My parents, and my career choices

Did we HAVE scheduled meetings with guidance counselors?

les-trudyMy good friend Carol, who I’ve only known since kindergarten, has some follow-up questions about the Lydster’s career choices, which were really about My career choices.

Two questions based on this… why did you not go into law?

Because I did very poorly in a pre-law course at New Paltz. I loved the subject, but Bill Dunn didn’t love my answers. Or maybe it was because it was an 8 a.m. course and I was late sometimes. This failure threw me into a tizzy, because that was my intended life path, and then I had NO idea what I wanted to pursue.

Do you wish your parents had made more suggestions, not along the lines of pushing as much as of possibilities?

Not really, because it just wasn’t in their skill sets. My mother was not one to push us, because that was not her nature in much of anything. She was a “go along to get along” type.

She was very good with numbers and was a bookkeeper or teller for most of her adult life. But she didn’t really think of it as a skill much as, say, her husband arranging flowers or playing guitar or painting or doing all sorts of things. I dare say that he could be a bit intimidating.

For his part, my father, according to his military record, had only three years of high school. I think that part of the friction that I had with him was that I was not very good at working with my hands, the things he excelled in. But I was book smart – would you accept that analysis, Carol? – and he was not as adept, but figured things out as he went along. He was outwardly gregarious, and that wasn’t me.

We did have some areas in common: watching sports together, especially the minor league baseball Triplets and the NY football Giants; playing cards, particularly pinochle and bid whist; and most especially, thank goodness, music.

So he was not likely to offer me career advice because, and I say this without a lot of remorse, he wasn’t always understanding me very much at that time. He certainly didn’t grok what motivated me, and this became even more acutely true in my early twenties when we didn’t talk, at all, for nearly six months, before I relented. This is odd in some ways because my antiwar, and other, activism was molded in no small part by his civil rights activism.

I said two but here’s a third – do you think as I do that our HS counselors were useless?

I actually have no recollection of ANY HS guidance counseling whatsoever, except one passing conversation with Allan Cave, who was the assistant principal at the time, and that only because I knew him from church. Did we HAVE scheduled meetings with guidance counselors, because if we did, I never received the memo?

Just as an aside you wrote about a few math/science awards Lydia received but there’s no mention of any options related to those. Is she just not interested?

Actually, it has determined what level courses she has in 7th grade, and that could lead to courses she could take in 8th grade that could get her high school credit. So it puts her on a more rigorous academic track in several subjects than she might be otherwise.

 

The Lydster: Her career choices

barbara-jordan_congressI saved this Ask Roger Anything question, from Chris, until now:

Do you feel like you’re pushing your daughter towards certain career choices or letting her choose, or both? Do you think you’d be supportive of a career where it would be difficult for her to make a living, e.g. actress or musician?

Oh goodness, no. That’s a function of her needing to figure out what she wants to do. And honestly, I don’t have a strong sense of something I want her to do. I suppose I don’t want her to do something that involves a lot of danger.

Thinking about some of the things she has tried out:

Ballet – did it for two or three years, decided it wasn’t for her. But the lessons she learned have been useful, and she still likes to choreograph her own moves.

Soccer – she did youth soccer for three or four seasons, decided it wasn’t for her. So I was a bit surprised that she signed up for modified youth soccer this fall. What she learned before has come in handy.

Playing clarinet – her mother played, and she seemed to enjoy it. Moreover, I thought she got to be rather good at it, but she suddenly dropped it a couple of years ago. I was surprised when she pulled it out once this past summer. Maybe she’ll go back to it, maybe she won’t.

Things she’s interested in currently:

Art – she’s quite good at it, and she received some local awards for it. She DOES agonize over her work, though.

Clothing design – She’s been taking old clothes, cutting them up, stitching them together. Well not so much in the school year, but it was a business she wanted to look into this past summer.

Law – right now, she says she wants to be a lawyer. She sees injustice on the news on TV and wants to fix it. I wanted to be a lawyer for a time, so that would be fine.

One of the things that seems constant in this narrative is that everything learned has value. Maybe it won’t be applied directly, but it won’t go to waste.

Would I discourage her from a career path that might be difficult? No, and frankly, it would not have occurred to me. Now that I think of it, neither of my late parents EVER said, “you ought to do” X for a living. My father had a varied career, and I doubt it would have occurred to HIM. My mom was easygoing about those things, as long as we were happy and not involved in some criminal activity.

 

August rambling #1: Dystopian Reader

Tony Bennett is 90!

WORLD PEAS
WORLD PEAS

Alan David Doane’s new blog The Dystopian Reader; see, in particular, the lead story here

Arthur@AmeriNZ’s political notebook #1 and #2 because otherwise this post would be filled with these links.

The Latest Beaverkill Sinkhole, On South Lake Avenue in Albany

Please read this before you post another RIP on social media

Why George W. Bush stood there and took the wrath of a soldier’s mom

Donald Trump: stop calling him crazy, even as his Assassination Dog Whistle Was Even Scarier Than You Think; NBC’s Katy Tur: My crazy year with Trump

DJT Parody: Trump tore into the media for what he called their “extremely unfair practice” of reporting the things he says and he would only use nuclear weapons in a sarcastic way and Robert Crumb and friends flush him down the toilet (1989)

No, the Pope did NOT endorse Hillary Clinton

Survey Reveals a Startling Truth About White Christians

ESPN’s John Saunders, RIP at age 61

1968 Olympics: The White Man in That Photo

Goodbye to ‘Honeys’ in Court, by Vote of American Bar Association

If Walls Could Talk: Albany’s Historic Architecture: Myers Residence

Western New York Love Letter: Adventures in the 716

The Jedi religion of Australia

Kliph Nesteroff interviews writer Merrill Markoe about the ’70s Laugh-In revival, which introduced Robin Williams to American TV

A great Stan Freberg story

Buck O’Neil for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2020

Godfather of Gore H.G. Lewis to host a marathon of his splatter classics – I met him once, nice guy

Obits: Kenny Baker, 81; played R2-D2 in ‘Star Wars’ and David Huddleston, 85, ‘Big Lebowski’ actor and Emmy-Winning Stage and Screen Star Fyvush Finkel Dies at 93

What is Bulldada? What is NOT?

