At one time in my life I kept a journal, and how I regret I did not do so for a much longer time. I will use this occasion to recommend it to everyone and you will be forever grateful at a later date.
Just take a few minutes each day to record by date the things which take place, important and/or unimportant. It may be only a sentence or it may be pages and you need only a spiral notebook, unless you want to be more fancy. Your mind will play tricks on you over the years and you will be amazed to find items you had forgotten altogether or had all kinds of misconceptions.
For instance, it was gratifying to remember how the mental profession has prospered in York County over the years since
February 2, 1960. My entry on that date noted that I had attended a meeting of the Board of the fledgling Mental Health Association and "we had high hopes of beginning a mental health clinic this year but things did not look so good for that tonight."
This was the year some of you may remember we had three snows in March on successive Wednesdays..... a 5 inch snow followed by 6 inches and the third one punctuated by sleet and rain. A neighbor who had seen many winters said "This has really been a March to remember." My mind had played strange tricks on what I thought I remembered.
This stands out above all. There are things you are just sure happened one way and yet there is positive proof that they did not.
In those days everyone, and I mean everyone, went to the football games on Friday night. If there was a home game scheduled nothing else was planned for that time and if you needed to find someone, such as a doctor, you had to go to the stadium.
Jack Miller had followed Tommy Oates and Gene Knight with the same great teams to which York had become accustomed. I remember some of the players but I'm not sure of who played when and I wish I recorded some of them. We won all the way to the State Championship where we lost in Columbia to Berkley.
There was a shortage of officials however, and on some nights there were only four available. Jack wanted the field clock to be official and asked me to become certified with the understanding that the "clock operator" in York would be my only assignment. I had retired from officiating several years earlier because I did not care for any more traveling.
I agreed to this and the Association agreed to it so, for several years, I dressed and went to the press box to keep the clock at every game. The rules would not allow me to actually officiate on the field in my home town but the clock was allowed in that time of shortage of officials.
An interesting aside demonstrating how much the world has changed in this time... When I took the officiating exam in 1960 I took my young daughters, age 7 an 9, with me to Columbia and left them at a movie while I was at the testing. Who, including me, would do such a thing today without a worry about their safety?
Keep a journal. You won't have to wait 48 years to be glad you did.
H. Sanford Howie Jr. is executive director emeritus for the Episcopal Church Home for Children