Monthly Memoir: The Distinguished Dropout


Off to my Memoir Writing Meeting

I walked to the New Ulm public library on Monday morning to attend my first Memoir Writing meeting.

I saw my old friend, retired school teacher, Nancy Busse with her friend Jan.

Nancy and Jan

I listened to other people read or talk about their memoirs.

Tom and Benny

Tom is 95. He was born in 1927! Benny is a trumpet player who traveled with many popular dance bands!

Our Librarian/Technician spoke of the Memory Lab where you can preserve all your old photos, Lps, 18mm film and other memories on digital media for free!.

Librarian and Memory Lab Expert LeRoy Harris

If you want you can read my memoir I read to the group, here it is!

“The Distinguished Dropout,” by Amy Zents


When I was 15 years old I was fed up with school. I had desperately tried to be a good student, but to no avail. I was either tardy or absent. I even tried changing schools, going from an eilite collegiate high school to a few other not-so-elite ones. 

Living in downtown Toronto I could not focus.Little did I know I had ADHD, and the stimulation of city-life overwhelmed my brain.At the time I could not understand why I couldn’t focus, and why I felt like such a failure.

After changing high schools to try and find the right fit, I quit school altogether and went to work.I kept changing jobs over and over again. I worked as a chambermaid, or housekeeper in downtown hotels Once while cleaning in the Sheraton, a guy claiming to be a Maple Leafs Hockey coach tried to pick me up stating his credentials.  I just ignored his advances.

In my later teens, I worked in a fancy travel agency. Although I had no experience I was put in the Accounts Payable department located in the prestigious Toronto Star Building. The job was not for someone like me. The pay was excellent, but I made too many errors because math was not my strong suit.

For awhile I ventured into working in retail. I learned how to use a cash register, albeit poorly, and I had a locker. The job was so slow and so boring, I could not bear it, so I quit. 

Later on, I worked at Sears in the mail room, where I delivered mail to the different departments. I felt invisible and degraded there for some reason.One day I saw an old lady lying flat on her back near the shoe department, and I alerted staff.. All they did was call the EMT’s while she lay there unconscious. She died at Sears.That incident upset me a lot, so I quit.

The last job, and the one I held the longest, was in catering and cafeteria food service at the Canada Life Insurance company. We served lawyers at their breakfasts, and banquets and each noon in their private dining room we filled their lunch orders that they checked off with a pencil from a daily menu.

At some point in my job search, I went to Canadian Man Power and took an employment aptitude test. The results showed my ideal job was a cook.Shortly before I got married, Man Power invited to pay for me to take a commercial cooking course. I declined.I was also contacted by the new IKEA store asking me come work for them. 

There seemed to be a lot of employment opportunities for me in spite of my work record. But I chose to leave that all behind.

At the tender age of 19 I got married and left the big city for a small town in Northern Minnesota. After eight long miserable years living in Sauk Center, earning two dollars an hour babysitting, I finally realized that in order to get ahead, I needed to get my GED! 

I learned to drive in a manual transmission car and it took me 3 tries to get my driver’s license at age 25, now I was ready to try to get a high school equivalency diploma.

I took classes at Melrose high school to review old subjects to prepare for my GED.I had to take the GED test in Alexandria, MN. I was so nervous, epecially since I remembered it took me three times to pass my driver’s road test. I hoped I would only need to take the GED test once and for all.

After the test, I waited to receive my notice in the mail, I was proud to find out I had passed! 

Along with the verification that I had succeeded in getting my GED, was a special note. 

It was a gold-embossed card that stated, “Congratulations to Amalia for Excellence in Adult Education.” I learned I had nearly perfect scores in all the areas of the test! I felt so amazed. I was a distinguished dropout!

Memoir resources were handed out
Personal experience is the ingredients of a good menoir

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