Friday, January 29, 2010

The Gold-Threaded Robe

The years was 1975, and I had just graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Psychology.  I headed off to Indianapolis with a couple of friends and landed a job as a secretary at Curtis Publishing Company.  I figured I would stay there until I found something more in my field.  I don't like to think about regrets but I still have a teensy one about leaving that job to work as a Marion County Juvenile Probation Officer.  I had my sights set on saving the world and making a difference and I think I did for a few of the young people I worked with at the court.  But that job at Curtis Publishing Company was something special - not so much the job I had (I was doing filing and writing letters for the CFO), but being around the whole publishing industry.  Every day, there were creative types planning for upcoming issues of The Saturday Evening Post and The Country Gentleman.  Downstairs, there were boxes of magazines ready to be distributed, and I was occasionally sent there to retrieve mail or check on an order.  I was told I could take magazines from the reject pile, so I occasionally went  home with a freshly printed magazine.  I was even called into the editor's office because I had scored really well on their entrance IQ exam.  Who knows what she might have seen in me.

When I left Curtis to go to the juvenile court in Indianapolis, I was given a lovely note by one of my coworkers.  She typed it on an actual typewriter (yes, that is what people used back then) and she included the following poem:


 Covet not a gold-threaded robe,
Cherish only your young days.
If a bud open, gather it -
Lest you but wait for an empty bough. 

I still have the typed note and look at it from time to time.  I'm pretty sure I took her advice and gathered many a budding flower in my youth.  I'd like to think I am still doing a bit of gathering and hope to continue for a long time.  As for Curtis Publishing Company, I'm thinking of sending them a note and thanking them for the opportunity they gave me a very long time ago. 


  1. I like this. Life inevitably involves choices and new doors open along the path chosen even as others shut behind us. Bitter sweet, but not bad.

  2. I like this, too. Society can make it hard for us to chose well. I also think you have.