I was a most earnest student. This photo shows myself, left hand side, in class with three of my fellow students.
By Richard Mabey Jr.
There is a destiny, a fate, a certain calling that seems to whisper to each and every one of us. There are times when we may set our feet upon a particular path, only to find out later that there is yet another pathway by which we yearn to walk along. Yet, there are no mistakes. For unto each and every path that we step onto, walk along for any length of time, cherish the sites along that walk; it plays an important and integral role in our growth, development and education. And, from each and every path that we trod in life, we grow in wisdom and insight.
Such a path came unto my life in September of 1973, when I began studying at Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, South Carolina. I was honored to be a part of the very first class of Sherman College. This was, in fact, a brand new college just beginning the long process of teaching individuals the art and science of adjusting the vertebrae of the spinal column.
The first building of Sherman College of Chiropractic was a tan brick, three-story building. It stood proud and tall along Spartanburg’s Main Street.
The first home of Sherman College of Chiropractic was a tan brick, three story building. It was a fine old building right on the Main Street of Spartanburg, South Carolina. I was a most earnest student. I was in the accelerated program, which meant that you went to school year round. We would only get a couple of weeks off in June. Otherwise, there were hardly any breaks in the academic curriculum.
In the course of time, that I attended Sherman College, there were times when I would get so horribly homesick. It was a funny thing. I would get particularly homesick on Friday nights. I would think of my dad driving off to Thorpe Hall to serve in his Divine calling as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170. There were times when I would go into my bedroom and break down and cry. I would just get so homesick. I missed my Mom and Dad. I missed my sister, Patti. I missed my grandmothers. I missed my dear collie, Sunday. I missed my relatives.
A rare photo of my old best friend, John Ware (left hand side) and I talking in the hallway of Sherman College.
One of my all-time best friends in college was a chap from Canada named John Ware. On Friday nights, we would go to a local diner and talk about the week that we had survived at Sherman. We were both Virgos. We were born only hours apart. John was born in the evening of September fourth. I was born in the morning of September fifth. Both of us were born in the very same year.
There were times when I would feel inadequate. I had a particular tough time with the chemistry classes. We had to take one semester of regular chemistry, two semesters of organic chemistry and two semesters of biochemistry. It was those times, when I would get down in the dumps and doubt myself that my old friend John would give me a boost of encouragement.
Chemistry did not come easy to me. I don’t think that I could have made it through Sherman College, without those words of encouragement that my pal John would share with me during our Friday night suppers at the local diner. It was kind of funny, because it seems like it was just yesterday. You see, both John and I had a crush on one of the young waitresses that worked at the diner. Sadly, neither one of us ever got the nerve to ask her for a date. She was so incredibly beautiful. We both felt that she was way out of our league.
My old desk nameplate, from my days in private practice as a chiropractor. I’ve kept it all these years. It is one of my most cherished possessions.
I did graduate with the first graduating class of Sherman College of Chiropractic. I took the West Virginia chiropractic board and passed with flying colors, the very first time that I took the exam. For roughly two years, I had my own little practice in a very small town in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia.
It was a tough struggle to make a living as a chiropractor. This was in the late 1970’s and chiropractic was not as accepted as it is today. And, I was in a rather rural area. The people were not that open to new ideas in the arena of the healing arts.
I had a little storefront and lived in the little backroom. It was kind of like the backroom at the Mayberry Courthouse. Nothing fancy about it at all. I worked full time at a local grocery store to subsidize my practice. I worked the graveyard shift from midnight till eight in the morning. I would drive to my little office and get a little sleep and open up at ten in the morning.
I would close up shop at high noon, eat lunch and catch a nap. I would reopen my little office at about four in the afternoon and work till about eight at night. Then, catch a little shut-eye and then get ready to go to work at my grocery store job, stocking the shelves.
It all caught up with me. I became physically, emotionally and mentally drained. I got very sick. I closed the doors to my little office for a little while, took a leave of absence from the grocery store and drove on up north to Lincoln Park. At the time I didn’t know it, but it was the ending of my days of being a chiropractor in that little town in West Virginia.
Adding to the stress of working so hard, I had met and dated this wonderful young lady. But, I think that she had an idea that I was going to be rolling in the dough. And, all that I was doing was struggling financially. I drove an old Ford Galaxy. And, really never had the money to take this young lady out to the movies and to fancy restaurants. The bottom line is this: plain and simple, she broke up with me after dating her for about seven months or so. I was heart broken.
I came home to Lincoln Park. I saw the sincerity in my father’s eyes, as he fulfilled his role as Scoutmaster of Troop 170. I felt the love and concern that my mother had for me. I saw the joy, splendor and innocence that abounded in my sister’s heart.
I remember that I got my hair cut by Steve in his quaint and charming barber shop. I visited Mr. Marino at the newspaper office of the old Lincoln Park Herald. I heard Reverend Duitsman give a sermon at the dear old little church. I needed to heal. Some quiet, gentle, loving voice called me home.
In many ways, I failed. In many ways, I succeeded.
Education is never wasted. I learned a lot about how the human body works. I went on to have a fairly successful career as a writer. For a while, I owned my own small town weekly newspaper. For five years of my life, I hosted a weekly television talk show, which was broadcast throughout the state of New Jersey. I worked for several years as a writer of in-house publications for an international telecommunications company. I worked for several years as a copywriter for an ad agency.
In many ways, I failed. In many ways, I succeeded.
Still, I hold dearly the accomplishment of graduating in the first graduating class of Sherman College of Chiropractic.