Throwback Thursday: When Anything Was Possible

I have shown this picture before; it is my “section” my senior year of high school:



These 30+ high school students were an extraordinary group. David Banner (not his real name) and Dr. Mavro became physicians. One classmate became the CFO of a large energy company before moving to the same role at a large and well-known charity. At least three earned their Ph.D. and that number could be higher as I have lost touch with virtually everyone in the class. I believe that at least two became attorneys; oh well, no group is perfect.

In the second row, third from the right, is someone who stood out even among this august company. He graduated from high school at age 16. He finished the first semester senior year Calculus curriculum by October; the teacher was wise enough to create a new curriculum only for him.

The best math students were given a chance to take part in the US Mathematical Olympiad. Just to be asked to take the test was an honor (I was); the person to whom I have just referred made the second highest score in the US. That feat earned him an invitation to the World Olympiad; he made the second highest score in the world.

When it came to Physics, though, I could hang right with him, although that class was not in our senior year. I had more than a 100 average in the class as I could, and would, do test problems in more than one way for extra credit. In our school, grades were your numerical average and not a letter. However, the teacher was not allowed to actually give me a grade of 105 or whatever, so my Physics grade for the semester was a 100.

I hate to admit that I have forgotten the names of at least ten of my classmates. Nothing like that seemed possible then. Everything great seemed possible. I could start my own car company or get involved with professional sports, the only two interests I really had. Of course, I did forge a 20+ year career in major league baseball and wrote a football book that The Wall Street Journal called without a doubt the best book of its kind ever written. None of that seems to matter anymore, though.

I have written many times about the dissonance in my life comparing earlier days when anything was possible to now when almost nothing seems possible. I don’t think I will ever fully accept that change.


I graduated from high school in 1978. That year marked the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the Corvette. (By my senior year, I was not a big Vette fan although when I was in elementary school I loved the C3 as well as the C2.) Chevrolet/GM made significant changes to the car. From The Genuine Corvette Black Book (I decided to photograph the relevant page instead of try to transcribe it. Work smart, not hard):



Here is a picture of a 1978 Corvette, but without the pace car decals:


See the source image


I remember that I liked the change to the fastback rear window; I guess I still had remnants of my obsession with fastbacks from my even younger days.

Although I like the C3 design, I don’t love it and think it is a little dated. Maybe if we win a nine-figure sum in a lottery I’ll buy a Corvette from each generation, except a C7, of course, as I already have one.

Were you interested in cars in high school or earlier? How have you managed the transition from youth to not youth?

Youth is wasted on the young…








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6 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: When Anything Was Possible

  1. Growing up in my childhood neighborhood there were 3 cars that I always wanted to own. I would ride my bike just to get a better look at them. #1 a Black 1957 Thunderbird. #2 a Silver 1965 Fuel Injected Corvette Roadster. #3 a Dark Green 1966 Ford 7 Litre Convertible. All of these cars could be in my Dream Garage 2.0.


  2. “How have you managed the transition from youth to not youth?”

    I have refused to “grow up.” 🙂

    I have been interested in cars, and motorcycles, for as far back as I can remember, at least since I was 5-6 years old. I can remember trying to “help” my dad when he worked on the various iron around the homestead. I was likely more hindrance than help at that age, and I base that thought on dealing with friends children of the same age. But if they show an interest I’ll gladly teach what I’ve learned. Somebody gotta fix up the projects I’ll likely die before finishing and it could be one of them.


  3. Cars and sports since I was very young.
    Admittedly I didn’t pick up as much of the ‘tinkering’ side, though I always was in the garage ‘helping’ my dad.
    My maternal grandfather had ‘nice’ cars, and got them new… all before I was born, I’ve been told he had a 61 Pontiac StratoChief (I think that was the StarChief equivalent), a 63 Pontiac Laurentian, 65 Meteor Montcalm 2dr fastback (equals a Mercury Monterey) and finally a 67 Ford LTD hardtop sedan.
    Then there was my mom’s cousin Rob. He’s 18 years older than I am. When I was born he had a 69 Mustang coupe 6-cylinder, but his next car was a new 72 Dodge Charger with a 340. Today he and I run some small car shows and he drives 69 Cutlass S convertible.
    But I think cars were just always something I liked. Ma says from when I started talking I used to talk about cars having happy faces or angry faces, I guess just how I interpreted things like upturned bumpers or shrouded headlamps. I quickly started recognizing styling signatures, how a Ford looked different from a Chrysler etc. As a youth I wasn’t really a math whiz but I had an aptitude for recalling things like production numbers, engine displacements, horsepower ratings. In a way it was closely related to sports, things to recall like who won championships in what year, who scored the most goals in a year or career…


    1. Many thanks for sharing, Mark. I suspect the majority of motorheads have had the “disease” for most of their lives. For me, it went into remission for awhile, but has returned with a vengeance (obviously).

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