Mr. Old School


My parents grew up poor.  They weren’t sharecroppers or anything like that – but they came from a mill town from parents who were mill workers and policemen.  They ended up middle class – even though they never went to college – they held good office jobs.  Dad worked his way up from nothing to become an officer of a big bank in Connecticut.  My mom’s father died while she was in high school and she had to forego college to stay home and care for her baby brothers.

Because of their childhoods there were two things they spent money on:

We had at least one big vacation every year since I was born.  Let me define big vacations:  Renting a cabin on Lake George for a week.  Renting a house with family on the New Hampshire shoreline.  As I got older – the vacations got better – Bermuda for a week.  Cruises.   

And Steak… 
My dad apparently never had steak growing up.  So he made up for it.  We had steak a minimum of twice each week.  Sometimes three times.  I ate so much steak at my parent’s house that when I moved out and got married, I didn’t eat a steak again for 10 years.    

Even though we didn’t “come from money” my parents knew how to treat people.  Maids / Waiters / Bellhops / anyone in service – got tipped.  Dad made sure of it.  We were taught to always leave people better than you found them.  And quite frankly – it made good sense. 

Fast Forward to a couple years ago…  My wife and I were on a two week cruise for our 40th Wedding Anniversary.  The first day on the ship I went to the main dining room and found the head waiter.  I slipped him a $20 and made a request for seating and waiter assignments.  I took care of him a couple more times during the cruise. 

My wife loves her morning coffee... and when we’re on vacation it is my job to make sure she has it first thing.  Day one I went to the “specialty coffee shop” on the ship and found the barista – a young man from Croatia.  I ordered our coffees and asked him if he was there often:  “I’m here every morning till 10am” he said….  When I took my coffee cups from him – he got a $20. HE BEAMED!  “OOOOOH”  he said – “MR. OLD SCHOOL!”

Every day he greeted me with that nickname and the same coffees the way they were ordered that first day.  I loved that moniker of "MR. OLD SCHOOL".  I still smile when I think of him.  And of course he got more “contributions” over the two weeks.

EPILOGUE – “MR. OLD SCHOOL”.  It takes me back to the days when service was appreciated.  It takes me back to when values and morals and ethics were given high regard.  It takes me back to nicer, kinder days in a world that seemed to be blossoming. 

Till next time,