Friday, July 3, 1987: Let the memory live again by Tracy Diane Miller

There are some moments in time that will always be beautifully preserved in your memory. Even when you are aged by the years and sorrow, these moments remain vibrant, youthful and optimistic. We recall them to help us deal with the burdens that we currently face. We are dependent on the good memories to help us survive the lowest points in our lives.

I will always remember Friday, July 3, 1987 at 2:06 p.m. because that was the moment that I opened a letter from The University of Pennsylvania Law School informing me that I had been awarded a full academic scholarship to law school! I had already attended Temple University on academic scholarships. I never imagined that I would be fortunate to receive a professional degree for free. I would never have to take out student loans. I was overwhelmingly happy and grateful for this incredible blessing. Twenty-nine years later, my happiness and gratitude remains.

What makes this moment even more special is the fact that I received my scholarship letter a day before my birthday. People agonize over the cruelties of Fate; yet, she must have had a soft spot for me. Fate smiled at me on that July day so long ago.

I spent decades working in the legal profession. When I made the decision to abandon law and pursue my first love and passion of writing, I didn’t make this decision lightly. Living with depression for decades, with the self-doubt and guilt as my constant companion, a part of me felt that I was being ungrateful by not continuing my legal career. After all, I had graduated from an Ivy League school. I never knew what many of peers had known: drowning in a sea of law school loan doubt. That little girl from inner city Philadelphia who was constantly bullied for being different had felt validation that her love for learning and her refusal to succumb to peer pressure had been marvelously rewarded with a full academic scholarship to law school.

I gave the legal profession the best decades of my life. I savored my successes and (hopefully) learned from my failures working in the often ridiculed field of law.

I have walked away from law. I rediscovered my first love of writing poetry. I’ve published 22 books of poetry. At 50 (I turn 51 on July 4th), I’m finally living my dream.

But Friday, July 3, 1987 will always exist in my heart as a moment of perfection, a beautiful memory. Today, I let the memory live again.