Posted by: PD Warrior | September 5, 2007

Lessons learned


As I grow old, I realize

The past is of no concern to me

For who I was, I am no more

And the here and now matters not

For who I am, I will not be…

It is of the future that I am most afraid.

I know not who I shall become

 And like a caterpillar in its cocoon

I cannot help but wonder

What it is that I will be…

A Monarch or a Moth?

The choice is mine,

I have but to break outside and see.

And in the in end I shall not care

Be it Monarch or Moth

For either way

I will spread my wings and fly.



 A very wise man (my great uncle, actually) told me once that “we cannot control the events in our lives. We have no choice over the good or the bad things that happen to us. Infact, the only real choice we have is how we react to these events.” He also said “even when you try something and it doesn’t work, you have not failed – you have only discovered one of the ways not to do something.” I am sure he wasn’t the originator of these quotes, but he believed them with all his heart, and he lived by these words. He taught me to never give up, no matter what, because he never did.

He was born in Poland in the late 1800’s and came to America at the age of ten. At the time of his immigration he spoke three languages – none of them English. Being the oldest male child – at the age of ten- his father did not permit him to go to school. He was expected to find work and help provide for the family.

He never let any of this get to him though. He worked with his father doing odd jobs during the day, and learned to speak English by listening to the men working around him. By the age of 12 he had taught himself to read, and by the age of 18 he had patented his first invention – a device that would seperate the hens on his farm that would lay eggs from those that would not. He always laughed about that invention. He said he invented it for his mother so she could tell which hens were going to supply the family with breakfast, and which would supply them with supper…

By the age of 24 he was employed by the local electric company as an electrical engineer, even though he never had any type of formal education.

He was no stranger to hard times. Besides going to work at the age of ten in a country where he didn’t speak the language, he lost his mother at a young age, leaving him as the “oldest” to help his father raise the family and care for his youngest sister who had Polio during a time when little to nothing was known about the disease. 

Yet he never let anything get to him. I asked him why that was one time, how he always managed to be in a good mood even when things were “going wrong?” His response: “Why shouldn’t I be in a good mood? Being angry or sad isn’t going to make things go any better. At least if I’m happy, I can enjoy my misery.”

 He filed for his 32nd patent at the age of 76; a device he desinged to improve his wife’s wheel chair so she could maneuver around the house with more independence.

To this day I still think of my Uncle Henry when I am down and in need of inspiration. I wrote the poem “Changes” earlier this spring in defiance of my Parkinson’s Disease. It is dedicated to my Uncle who has given me the courage and inspiration to “enjoy my misery”. I may not look real pretty, but I will spread my wings and fly.



  1. It’s the flying that matters.


  2. It seems to me your uncle was at great peace with himself. What an inspirational figure for you to follow!


  3. What a lovely post about your uncle.

    Pop by and pick up the badge you earned for the nursery rhymes quiz 🙂


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