The road not taken

Robert Frost, by artist James Chapin

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I was telling Lina and Shelley today about Leon, a man I met at around the same time I met David, now my husband.  I was crazy about Leon.  He looked so much like Robert DeNiro that hostesses rushed to give him tables in crowded restaurants.  He loved his family. He adored traveling. He was sexy.

But I chose David.  He has no resemblance whatsoever to DeNiro.  He doesn’t care about traveling and he’s not the family man Leon was. I can’t tell you the exact reasons I decided to be with David, and they don’t matter at this point. I’ve been with him for almost eight years.

As I told the saga of Leon, I thought about Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken and all the different roads I took.

The Daily News offered to give me back my job as a feature writer, a year after I was laid off. Although I wanted to return, I declined the job and stayed at Fairchild Publications, where I later became a Publisher.

I chose to go to Syracuse University instead of Queens College, the city school near my home.  I hated Syracuse and promptly left after the first semester, worked for nine months and went to New York University, where I met my (first) husband.

I decided to sit near the front of a plane on a trip back from Atlanta, instead of with my friend, in the smoking section in the back.  Sitting next to me was a man I’d be involved with for 12 years.

I have never regretted my decisions, which have taken me to unusual places. It doesn’t matter which road we take, just as long as we make the trip worthwhile.

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3 Responses to “The road not taken”

  1. susan grant says:

    Geri – Unfortunately, I don”t have the time to check into FOF as often as I’d like, but when I do, and read a number of your comments one after another, I’m amazed at your ability to pinpoint and articulate so many universal truths. Regarding this one, so many of us waste so much time second guessing decisions we’ve made. I love your last comment, “as long as we make the trip worthwhile”.
    Susan

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  2. Geri says:

    Good evening Toby,

    OMG, your description is riotous, although I know it wasn’t too funny for you at the time.

    I missed home terribly when I went to Syracuse. Was 17 and had never been away before, except for trips to my grandparents house in Hartford, CT. The school also was too social for me. Mixers (I didn’t know how to dance), boy-crazy girls, sororities, beer at every turn. I wanted to go to University of Rochester, but didn’t get in.

    G.

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  3. Toby Wollin says:

    Best memorable quote from Jane Eyre — Mr. Rochester: Regret is the poison of life.
    So, you didn’t like Syracuse? Well, it would have definitely seemed ‘small beer’ to someone from New York – I was a copy editor for the Harold ‘urinal’ and ‘Sub-standard’ — the publisher was a petty tyrant who sent his copy to the desk on yellow paper, without his name on it (because we ‘knew’ it was ‘special’). He saw Communists under every bed. The city editor was said to have a bottle in his desk. The former Lady’s Page editor used to come in on Sunday afternoons with her matching shoes, handbag and hat and would sit down to the typewriter and bang out…her reviews of church sermons (I kid you not). The crime beat guy worked with the police squawk box AND the ambulance scanners going on his desk – he smoked horrible little cigars (pre-no smoking) and used to wax poetically about his tour of duty as a reporter for the Army paper in Alaska. It was like working at WKRP in Cincinnati, only without the humor and charm. On the other side, because I grew up in Upstate NY, the weather there was no big deal to me and Syracuse was ‘the big town’ where I came from; families used to make the big shopping trip there because they had ‘real’ department stores. You grew up with Macy’s, Gimbles, Orbachs, et al, so Dey Brothers and Chappells must have seemed like the corner general store to you.
    The decisions we make at the time are those we are making with the information at hand. It makes no sense to resent them later – if we are lucky, they are not fatal.

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