Stories to lift your spirits

Posted by John, Volunteer Mentor @johnbishop, Apr 17, 2019

Ex Sailors love to tell stories. Some are stories and some are sea stories which evolve as they are told over the years ☺ I was inspired to start this discussion by @usmccam who created the artwork for me (THANK YOU!) after reading a post I made with an attached story. I have been fortunate to be a member of the Pine Island Toastmasters Club in Pine Island, Minnesota which helped me evolve and taught me how to be a better speaker…well, better than what I was anyway.

I would like to start the ball rolling by sharing one of my earlier stories/speeches a from a few years ago.

The Road to Recovery

My name is John…I am a CAR-A-HOLIC.

My road to recovery has been a long struggle. It all started with my first new car. I was young and impressionable. I had a great job with IBM and I had money-to-burn…meaning “no kids”! Then it happened. I saw my first love. A 1967 Pontiac GTO. It was beautiful…pearl white with coral blue interior.

I LOVED THAT CAR!

Then reality set it. First, I found out that GTO stood for Gas, Tires, and Oil. Next, it fell victim to a neighborhood hit and run accident. After getting an estimate to have it fixed, I pulled up to an on ramp for the Harbor Freeway and seconds later heard the squealing sound of tires behind me…just in time to grab the steering wheel and hang on. A flower delivery van had pushed the trunk all the way to rear wheels. Try explaining the second accident to the insurance agent when the first one wasn’t even fixed yet. What a day that was. It was never the same after the accident. After the GTO I went through several new cars but they were just cars if you know what I mean.

Then it happened again! I fell in love again! With visions of being able to leap large boulders and cross deep creeks in the outback, I bought a 1970 Toyota Landcruiser. It was red beauty. It even came with it’s own metric tool kit for a real emergency. I was ready for the great outdoors! I even added an AM/FM radio as an option.

I LOVED THAT CAR!

It was a short relationship. She had only 6000 miles on her when I dumped her. No way I’m keeping a car when I can’t hear the radio driving at 55 MPH. I went through several more loves until it happened again.

I found another love. A 1972 Chevy Blazer. It had everything…lockout hubs, 4 on the floor, skid plates, 2 batteries. Bring on the outdoors. I was ready!

I LOVED THAT TRUCK!

It didn’t take me long to plan a back packing trip in the Sierras with my best friend. Our trip went as planned. We found some old logging roads into a remote area. We crossed a couple of creeks and finally reached the end of the trail only to find a Volkswagen Bus parked in the opening. Can you imagine how I felt! So much for needing 4 wheel drive.

A few years and a few more new cars later, I felt my youth slipping away. I was almost 40 and never had a sports car. I told my financial manager…I want a sports car! Boy was she a tough sell but being the salesman I am and convincing her that I spend a gazillion hours a week in my car for work, she broke down and gave her approval. And there I was…on the prowl for the coolest sports car in Aberdeen, South Dakota. It didn’t take me long to find a brand spanking new 1975 ½ Datsun 260Z. Metallic brown with black interior, 5 speed on the floor…I’m set!

I LOVED THAT CAR!

70, 80, 90, 110…this baby really moved. I spent hours and hours polishing and cleaning her. No way I was going to have a dirty car. One Saturday afternoon I decided to take her out for a spin when I notice something on the trunk lid. Large letters the size of a basketball were scratched on the trunk. The closer I got, the madder I got. W – A – D – E. Boy was I hot. I turned around and went back into the house looking for my 5 year old son…by the way his name is Wade. I confronted him and asked him how his name got on Dad’s sports car. His reply was quick – “Suzy made me do it.” Suzy was the 5 year old blonde bombshell that lived across the street and was the neighborhood ringleader. After a brief “calm” discussion with him I decided he should be the one to “fix” it. I got out the rubbing compound, gave him a rag and told him to rub until he doesn’t see his name. I went back to check on him about and hour or so later. Poor kid really looked beat and tired. I decided to let him off the hook with a promise not to ever listen to Suzy again.

The 260Z was my last real love. I’ve had other new cars since then but it’s not the same anymore. Age and no expense checks have mellowed me.

I AM ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY!!

Then along came the 80s and the personal computer.

HONEY, I NEED A COMPUTER!

Somewhere in the back of my mind, the wheels were already spinning. Newer, bigger, better, faster became entrenched in my most inner being. Computers, computers, computers …I couldn’t get them out of my mind.

I LOVE COMPUTERS!

There you have it. The Reader’s Digest condensed story of my life.

My ROAD TO RECOVERY is now the onramp to the INFORMATION SUPER HIGHWAY!
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Do you have an uplifting or entertaining story you would like to tell? We would love to hear it!

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Just Want to Talk group.

@johnbishop

Ronnie @grandmar – you just reminded of one my old time favorites…☺

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What a fun song, @johnbishop. I'm not a big Johnny Cash fan and had not heard that before.

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@retiredteacher

JK Better you than me with grandchildren. I never wanted any and thank goodness I don't have any.
Carol

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@retiredteacher
Carol, As a retired teacher you would have been great with grandchildren. They would have been well read and curious and been very well prepared for kindergarten and first grade!

