The calvary ain't comin'

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If you don’t know Chris Gardner, you need to. I’ve had Mr. Gardner’s picture taped on my office wall ever since I read his feature story in Fortune, Sept. 2006. Gardner is the author of The Pursuit of Happyness and the subject of an upcoming Sony pictures movie, scheduled for release December 15, 2006.

When I look at Gardner’s face he makes me feel fearless, since what he has faced in his lifetime isn’t even in the realm of possibility for me. While living on the streets of San Francisco, his 20 month old son by his side, this guy somehow managed to not only survive, but thrive as a stockbroker with Dean Witter.

Gardner made up to 200 phone calls per day to build his client base, because he says “Every time I picked up the phone I knew I was getting closer to digging myself out of the hole.” Within five years he opened his own institutional brokerage firm in Chicago called Gardner Rich.

So as I sit in my cushy office, sometimes filled with trepidation when picking up the phone for a cold call, I look to Gardner and say to myself – suck it up already! How the heck can I look at his face and have fear…it literally makes me embarrassed to admit it. What the heck am I scared of?

My father always said to me “If you are white and American, you are half way there.” 

No denying it, being born in America gives us limitless opportunities and advantages.

Being white, born and raised in the suburbs puts me another 5 steps up the ladder. In this context, it’s almost a crime for me to do any complaining whatsoever.

Do you know what Gardners mother used to say to him? “You can only depend on yourself. The cavalry ain’t coming.”

In my case, the calvary would be coming. I have my husband to fall back on. I have my parents to fall back on. I have extended family and friends to fall back on. For me to end up homeless, I would really have to work at it.

So I carry on, “pushing the pea” each day and thanking God for all the great advantages he chose to give me. This is one white girl you aren’t going to hear any whining from.

PS That type error in ‘Happyness’ is intentional, Gardner once saw it on the sign of a fellow homeless person.

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6 Responses to The calvary ain't comin'

  1. Alison says:

    I have heard of this man. Thanks for the tip about his book!

  2. mama says:

    Great! I would think the book would be better (more realistic) than the movie…but you never know. It you need to be inspired, its a good one!

  3. Isabella Murphy says:

    In my case, the calvary would be coming. I have my husband to fall back on. I have my parents to fall back on. I have extended family and friends to fall back on. For me to end up homeless, I would really have to work at it.

    This is something that my fiancee, also white, got hit with full in the face when he proposed to me. I’m a mentor for young girls of all races, and one thing that a lot of young White ladies ask me is, ‘Where does your help come from?’ (I’m Black) They’ve always seen me doing the businesswoman thing, the volunteer thing, the pseudo-mom thing (we took care of several kids for a short time), the fiancee thing, and still coming up all smiles. The balance issue is something that all of our young ladies — of all races — need to realize. Where does our help come from? Each other! Unfortunately, that isn’t often the case — women are so mean to each other :/

    It’s interesting to hear you comment on this — I wish others were as frank as you!

    –Isabella

  4. mamavision says:

    Hi Isabella, thanks for the comments. You sound like a go-getter. You are so right about women not supporting each other. This was the most apparent when I became a mother. Working moms and stay at home moms are so judgemental of each other.

    I am glad you like my frank attitude, I am never sure how it will go over when blogging!

    Take care!

  5. Chris says:

    Yeah, “Cavalry” is grossly misspelled. Calvary is the hill that Christ was crucified on. Cavalry is Infantry on horseback, in helicopters or in armor.

  6. Cátia says:

    Hi :)
    I am just a 16 years old girl, but when I saw the movie based on Chris’s life I stayed amazed with it. I even sent an e-mail through his site congratulating him for all the strength he had to pass through all those bad things. He has a life story that everyone should know, to see how hard life can get and that there’s always a solution even in the hardest situation. He inspired me, he’s a hero.
    And his story also teaches us that we should be gratefull for all we have: food on the table, water and a house.

    CátiaR

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