Air Canada to start charging for emotional baggage in 2017

They Have A Word for It

Now I Know: The Man Who Bounced Around A Bit and The Thin Red Deer Line and A Moist Upsetting Word

these are difficult times
Derrick Boudwin and retinitis pigmentosa: Ever Dimming Room

Tony Bennett is 90!

Chuck Miller: The Monks’ “Black Monk Time” is an Album I Want to Be Buried With

Playing for Change: Fumaza | Live Outside

Coverville 1136: The 50th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles’ Revolver

The Beatles: A New Video For While My Guitar Gently Weeps (LOVE version)

Several versions of Up The Ladder To The Roof

Glenn Yarbrough, Folk Singer With the Limeliters, Dies at 86 Glenn Yarbrough, Folk Singer With the Limeliters, Dies at 86

Obscure Winnipeg band reverberates on eBay a half-century later

The Atlantic: The Electric Surge of Miles Davis

Google alert (me)

My buddy Eddie Mitchell, the Renaissance Geek wrote nice things about me, and Smilin’ Ed. Not incidentally, the Smilin’ Ed book of collected stories and additional stuff is available from Amazon. I do believe it is the first book for which I have a credit.

Google Alert (not me)

The Lubbock ISD Ag Farm has received a donation of over 15 goats after the dog attacks that killed 10 more of their goats Monday morning.

“This is the agriculture community coming together,” Ag farm manager Roger Green said. “They will all jump in to help you out.”

Reflecting on the movie “12 Angry Men”

We ought to have the trial anyway, even though “everybody knows” he or she is guilty.

Have you seen the 1957 movie, 12 Angry Men? I highly recommend it. It was nominated for three Oscars: Best Picture, produced by Henry Fonda and Reginald Rose; Best Director, Sidney Lumet; and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Reginald Rose.

The Golden Globes nominated the film, the director, lead actor Fonda, and supporting actor Lee J.Cobb. “A dissenting juror in a murder trial [played by Fonda] slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.”

Had a chance to watch it again this summer. I was doing apheresis at the blood bank which takes two hours, and this DVD, which I got for free about eight years ago by mailing some coupons from a Cheerios box, fit the bill at 95 minutes.

I was struck again by the racial/class issues. The defendant, who we see only at the very beginning of the film, with the judge’s charge to the jury, is young (18), Hispanic, and from a troubled neighborhood. The jury seems to think the case is a slam dunk, and quickly votes 11-1 to send the young man to his death. But as the Fonda character talks, he gets a second supporter. Immediately one juror thinks it’s the juror from the slums (played by Jack Klugman), but it’s not.

This film also starred Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall (who I know best from the 1960s lawyer show The Defenders, which also had a huge impact on me), Edward Binns , Joseph Sweeney, Ed Begley, George Voskovec (whose character has the best speech about the obligations of a jury) and Robert Webber.

The Fonda character, and his eventual allies, make observations about the inconsistencies in the testimonies, something a decent defense lawyer might have done. The young man, though, apparently had a court-appointed attorney who was going through the motions.

The film has always informed me or reinforced in me, several issues. 1) People with means generally have better legal representation than poorer folk. 2) We ought to have the trial anyway, even though “everybody knows” he or she is guilty. 3) Because of 1) in particular, I’ve long opposed the death penalty. 4) Because of 2), I wish we had more of a limit on pretrial and trial scuttlebutt.

Incidentally, there was a TV movie of 12 Angry Men in 1997, with a cast including recent Tony winner Courtney B. Vance; Ossie Davis; George C. Scott in the Cobb role; Armin Mueller-Stahl; Dorian Harewood in the Klugman role; the late James Gandolfini; Tony Danza; Jack Lemmon in the Fonda role; Hume Cronyn; Mykelti Williamson; Edward James Olmos; and William Petersen. I feel I should check it out soon, now that the original is fresh in my mind.

The Lydster, Part 101: The Litigator

If she doesn’t become a librarian, like her father and maternal grandfather, maybe she’ll become an attorney.


The Daughter needs to join the debate team at school if it has one. I’ll say I NEED to cut the grass, she’ll say, “No, you WANT to cut the grass,” which I will dispute. But then she’ll say, you WANT the neighbors not to complain.

We’ve had similar conversations about going to school. Since she LIKES school, it’s something that she WANTS to do. I might say, “That may be true, but even if you didn’t like it, you’d HAVE to go.”

We end up agreeing that she wouldn’t HAVE to go, but would suffer the consequences of the truant officer calling or visiting.

Do I NEED to go to work? Well, no, although being able to pay for food and the mortgage IS something I WANT to do.

If she doesn’t become a librarian, like her father and maternal grandfather, maybe she’ll become an attorney, who can argue either side of the case.
***
The Daughter had TWO dance recitals in June. The first was step, at her school – think STOMP, not Michael Flatley. The second was ballet at UAlbany. She’s always nervous, but she always does well.