would do my homework and study. In my junior year of high school, I took chemistry class. Mr. Toomey was my teacher. He did a good job at presenting the materials, but he really wasn’t that great of a teacher. I had a really tough time with chemistry.
I remember spending hours upon hours upon hours studying my chemistry notes after school and on weekends. Sometimes I would get frustrated with figuring out a particular chemistry problem. Dad would be sitting next to me at the dining room table. He would say to me, “take it slow. Take your time. You can figure it out. I know you can, you’re a Mabey.”
Dad would say those words with such conviction that he would inspire me to slowly and methodically figure out the chemistry problem. In many ways, my father was one of the wisest men, I’ve ever known.
The hard truth of the matter is that all of my life, I have felt that I was a lap behind my fellow students. Then, when I was in the working world, working in a corporate public relations department, I felt like I was a lap behind my fellow workers. I’ve always had to work two, three, four or five times harder than the others.
Even when it came to writing, nothing came easy to me. At a relatively young age, when I was in high school, I would write articles for the Lincoln Park Herald. This was the town weekly newspaper for my old hometown. Mr. Marino was the Editor-in-Chief. His advice on writing was very simple; write, rewrite, rewrite, then rewrite again. It was advice that I took to heart and applied to my work as a writer, over and over and over again.
For about a decade of my life, during my mid-thirties to mid-forties, I worked for a big corporation pubic relations department. I wrote copy for in-house publications. Most of the time, when my fellow workers were headed out the door, I would still be at my desk doing that one more rewrite, then another rewrite, then yet another rewrite.
At that particular job, we were required to be at work by eight o’clock in the morning. Ninety percent of the time, I was at my desk by seven in the morning, working on the assignment that my boss had given to me the day before.
I never understood people who carry this sense of entitlement with them. They want the big brass ring without working for it. They want the corner office, but have a hundred and one reasons why they’re late for work all the time.
Most of my working life, I worked two jobs. I would have a full-time job and then would work nights and on weekends. In addition to being blessed with having editing and writing jobs, I’ve worked second part-time jobs such as selling Christmas trees, selling barbecue grills at a family owned garden shop, teaching Creative Writing classes at the local high school’s adult education program, and moonlighting at various weekly newspapers writing everything from obituaries to feature stories.
The whole truth of the matter is this: life isn’t easy. And in the same light, life isn’t always fair. In fact, most of the time life is downright unfair. But the whole key is this: never give up! Whatever you do in life, give it all you’ve got. Focus with all your strength and power. Always put forth 110 percent effort, never anything less.
Never give up on your dreams! Never!
Peace and harmony,