From this desk, I wrote well over a hundred articles, columns and feature stories for Chambersburg’s daily newspaper, Public Opinion.
Lessons From My Younger Self
By Richard Mabey Jr.
From 2015 till 2018, I wrote articles, columns and feature stories for Chambersburg’s daily newspaper, Public Opinion. In May of 2006, my beloved father went Home to be with the Lord. Prior to Dad’s passing, I spent a significant amount of time, sitting beside his bed. Dad was either in the hospital or at home. Writing was a great therapy for me.
After my dear father went Home to be with the Lord, I also got a job from a local medical doctor of doing a ghost write of a book that he was working on. I want to be very careful here. I know most of you may think that because an individual has the initials, MD, after his name that he is an incredible genius. Well, the individual may be smart, but he is not necessarily a genius.
When I began doing the ghost write on Dr. Runonsentence’s manuscript, I was amazed at how poorly it was written. Obviously, I’ve changed the name of the good doctor, namely because I don’t want to get sued. At any rate, I did a complete overhaul and rewrite of his book. Basically, it would have been easier to start from scratch.
Dr. Runonsentence did get his book published. He had the connections within the medical field. He had promised me that he would help me to get my book published. Sadly, it was an unkept promise. I don’t mean to sound bitter, I really don’t. The experience simply awakened me to the fact that even prestigious doctors don’t keep their word.
I always kept my desk as upbeat as I could. My desk, when I lived in Saint Thomas, Pennsylvania, was a large L-shaped desk. So, I had a lot of room to keep figurines, super-heros, little cars and the little toys that my cousin Howard Palmer and I played with in the sand pile when we were four and five. The figurines, pictures and old toys provided inspiration to me, whenever I would encounter a writer’s block.
One of my all-time favorite books is the book, “Eagle Scout.” My Aunt Vi gave it to me for my birthday in 1962, when I turned nine. It was prophetic in many ways. I think that I have read this book, well over a hundred times. When I had rheumatic fever, the entire year of seventh grade, I read it over and over and over again. I dreamt and dreamt of being an Eagle Scout.
Lately, it’s painful to confess, but I’ve been questioning my talent as a writer. I am seriously wondering if my novel will ever become published. Then, I think of that 12-year-old boy who successfully won a year-long battle with rheumatic fever.
Then, the boy’s determined heart beat the odds and the boy earned the coveted Eagle Scout. Despite warnings from his doctors, a Swimming Merit Badge Counselor telling him that he was wasting the counselor’s time. The swimming teacher told the boy that he would never, ever be a good enough swimmer to earn the Swimming Merit Badge, let alone the Lifesaving Merit Badge. But this young boy had a heart filled with determination and focus.
I look back at my younger 12-year-old self. I see him, lying in the bed in the hospital. I see him just staring and staring at the cover of the book that his Aunt Vi gave him. The book of course, is Wilfred McCormick’s novel, “Eagle Scout.”
I yearn for that fiery determination to once again fill my heart and soul. And, one thing that I know for sure, I am learning a lot from my younger, 12-year-old, self.