WHAT HAVE I DONE, WHERE HAVE I BEEN?
© 2010 by David Wainland
No, this is not a confession to some horrible crime and if you were looking forward to that move along. There is always something else to read.
I am a Bronx Boy, born there and lived there for only the first thirteen years of my life, but still a Bronx boy at heart. My life seems to revolve around those memories, the special and unique upbringing that only a city born child of the forties and fifties can truly understand.
Those brick building, cement sidewalks and blacktopped gutters are now imbedded forever in my genetic code.
The road from the city is a long one. I was born in 1940, a pre-war baby, touched by the conflict, though only indirectly. My strongest reminiscences begin as the war ended, still, the vague memories of blackouts, ration books, air raid wardens and men in uniform dance at the edge of my thoughts.
I left the Bronx early in 1954 and tumbled into a different world, a part of the new suburban wave that was flooding the country. I never became a part of it and dragged my heels as we entered a new age.
In 1957 I quit high school and after a year wandering through my desires and goals I came to the conclusion that I had none. Rather than face the draft I enlisted in the Air Force. Three and a half years later I ran screeching from the military and tumbled into civilian life, again at loose ends. No plans, still no goals and no clue, but a better man for having served.
My father coerced me into joining his business and I learned a trade. I became a designer of lamps and chandeliers, a first class restorer of the same and even touched on being an interior decorator after a short stint at the New York School of interior design.
Later, in the mid-sixties I drifted into sales and worked intermittently for different companies including a manufacturer of decorative wall electric switch plates, a paint sundry company, two different gift manufacturers and finally for Bernz-O-Matic , a national hardware producer of propane torches. They moved me to Maryland, back to New York, then Philadelphia and finally to Massachusetts before returning to my native Long Island.
I was a lousy salesman, getting by on luck and good timing. Somehow I managed to play out that card until the summer of 1970 and then by chance I took another road.
Back when I lived in Philadelphia I met a man who changed my life. His name was Alan and without his ever knowing it, because of him, my life would never be the same. He introduced me to direct sales, multi-level business and it was the first real thing that ever motivated me in a way that gave my days meaning. He gave me the doorway to the power of positive thinking and the introduction to Ron Martin, a motivator, speaker, dynamic individual and co-founder of Empress Pearls. They developed a unique concept in the home party business. Using the Tupperware format of group home sales they introduced 14 karat gold into the home via the vehicle of cultured pearls till in the oysters and we, the salespeople, birthed those same pearls for an admiring audience.
One year during a contest I won a gift certificate for Sears. I traded it for an acetylene torch and began a part time career as a metal sculptor.
Empress was the major player in my life from 1970 until 1979. I eventually became the manager of the largest region in the country and between my wife and I the largest earners. I learned from Ron and began a future doing motivation seminars.
My next step, Omni Creations, I joined them in ’79, another direct sales company jewelry company selling via home parties. This time costume jewelry. I quickly made my way to the top. Between trainings, giving seminars and showing my sculptures my life was complete or so I thought.
In 1983 the company fell on hard times. My wife and I opened a 14k jewelry company of our own using the direct sales method. The company, Lisbeth Eden Designs, grew fast, but my art grew faster and by 1987 I was finished with jewelry.
We packed up and moved south and I began my full time artist endeavor. Over the next twenty years I was one of the most prolific table-top metal sculptors in South Florida. I did hundreds of outdoor shows. They wrote articles about me in the papers on a regular basis and I enjoyed my fifteen minutes of fame.
Today I am retired, though I started writing just before the century changed. Since then my fingers have pounded out thousands of words. I have completed two unpublished novels, started two others and sold a story or two plus a few articles while writing reams of my memoirs.
What direction I will take over the next decade I do not know. Perhaps I will lie in the surf of life and let the waves carry me to my next destination.
I have done a little of this, a little of that, never once looking back and I would do it all again…or maybe not.
So, here are my new pair of questions, what will I do and where am I going now?