Monday, May 4, 2015

Amenuenisis Monday - Howard Matthews' Story Part 22 - Reflection

This is the final installment of my grandfather's story; part family history and part autobiography.  At the end, he looks back.

Howard & Dagmar Matthews - 50th Anniversary Party September 1981
Matthews-Anderson 50th Anniversary Weekend

This, then, is near the end of a story which has encompassed a period of great change, a period that started with simpler things like street cars and steam engines and biggies pulled by horses, and hand-wound phonographs, since superseded by taxicabs, buses, private cars, huge trucks, superhighways, jet airplanes, television, computers, space flights and satellites.

It has been a period of great opportunity for me; a period in which I had the privilege of changing course, getting away from the coal mines, going back to school after a five year gap, going on to college and graduate school, attaining a CPA degree, experiencing living and working in two of the largest cities in our country, seven years with a prestigious international auditing firm in its New York office, fifteen years in the business management of the prestigious University of Chicago, which included travel in the Near East and England and, finally, nineteen years participation in the management and growth of my alma mater, Wesleyan University.

This was not a result of pulling on my own bootstraps. I had much help and support from many others. Nor was it an over-ambitious or deliberate exercise in ladder-climbing. Rather, it was my good fortune to have been prepared by education and experience to accept opportunities as they appeared.

What remains is an assessment. Was it worthwhile? It was, certainly, to have returned to school, for that made me aware of an entirely new world and gave me access to it and its benefits, many of which I might not have enjoyed otherwise. Yes, for me personally, professionally and socially, all that I put into it has been worthwhile. I can only hope that along the way I have made significant contributions to others, but that is for others to judge. That hope is better expressed in these verses of our Eclectic hymn, composed by Stephen Henry Olin of the class of 1866:


Across the loom, in level lines of light
Are stretched the woof-threads, even, strong and bright.
Their precepts spun from honor, truth and right.
Shine fadeless there.

So may we live that when our lives shall end,
Some memory of us with that web may blend,
And still some strength or beauty to it lend.
So may we die.

As I said a few installments ago, my next transcription project will by my grandmother's letters home during the Near East trip my grandparent's made for The Oriental Institute, but I need to organize things and get more of those photographs scanned so it will be a few weeks at least before I start that.

In the meantime I'll be posting about the Genealogy Do-Over and some other recent finds, including my trip this weekend to Manchester, Connecticut which included meeting a cousin!

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