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@contentandwell

@johnbishop Love it! I tell my husband that he is becoming like the title of the movie, "Grumpy old men".

I love the Valentine story too. I heard someone describe marriage as being like a roller coaster ride. There are ups and down but if you stick out the downs you will be rewarded with the ups. I think that's true but unfortunately too often young people bail out at the first sign of a problem.
JK

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I agree, @contentandwell. If you are seeking continual happiness, marriage is not for you. However, if you have someone who is willing to stay with you through the roller coaster ride, you can make!

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@hopeful33250

@contentandwell You seem to be making an excellent case for life in New England, JK. They may get the hint, especially when they have kids and need Grandma and Grandpa to babysit for them😊

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@hopeful33250 I think if they do at some point decide to move closer to family, it will be closer to her family in SC. She flies home every chance she gets. Her parents were visiting them last weekend, and she is home this weekend! My son is in India for work. I really do not see him as being happy in the southern states though, and SC is pretty different culturally from New England.

@grandmar We have moved once since we had children, from one house to another in the same town. We've been in this house for about 32 years so the thought of moving is daunting. I have always lived in New England, as has my husband. We both grew up in MA, I grew up in a Boston suburb, and he further north of Boston, and then moved to NH.

New England's biggest season is actually fall. People come from all over the country to see the foliage. We call them "leaf-peepers". It really is beautiful then.
JK

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@hopeful33250

@retiredteacher
Carol, As a retired teacher you would have been great with grandchildren. They would have been well read and curious and been very well prepared for kindergarten and first grade!

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@hopeful33250 I appreciate your thinking that I would have been great with grandchildren. However, that is not the case. I was never around little kids, and I was a lousy mother to my own one. I never was a babysitter and think baby showers are silly. There were no babies in the extended family, and my parents always treated me as grown—circumstances demanded this. So my teaching was only older students— seniors in high school and freshmen in college. Little kids make me very nervous.
Carol

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@retiredteacher To each his own this is your choice I don't fault anyone who feels as you do but for me I'm glad I have a grandson I even moved across country to help raise him since they both work Be happy and healthy 🙂

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@retiredteacher

@hopeful33250 I appreciate your thinking that I would have been great with grandchildren. However, that is not the case. I was never around little kids, and I was a lousy mother to my own one. I never was a babysitter and think baby showers are silly. There were no babies in the extended family, and my parents always treated me as grown—circumstances demanded this. So my teaching was only older students— seniors in high school and freshmen in college. Little kids make me very nervous.
Carol

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@retiredteacher That does explain why you would not be comfortable around little ones. It sounds as if you have a life that is good for you!

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@hopeful33250

@grandmar
I was just wondering how your children handled all of those school changes. Did they ever have problems moving from one school district to another?

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I am a former educator so that was always in the back of my mind.
My son was an easy going kid, so nothing appeared to bother him.
My daughter, on the other hand did not and still does not do well with change.
When we moved from Queens to Yorktown Heights, my daughter was 'graduating' elementary school.
She was bused so she did not miss any close friends.
The move was a fairly easy one although she feared if she would make friends.
Not only did she make friends, she is STILL friends with many of them.
The rest of the moves were OK, but the school districts were always better than the last.
My kids were not always involved in our moves.
Several moves were done either when they were in college, grad school, working or getting married.
Ronnie

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@grandmar

I am a former educator so that was always in the back of my mind.
My son was an easy going kid, so nothing appeared to bother him.
My daughter, on the other hand did not and still does not do well with change.
When we moved from Queens to Yorktown Heights, my daughter was 'graduating' elementary school.
She was bused so she did not miss any close friends.
The move was a fairly easy one although she feared if she would make friends.
Not only did she make friends, she is STILL friends with many of them.
The rest of the moves were OK, but the school districts were always better than the last.
My kids were not always involved in our moves.
Several moves were done either when they were in college, grad school, working or getting married.
Ronnie

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@grandmar
It sounds as if they were well adjusted and did well. A real credit to you!

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@hopeful33250

@grandmar
It sounds as if they were well adjusted and did well. A real credit to you!

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@hopeful33250 @grandmar Isn't it wonderful when our kids become grownups and we like the people they are? As I always say, the jury was out for a while, but I'm very happy with the final verdict.
JK

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@contentandwell

@hopeful33250 @grandmar Isn't it wonderful when our kids become grownups and we like the people they are? As I always say, the jury was out for a while, but I'm very happy with the final verdict.
JK

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Amen to that.
As a wish person once said to me….
"Hey, they don't ask me for money and they don't need to live with me. All is good!"

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@hopeful33250

@grandmar
It sounds as if they were well adjusted and did well. A real credit to you!

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Thank you, but I don't know if I can really take the credit.
My kids are pretty personable and never had an issue making friends, although it was something that always worried my daughter.
As for school, my son is quite smart and liked being in school, so adjustments were not too difficult.
My daughter hated school, friends were her life, so it did not matter where she went, as long as she had friends.
Same parents, two VERY different children in so many ways.
However, I must admit, they are both very loving and caring people!
Ronnie (GRANDMAr)

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