“Where Do I Fit In Here!?”

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Happy Monday, All!

Thanks for reading these e-mails and demonstrating interest as well as support in my efforts, neither of which are obligatory!! So, I thank each of you!

Have you ever asked yourself this question: “What am I doing here?” OR “Where and/or how do I fit in here?” Those are some serious questions that come up every now and then as we change say, schools or communities, jobs, and churches … even for personal services that some of us need or like be it a doctor’s visit or a massage therapist or manicurist! As I think back over the years, each time a situation came up that involved change, like going from a public “junior high school” to an all boys private Episcopalian boarding school … in Concord, NH, I remember very vaguely how I got through it!! It seemed light years away from home during my early adolescent years growing up in White Plains, NY. So, how did “I” make the transition?!? I don’t know … I am not sure even today!!

All I know is that when I ended up in the single dormitory room at “Corner House”, I had the bare minimums, including a “close and play” record player that only played “45RPM” discs!! Now, I had some khaki pants, the school required “Penny Loafers”, a couple pairs of sneakers either Converse or ProKeds … maybe even “Big A’s” named for the popular department store back then in New York called “Alexander’s” … a couple of ties, both real and clip on, a sports jacket, some collared shirts … and a desire to succeed!! What else did I need?!? I didn’t know! I was an African American teen-aged boy from a low income neighborhood apartment complex in a suburb of New York City attending an all boys boarding school! How should I know?!? How did my parents know … or did they?!? My father’s favorite saying was, “You didn’t get a scholarship to go there to find people who like you, you are there to get a top notch education, boy!”

I guess you could say I “pulled out that message” when times got tough, but the truth of the matter is that I found like-minded “new boys” … just like myself! My Creator also placed caring adults in our paths so that we could receive the guidance and tutelage that our parent(s) may have provided in such a new and different environment. Some of the friends I made there are for me, “friends for life”. People like Jose St. Elmo Wiltshire out of Brooklyn; Kevin “Billy” Gover from Oklahoma; Larry T. Woody from Baltimore; Kenny Williams and Ed Shockley out of Philadelphia; and there were more kids with nick names like “Shivs” from Winston-Salem and “Ooobs” from Pittsburgh, not to mention the brothers Charlie and Mike Nelson also from Pittsburgh. We had Steven Isaacs playing hockey at St. Paul’s – this kid was out of Harlem and earned the nick name “Soul on Ice”! We made the most of it … we found each other … we found adults involved in sports like Coach and athletic director Maurice Blake who cared about our physical and emotional development. We found teachers like Rich Lederer and Sr. Rafael Fuster from Spain and Sr. Ordonez from Cuba!! In my case, through our interactions and involvement with a new environment, I found spirituality, too! There were many other “kids”, both boys and later even girls, from “other” backgrounds who welcomed us and made our time there a bit more comfortable! Thanks to all of them!

I kept the faith … my parents prayed for me … and the Creator put things into place! So if you are ever wondering “Where do I fit in here?”, put the best foot forward and follow through, being the best “you” that you can be. Work hard on your opportunities, keep a positive attitude and “Know Thyself”!

Have a great week!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John Petroshus
    Sep 16, 2016 @ 01:26:05

    It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of Jose St. Elmo Wilthsire. My name is John Petroshus and I live in Tucson AZ and Jose was a very dear friend of mine. I consider him my brother. I purchased your book today and found out about you doing a search of Jose on the Internet. He will be greatly missed.

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    • excelwitheducationalexcellence
      Sep 16, 2016 @ 17:54:48

      John, you are a person whom Wiltshire obviously spent quality time with as well. I think you and his friends in AZ are doing a fantastic tribute for a fantastic guy. I appreciate your kindness very much as Jose St. Elmo is bringing together a lot of folks who loved him … and still do. Namaste, my new brother!

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      • John Petroshus
        Sep 16, 2016 @ 19:13:19

        thank you for replying and i read your daily blog today and it finally hit me been in a state of shock the last 24 hours. signed up for updates and look forward to reading your blog posts and your book.

        Like

  2. excelwitheducationalexcellence
    Sep 18, 2016 @ 20:00:32

    Thank you, John … thanks!

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    Reply

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