by Gregory J. Knight
(Melvillle, NY 11747)
I was a 3 year old boy who learned to water ski. My parents had the faith in me and took their valuable time to teach me to water ski at an incredibly young age. Weighing about 60 lbs with an orange adult size life jacket, strapped into huge light blue adult water skis with a navy stripe down the middle, the little row boat with a 2hp outboard motor took off and I stood tall. I also learned to catch fish at about the same age and I heard I asked my grandfather some pretty interesting questions about the moon, the sun and space at this age as well.
I note this age and time, because it is about the farthest I remember back clearly in my life time. From where I stand now, I can see that I began to realize that many things were possible that many other people believed were impossible. Nothing is impossible as far as I am concerned, where there is a will (desire and faith) there is a way.
My childhood was interesting. I grew up in queens NY and at the age of 10 I moved to Long Island NY. In queens, I did average boy stuff, built wooden go karts with friend to ride down the bridge, used, broke and fixed remote control cars, and played in the park with friends.
When I moved to Long Island, I noticed immediately that not all people believed the same things, or thought the same way. In queens, all the kids I knew traveled the neighborhood on their own at the age of 10, stayed out late and were pretty independant. Long Island was exactly opposite. The kids I met were sheltered and waited for a parent to help them cross a street where one car passed every 3 hours. My good friends ended up being about 14 and 15.
This move hardened me at a young age. I was harassed every day for several years until I learned to defend myself and stick up for what I believed in. I owe that to my father that told me valuable stories from his child hood that made it clear, the world responds to what you believe with confidence and conviction.
From here, I will fast forward through my middle ages. I met a great kid on Long Island that intoduced me to the art of trading. We traded everthig from baseball cards to boats and cars. MY parents bought me a used skateboard for my 11th birthday for $100. I traded the skateboard for a bicycle, the bicycle for a moped, the moped for a dirtbike and the dirtbike for a VW Bug Convertible by age 15.
My mother was so upset when I first traded the skateboard, but my friends mom thought that trading was the best thing ever for us to learn value. Her words helped my mother understand and therfore allowed me to learn and grow without pressure. Well at least not irrational pressure.
Now I understood that the value of an item was not physical, it was mental. How could a skateboard be worth a running driving VW Bug unless it was each of our perception due to circimstance about what was important at the time. I mean to most people a car would be more valuable, but may be not Tony Hawk, the pro skater that litteraly changed the world with his talent and time taken to edjucate in that industry.
At this stage, I began to read from the library, every piece of information that related to my personal interests in life. I had a broken 2 hp motor, actually the one that I learned to water ski behind about 13 years prior, and I was determined to make her breathe again. I saved newspaper route money to buy parts and read the manual from the library front to back.
Within a few weeks, I did a complete motor overhaul and had the motor running again. Here, I learned the power of reading. To me, that library housed the heart to one of the most monumental pieces of machinery that I encountered in my life. She lives! And so did I.
Now I litteraly did not think about the future, boy was that a painless time. I lived one day at a time and took every day for what it was worth. That mentality eventually passed with age and I needed to focus on my future.
In high school, I was a C+ to B student. I focused on my personal happiness and put the time into school, necessary to uphold decsent grades. I did not understand why some would put excessive time into gaining public school book knowledge while they would miss out on important street knowledge and the power that exsisted within the library.
My friends slowly went off to colleges where they dormed and built a whole new life. I knew my parents did not have the money to outright pay for me at an out of state school, so I did not push the issue.
I went to a local community 2 yr college which took me 3 yars to graduate from. I did get an assciates degree in Liberal Arts, but where did that leave me. It felt like 3 years older and still empty handed!
From there I went on to SUNY Stony Brook and took my math and science classes, but was exhaused from working a full time job from 6am as a life guard at a gym and leaving there at 3pm to go to school. My bio class ended at 11pm and I would fall asleep in my car on the side of the road almost every night, because I could not keep my eyes open the entire 45 min ride home each night.
I tried, pre dental at Stony Brook, aeronautical science at Farmingdale College, where I had the opportunity to fly small airplanes for a short while, also elecrical engineering. No major held my interest. I eventually postponed college and living at home, started selling items in the news paper
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