“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” 

The day is warm and sunny, in the mid 60’s, though rain is predicted. I got up early, unusual for me, but I had an appointment at the hospital to check out pain in my leg. It took a couple of hours. As soon as I got home, I grabbed another cup of coffee and took off my out of the house clothes. I’m back to being cozy and comfortable.

When I was a kid, I followed the campaign of John Kennedy for president. It was the very first time I was interested in politics, and it was because Kennedy was my senator, and he was a Catholic. I read the newspapers and followed the polls. I stopped at his election headquarters uptown for pins which I still have on display. I watched the debates. For some reason I remember the controversy about Quemoy-Matsu. Maybe it was the names of the islands themselves. There is a bit of the lyrical about them. Maybe it was the map showing the islands and their closeness to China. I remember I didn’t really understand the strategy, the politics, of it all as that was the first time I had ever heard of the two islands. It was also the last time.

The day after the election I was thrilled to find John Kennedy had beaten Richard Nixon and would be our next president. I watched the inauguration. I remember odd things about it. Kennedy and Eisenhower wore top hats. I thought they looked Abraham Lincolnish, maybe even a bit silly. I remember Robert Frost reading one of his poems and having difficulty in the sun. I don’t remember the inaugural speech, but I do remember Kennedy’s hands punctuating his words in the air. The “Ask not…” part of his speech was the most quoted. It would be one of the reasons I joined the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps, early on, was advertised on television as PSA’s commercials. The toughest job you’ll ever love became a Peace Corps slogan. I watched each time one was on knowing, with certainty, I would be going. I was in the eighth grade for the election and was a freshman in high school when I was first interested on the Peace Corps. I remember my father watching the Peace Corps ads and saying,” After four years of college, what a waste of two years. Who would do that?” I sat there saying nothing, but in my head, I was thinking, “I would.”

Growing up, I had two dreams, two promises, I held on to for years. The first I made in the sixth grade when I vowed to travel the world, to out-travel Marty Barrett. The second, to join the Peace Corps, I made in the eighth grade. Both dreams came true years later. How lucky my life has been.

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6 Comments on ““Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” ”

  1. Bob Says:

    ,Hi Kat,

    Today is a repeat of yesterday’s weather. Sunday evening on my way home I accidentally ran over a traffic cone that was in the middle of my lane going 65 MPH. When I hit the thing it made a loud noise. The car drove fine until yesterday when I was going home from work. I heard a loud noise outside the left door. I pulled over and discovered that the cone had loosened up and destroyed the rubber inner liner of the front left wheel well. I have to take the car to the dealership and have it replaced. As Gilda Radner’s character used to say on Saturday Night Live, “It’s always something”. 🙂

    My dream since I was seven or eight was to become an airline pilot. I never gave up on it and spent years trying to figure out how to accomplish my dream. I never made it to the major airlines or even regional airlines and I probably would have chosen the ones who are now out of business. I also discovered that teaching was more rewarding and interesting than flying trips. After a few years flying around the country, I decided that one airport looks just like another, and one hotel room looks like another. Being the bus driver is like being the chauffeur.

    Like you I followed the 1960 election closely even though I was too young to vote. I knew that Nixon was a crook and in the end everyone else discovered that fact.

    Here’s a quote from Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech in 2005.

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Wow! That was weird destruction to your car. I had the same thing happen to me after riding over a cone, but the cone just got stuck to the undercarriage. I guess that was lucky. I hope the damage isn’t costly.

      You did well anyway with your dream. You got to fly all over the country until you got your fill, and your career has been centered around flying. I’m glad you found out how much you enjoy teaching. I came to the same feeling about teaching after my two years in Ghana. I was going to go to law school.

      We were really far away from voting when Kennedy ran for president. I, and I assume you, had to wait until we were twenty-one. My first voting election was Humphrey/Nixon in 1968.

      I love, love, love this quote.Thank you!!!

  2. William Says:

    I have been interested in Peace across since 10th grade high school. We had an after-school speaker who was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who sparked a fire in me. The rest is history.
    Today we were in Windsor VT at the American Precision Museum. Later at Simon Pearce factory outlet we met an older couple from Dennis who were vacationing in the area. She is from England and last name of Talbott. She said their son had had some interaction with you during his high school years. Maybe you know them.

    • katry Says:

      I probably would have figured out you meant Corps.

      I heard an RPCV speak when I was a junior in college, but I had known for years I would apply. He cemented my decision.

      Years back I went to Quechee and did some great shopping at the Simon Pearce shop and outlet. I had first bought his stuff in Ireland in a shop in Killarney then after he came here, he got quite expensive so I didn’t buy as much. I do have several pieces.

      I don’t remember them. I wonder what interactions we had as I was in charge of discipline!

  3. William Says:

    Peace Corps, not across.

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