It was the winter of 1967 and I was 16 years old. I’d just obtained a driver’s this year when I turned 16 and within a month of turning 16 and getting my driver’s license I purchased my first car.
Mine did not look nearly this good … is was a pale yellow with rust all over it. As you can see there was plenty of room in that long trunk for multiple sets of golf clubs … but I did not play golf at the time, so the only thing back there was a flat spare tire.
I remember it was really cold on this day. My brother and I were allowed to take the old car to school. We lived on the 3100 block of South Cicero Ave in Cicero, IL and our school was located on the corner of 24th Street and 59th Ct. in Cicero Il. The distance for the route we took was about 2.3 miles and would normally – if we caught the lights perfect – take about 9 to 10 minutes to drive.
Mom and Dad both had to work and both had to leave the house before we left. Therefore until I got my car … this was our normal walk to and from school everyday. Back then the only other form of transportation would have been public buses since this school did not have school buses. We could have taken bicycles, but feared they would be stolen while we were in school since there was no bike rack to lock them to.
On this particular morning in January we got up to a temperature of about 15 degrees with a windchill (we were not far from the big windy city of Chicago – like right across the street) 0 degrees. It was snowing and school had not been cancelled. I went out to start the old Ford up and guess what … it would not start … it just groaned. This means we had no choice but to either walk to school or cut school. Since we were both in this school because we got kicked out of the last one for cutting school … we chose to walk. I mean it is not like we had not done it before.
But, damn, it was cold. We got about half way to school and I remember my brother, up to this point, had been cussing me because my old junky car would not start … like it was my fault the water in the battery froze up. Then for the next quarter of a mile or so we cussed momma and daddy because they did not have enough money to buy me a better car. I don’t know why we blamed them … they were not driving much better and always told us that if we had a car we would have to work and earn the money to get one for ourselves. I bought the damned thing … it was not their fault, of course.
Once we finally got to the school and put out overcoats and rubber boots into our lockers we turned to each other … shook hands and made a deal before he headed for his freshman classes on the first floor and I headed for my sophomore classes on the second. We promised each other that we would not end up in life broke – no matter what it took. We were going to have some money and buy the things we wanted to buy when we wanted to buy them.
That, was the seed that we planted in our brains that day. We had no idea then how to get to the point we wanted to get to … we just knew what that point was. Call it a dream … but I think it was much more. We meant business. Or, did the temperature just cause a brain freeze?
We both graduated high school and both joined the Army. We felt that perhaps since high school did not promise much direction in life the Army potentially would … and I think it did.
We both got out of the army and for a while “worked for the man” for a few years. Ed, attended college on the GI Bill and studied – of all things – political science. I used my GI Bill to attend Chicago Vocational School to get my license to work in the aviation industry on Aircraft. Needless to say … Ed did little with his political science degree and I did nothing with my A&P (airframe and powerplant) License. However, we still had a seed of prosperity growing in our feeble little minds.
While Ed was in college I worked for the railroad. When Ed got out of college he worked for Service Master Corporate. I soon left the railroad “working for the man” and went to work as an “Independent Contractor” for Investors Diversified Services (IDS) which is now Ameriprise Financial. I was on straight commission … not salary plus commission … so if I did not sell anything I did not eat, nor did my family. Ed left the corporate offices of Service Master Corporate and purchased a Service Master Franchise in Lincoln Nebraska that was on the verge of bankruptcy.
There were various times in our business life where we both came close to bankruptcy. My paychecks were wild from a positive $2,000 or $3,000 for a two week period to a minus $8,000 for a two week period. I remember by boss actually buying groceries and bringing them to my family on more than one occasion. Company policy would not allow him to loan me money or pay my bills … but there was nothing wrong with him buying me as many meals as he wanted to … or going to the bank to negotiate more time on my mortgage before the bank foreclosed on my home.
Ed, I am sure, had some of the same problems early in his business career, though he was not the kind to talk about them.
However, we both had the same seed of prosperity growing within us. A few years into my business career I read a book entitled “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. In this book Mr. Hill talks about people becoming what they think about. Kind of like the Bible when it says, “Whatever a man soweth, so shall he reap.” In other words if you think about something long enough to actually believe you can achieve it … the brain will put you in circumstances so that you can. The human brain is a wonderful thing … in my opinion … God’s greatest gift to mankind.
Now I have read this book probably 5 or 6 times in my life (and am reading it again now) and still can’t quote you versus from it like Ed can who may have actually read in once. He has an advantage over me … he has a photographic memory. He sees something once and remembers it forever almost word for word. However, he cannot write so that is why he asked me to write this story for you.
In the book and in the chapter called DESIRE, Mr. Hill says the following:
“There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be belief not mere hope or wish. Remember, no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty. A great poet has correctly stated this universal truth in these lines:”
So about half way through our twenties, Ed and I decided to not waste time on misery and poverty and to focus on abundance and prosperity. We did not end up the richest old misers in the universe … but, for now, we are comfortable.
Ed Retired at 55 – then went back to work (he says until age 70). He does not have to work … he chooses to work. Actually, to him it is play. I retired at 66 and plan to spend the rest of my life doing what I want to do for me and my wife. Writing these short stories and gifting them to the world for now is one of my favorite things to do. Another is to get on the computer each morning to make sure the small sum I accumulated during my working years is still working for me and growing to larger sums. That has not been easy over the past 6 months or so … but I have faith all that will change soon.
The bible refers to true belief as faith. I think it is in Hebrews that gives us the greatest lessons on Faith. Verse 1 states: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)” I heard one preacher say, “Faith is calling those things that are not as though they were. Not as though they will be … but as though they already were.” In Napoleon Hill’s Book he likens faith to the law of auto-suggestion.
He says, “If you fill your mind with fear, doubt and unbelief in your ability to connect with and use the forces of Infinite Intelligence, the law of ‘auto-suggestion’ will take this spirit of unbelief and use it as a pattern by which your subconscious will translate it into its physical equivalent. Like the wind that will take one ship east and another ship west the law of auto-suggestion will lift you up or pull you down according to the way you set your sales of thought.” This is well described in the following verse.
So, on a cold day in January when my brother and I were forced to walk to school. On a day we could have frozen to death had we not argued and jumped around to keep our bodies warm while walking over 2 miles to school (and we still had to come back home the same way) … we formed a train of thought without really knowing what was happening at the time. We had faith in that little seed we planted.
Our lives could have taken much different directions down some roads that I hate to think about … and almost did. We have talked about it and there are many times we both wanted to just throw our hands up and quit trying to achieve … but we didn’t. Something would not let us. I believe that something was the law of auto-suggestion and that little seed of abundance we planted in our minds on that cold January Morning in 1967.
That’s all I have for now. I hope you have enjoyed this story as much as I have enjoyed looking back and remembering the event as I was writing about it. If you would like to order “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, please click on this link to Amazon. For those who prefer the Kindle Edition or the Audible Edition they have that as well.
In closing … Plant the right seeds in your mind and you will be amazed at what life has to offer you.
Jerry Nix, FreeWaveMaker, LLC