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Money Doesn't Matter
I grew up in a poor family. Me, four sisters, three brothers, and only one mother to raise us. We lived in a small three bedroom, two bath apartment in the middle of New York City. My mom worked three shifts a day, desperately trying to get enough money to support our family. My dad wasn’t around. He got shot one night walking home from work. A gang member had mistaken him for someone else, and shot him in the back of his head.
Despite all the difficult challenges I faced in my life, there was one thing that was very important to me. That was school. I always dreamed of doing great in school and getting a full ride scholarship to a college. I worked as hard as I could, staying up till 1AM just to finish simple worksheets.
Elementary school was when I first had my dream of being a nuclear engineer. I had all A’s throughout my years at elementary. I was the smartest in my grade. I tried so hard to get noticed growing up.
It wasn’t until middle school when I realized that by me achieving my dream would change the lives of my family, and that my mom wouldn’t have to come home exhausted from her twelve hour shift, just to get back up in an hour to go work another shift. I continued my straight A’s through middle school and graduated as the 8th grade as the top of my class.
When I started my 11th grade year, I got my first job washing dishes at the local dinner on my street. Making 5.25 an hour wasn’t a lot, but it sure did help out. I started looking at colleges before my senior year. All the colleges were way too much for me to attend, but there was still a way to get there without the need of money. With my grade average as a 97.8, my teachers encouraged me to apply to colleges. They said it was a long shot, but they said I had a chance at Yale University. Being a poor city boy from New York, I thought my chances at being accepted were slim, but I still tried.
A few months later, a letter came in the mail. I couldn’t believe my eyes when it said “Yale University” across the front. I opened the letter and read the words aloud, “Dear Richard, We have read your application and it would be an honor for us to have you attend Yale University. We understand you are not able to afford such a college, That’s why we are offering a full ride 8 year scholarship, we will provide books and your own dorm to stay in, so you can achieve your dream of becoming a nuclear engineer. Signed, Yale University.”
I saw the look in my mom’s eyes. She was so happy that I could finally have a chance to become something more than the poorest kid on the block. I told my brothers and sisters and they were so excited for me. One of my little brothers even spent all his change on a drink at the corner store and gave me the drink.
My first year of college was exciting. I was doing everything I had dreamed about. I was working with nuclear matter, and learning how it works and the characteristics of the matter as well. I kept a 4.3 gpa my first year and couldn’t wait for the next seven years to come.
The next seven years of college were great. I ended up graduating with a 4.4 gpa and got a masters in engineering and nuclear science. I got a job with NASA, working on how we can get radioactive matter into space. The pay for the job was great. I was able to pay bills, and still have money for extra things. I am living in a nice house with my wife and two kids.
I bought my mom a house for her birthday. I got her out of that old place she called a home. She lived a great last 20 years in that house. She retired lived happily. She passed a few years ago. I was so upset about it, but she is in a better place now. All I wanted was for her to be happy in her life, and in those last 20 years I saw my mom happier than she had ever been. At the funeral, I gave a speech. I said how much I missed her, and how happy she made me. I thanked her for making me the hard working person I am today. My last words of the speech were,”I’ll see you one day mom.”
Now I am 78 years old, writting this part from a hospital bed. I have lung cancer. This cancer has took its toll, and I won’t be around much longer. So as I finish this, I want you to do one thing for me. If you have the opportunity to help someone, promise me you will help them. Please, promise me that.