Advice From An Old Man

New York in the 50’s

As an old man, with years of experiences, hardships, successes, Bernard Albertson felt like it was his responsibility to share all of this with you. Bernard Albertson, a simple man from Arizona had lived a normal life. It might not be as interesting as most, but he went through difficulties that normally would discourage many people. Therefore, he decided to help people who are going through any hardships in their lives by giving them first-hand advice about how he braved through everything.

He says, “these days are tough. It’s hard for any man to find a job with enough security to have a family and provide for them. As many jobs are now being shipped overseas, such as factory work done in countries where labor is cheaper compared to doing it in your own country (overseas manufacturing)”. It was even harder for Bernard when he was younger. You see, Bernard’s time was in the 1950s.

He had quit school after he reached the 10th grade which meant he was around 15 or 16 years old. He had to take responsibility at a young age as Bernard’s mother and father left him to fend for himself on a street corner. Which meant that he had to make it for himself. -A tear starts rolling down his face as he says this- So, to make a living, he had to take a job, working at a Shell “filling” station, another word for a petrol station. He went to the owner and told him about his situation, how his parents had left him by himself. The owner took pity on him and offered him a job. Where the pay was one dollar an hour. Knowing that he had to make more money to have a decent living, Bernard had asked the owner if he could work more hours, to which the owner agreed. Thus, Bernard was working almost 90 hours a week. In the 1950s unemployment was very high. You could literally walk into a corporation and acquire a job. During this time, the only home Bernard had was at the back seat of an old car. While working his 90 hours a week, the only place Bernard had to shower at was a public restroom. He even had to wash his clothes in a sink. Bernard also had to scavenge for food as he had no money to buy anything. Every once in a while he would steal an apple or an orange from a local grocery store. Please note that this was in the ’50s. “Things were very different in the 50’s”, Bernard exclaimed. “I was convinced that the store owner knew I was stealing his fruits but he just let me do it anyway. I think this was because his store was only around a block away from the Shell Station I was working at”, he said cheerfully with a smile cracked on his face. He says, “good things and bad things last forever”, which is why he started learning different things as he grew older. He knew, in his soul, that if he didn’t have anything to offer, that would be as far as he was going as a man. After a long time of working 90 hours a week, Bernard joined the military. He was 17 at that time. In the service, he had taught himself how to read and write. He reminisces, “the first book I ever picked up was a book written by Louis L’Amour”. This book had around a hundred and ninety-six pages. “I’ll never forget it”, he says. This book was a western cowboy story, which consisted of words that Bernard didn’t know or understood. Therefore, he went to get a dictionary from the service library. As he read the book if he encountered any words he didn’t understand he would search it in the dictionary to learn it’s meaning. For the first book, he took almost three weeks to finish 196 pages. And so he read and continued to read, and in several months, he was reading two to three books at the same time and knew every single word in those books.

Shell Station in the 50’s

“That’s what you can do. A person’s mind is incredible. YOUR mind is incredible ”, Bernard exclaimed. “Because as a young person, regardless of what’s happening in the world, if you weren’t getting ahead in your life, then you need to go and position yourself to learn. Go to the library or use one of those computers and smartphones to learn everything you can. YOU are the backbone of this new world. Without young people, this world is nothing, NOTHING! The elderly like me have passed our usefulness in this world while you are the future leaders of this world. You are the ones that can see the greed of the people that are running this world now. You are the ones that see the waste of the people running the world now. We need you, we need your minds, and your hearts. We need your lives, we need your love, and we need you to care. And I know that you do care. I see young people stepping on flags, throwing rocks and rioting, and that’s all frustration. Frustration from the establishment, and I understand that. But that’s not you, don’t let that be you, rise above it, you’re better than that”.
Bernard then apologizes for going off track. As Bernard’s life progressed and he got out of the military, he had begun to write and educate himself. Admitting himself into a college and got on with his life. He says, “you can do the same thing. You don’t have to have a Doctorate, a Ph.D., or a Master degree. What you have to possess is determination. You have to have an inner will to get things done, you have to have a desire, and I know that desire is there. Because as I said before, without your brains, without your ambition, without your drive, this world will be nothing because elderlies like me, we die off.

I have been successful -not tremendously- but I have a decent retirement, a lovely wife in Arizona. I’ve had financial problems, everyone had had those”. “But you can’t stop, you can’t quit, you can’t say you’re a failure because you’re not. You’re a wonderful, strong, and intelligent youngster. Take advantage of that. Trust in God, trust in YOURSELF. Learn to put one foot in front of the other and take things head-on, “he says. He then gives an example, “During my time, I’ve had two businesses, they were not tremendously successful, but they were successful. I just had to keep pushing for something without giving up. I mean, I’ve always thought about giving up, but that never stopped me. If I did it, then so can you. I’m seventy-six years old and to my last breath, I will still continue encouraging young people because I love them. I will encourage young people because I know they are the future. You are the ones that must save the oceans, you are the ones that must save the air. Because those that are in power, the bottom line for them is wealth and power over others”. He then says, “old people like me, we understand and as old as I am, I will pick up my cane and defend you till my last breath because I love you. Just remember, NEVER QUIT.