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Snippets from My Life Story

When I was in junior high, I heard of this school called Brooklyn Tech, which was so special you had to take a test to get in. So I took the test, was accepted and went to Brooklyn Tech, even though it meant traveling 45 minutes each way from home. Two events there determined my future career. I remember in woodshop, I had to make a wooden pattern which would be used in foundry, the next course. I later came up with my pattern and handed it to my instructor who looked at it, sniffed disdainfully and tossed it into the pile. In Foundry, the task was to hammer a six inch piece of hexagonal metal into a round shape. I hammered and hammered it. The piece grew longer and thinner. The boy next to me looked over at my piece, tapped it three times, and it was done. On the basis of those two events, I decided that Engineering was not for me.

But upon graduation, the question remained what career would I follow? My family was very poor. So I never even dreamed of going to a private college. I would go to City College, which was free. But what course to choose? All I liked to do was read, mostly fiction. So I thought about what books I read that were not fiction and they were usually in psychology. So I decided to go into Psychology. I never regretted it.

In my senior year, as part of one course, I was required to take a boy who had been shell shocked during the war, to and from a Psychiatrist. When I entered the room to meet him, the room seemed empty except for a small table. I peeked under the table and there he was. So I got down on my hands and knees and talked gently to him, and he eventually emerged. One time as I was taking him he ran away from me. I ran after him and ran past him waving for him to catch up. He never tried to run away after that. He made such splendid progress that the psychiatrist offered to send me to any program in Clinical Psychology that I chose. I thought about it and figured in my lifetime, I could help about 200 people. But if I found one important fact, I would help many more. So I chose to go into Experimental Psychology. I asked my professor which was the best school to go to, he said Johns Hopkins. So I applied there and was accepted.

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