It was a cold Monday, November 15, 1965. At the time I was a senior at Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School, Indianapolis, Indiana sitting in my English Composition class listening attentively to my teacher, Sister Rita Clare and feeling insecure about the thought of graduating in six months. I feared that the best years of my life were behind me even at the age of 15 years.
My usual daily routine included going to Latin class, English Composition, Biology, Algebra II and Chemistry before going to work at the Veteran?s Administration then located in downtown Indianapolis to sweep floors. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I went to work to pay for the cost of attending this private Catholic school as my parents could not afford my private education. They had the responsibility of feeding, providing clothes and shelter to raise more than a dozen children. On Tuesdays and Thursdays were spent receiving additional lessons in English Composition from Sister Rita Clare who earlier declared my writing to be inadequate and in need of much work. Sister Rita Clare believed I would someday be a leader and needed to write and speak intelligently.
During my afternoon after school work experience on this Monday, I was greeted by a fifty some year old World War II, Korean War veteran man who had survived combat experience not once but twice. As I greeted Mr. Warren, he noticed I was not full of my usual enthusiasm and vitality. He asked if there was anything wrong. I told him I was feeling misgivings about being a high school senior, graduating and having to go to work everyday. I then asked what the future would bring. I wondered out loud how I would look back on my life once I reached his age. So I asked him, ?Mr. Warren, what was the best time of your life??
Mr. Warren thought for a few minutes then replied, ?Well, Pete, this is my explanation to your question:
When I was a little kid growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana, everything was taken care of for me by my mother and father even though we were poorer than church mice. I thought that was the best time of my life!
When I left the everyday care of my mother and father to go to kindergarten and make new friends was another best time of my life. I still communicate with many of the members of my kindergarten class--believe it or not!
When I graduated from high school, got my first job in that Cajun restaurant and earn an income though small, was another best time of my life.
I went off to war in World War II to kill as many Japanese as I could. I hated the Japanese?all Japanese! Then I met my wife, who is Japanese, fell in love and had four beautiful children (a boy and three girls) and came to know the goodness of God through my Christian Japanese wife. This was another best time of my life.
Watching my children grow up, love God, do well in school and become the apples of my eyes, ah, that was one of the best times of my life!
And now, Pete, I am fifty-three years old. My doctors tell me I am in great health, I am still in love with my wife of 20 years as I did when I first met her in Japan, I love the Lord with my whole heart and mind and know where I am going when I die, my kids are doing well! So I?d say, Pete, this is the absolute best time of my life mainly because I am loved by God most of all and I know it!?