For those of you who follow this blog, you are probably already aware of the original 80 Journal Writing Prompts, the 50 More Journal Writing prompts, and most recently, the entire list of 130 Journal Writing Prompts. Recently, I decided to take a small selection of questions and asked my father to write out and send me his answers as an interview of sorts.
What is the most amazing thing you ever seen, heard or experienced?
Undoubtedly the birth of my son Thomas. To me witnessing the actual event was astonishing and exciting. I was not naïve but amazed that at age 64 I had fathered a child, maybe not a record, but it was a record for me.
If you can tell the world just one thing what would you say?
The universe is the most beautiful creation: enjoy it.
Describe your first car.
The first automobile I bought and owned was a black 1937 Ford Phaeton. The car was a convertible with the top rolling down to provide open air for six people. It was the most beautiful car I ever owned and wish I still owned it.
Name one thing that has always fascinated you.
I was taught by my mother to adore the female of the specie, that they were smart; competent, when given a chance of an equal education. And most importantly, the procreator of the race. The ladies have always fascinated me. Of course as far as work is concerned, physics would rank high.
What is your biggest ambition in life?
Ambitions and goals change as one matures and copes with the necessities of survival. As one matures and grows up these ambitions or accomplishments change. At this moment, (at age 96 and counting) I would like to see my family secure and settled comfortably.
Name something you lost or gave away that can never be replaced.
I once lost a chance for a scholarship because I was too shy and too frightened to stand up for my right to tell the true story.
What are your religious beliefs? Have they changed or stayed the same?
They definitely have changed with the time and the accumulation of knowledge and experience. Today I am inclined to believing in Hinduism according to the teachings of the Buddha. I do not subscribe to reincarnation, the resurrection, or an afterlife. I favor a more scientific approach that when one ceases to live, the body disintegrates and the end is complete and final.
Name your most cherished childhood memory.
I relish my learning to read at the age of three or four. Reading is still my greatest enduring pleasure.
Name one thing you always wanted to do, but haven’t. What has prevented you from doing it?
I always wanted to visit China and to really study the Chinese, their culture, their science and their political system, but it was not to be until when it was possible financially and practically, I was too old to physically endure the trip.
What was the worst mistake or decision you have ever made in life> What could you have done differently?
I should have enrolled my son Thomas in Ethical Culture School and insisted that it was the ideal place for him to be educated. Instead I listened to the advice of others. It was a huge blunder with serious consequences.
Write about something you now know that you wish you knew earlier in life. How could this knowledge have helped you?
That truth like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder; that everything you read, see, or hear may not be factual; that much of what we think we know is not true; that we are not as wise as we think we are; that mankind is not the beginning and the end of evolution; the more we know is the realization how little we know or will ever know. It would have made me wiser and more competent in coping with man’s limitations in the acquisition of knowledge.
Write about your greatest fear.
What one fears changes with age and experience. Most children fear the dark. Adults fear loss of income. We all have different fears in life, some never come to pass and some can be lethally frightening. I probably had the common run of fears, but in all honesty I have been able to dismiss their occurence by logical and realistic approaches in analyzing their origin and likelihood. It isn’t that some may occur but that suffering under the illusion of fears is helpful in avoiding them. Being a scared-cat is foolish.
Describe your first job.
My first job came in the height of the Great Depression when jobs were very hard to get. My job was attaching connections to Mackinaw Jackets. I worked six days a week and earned $7 plus my lunch on Saturdays. I was a teenager.
What is the one thing you cannot life without?
A woman, my wife.
Who did you idolize growing up?
Without question, Albert Einstein.