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Knowing When to Give Up

Suzie Lechtenberg

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Alexander Thompson self-portrait with film camera
(2008 silverimagelimited.com)
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This weekend, in honor of senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, we pay tribute to those who have fought tough battles. Both candidates have been intensely committed to a challenge. Both were at one time called underdogs. Both unwilling to quit, even when in one case, people said it was time to surrender.

And so, we bring you stories of Weekend America listeners who would not give up... No matter what:

Judy Davids:
My husband and I met in high school, actually. One of the things we had in common was the love of baseball -- and we fell in love, actually, at a place called Tiger Stadium, which was the home of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. And we spent many, many, many summer nights on dates there. One season we went to over 61 games. And we always sat in the same seats in the lower deck right field bleachers and we met some pretty famous and infamous people there. One time Toni Tennille from Captain and Tennille sat in our section. It's the place that we fell in love with each other, with a team, with a city and with a stadium.

So 1989, we were leaving the stadium and we were approached by this tiny little Irish woman who was passing out flyers that said "Save Tiger Stadium." I didn't see that there was a reason to build a new stadium and waste a lot of money on it, when it was perfectly fine. And, you know, maybe it was selfish of me to want it, but I wanted to preserve that part of my history.

A lot of people thought we were nuts and they were like "What are you doing, you know you can't fight City Hall, get over it, get on with your life" -- but we couldn't. Gosh, if you were to ask me 19 years ago if I thought I'd still be, like, involved in this, I would have thought, I just don't have 19 years to give up for this stadium. But I have.

In the end, we did lose and a new stadium was built. And, you know, one of the bad things about fighting for something very public is that you are perceived as kind of a loser when it's all over. But on the other hand I have, you know, learned a lot -- and now I'm basically fearless.

Alexander Thompson:
I live in Gloucester, Mass. I'm a photographer working in film here and for many years I have been resisting the movement toward digital.

It makes my spine tingle to think about it. When I'm in a beautiful situation, with a beautiful setting and the light is right, it's like a constellation coming into alignment. And when I feel that is happening I can tell right when I hit the shutter whether I have it or not. There are a few photographs that I hit the shutter, and literally at that moment, I'm restraining myself from just jumping up and down because I know that I got just the right shot at the right moment.

I've been urged to give up film many, many times by people for many different reasons, both creative and economic. But I just love the way film looks. I'll never give up film photography.

Richard Kruger:
When I was in grade school, every year you would be given a series of so-called intelligence or aptitude tests. The guidance teacher told me that he wanted to speak with my parents. He showed my parents the results of these tests and he said based on this I think Richard ought to be placed in a vocational school because he doesn't appear to be very bright and I don't think he is going to make very much out himself when he grows up.

My parents just sat there like heads on Easter Island. They didn't utter a word and I took their silence to mean they were agreeing with what the teacher had to say. So right there and then, as angry as I was, I determined that if it would be the last thing I ever did, I would succeed.

If I had a lot of homework to do, I said it doesn't matter. If I had to stay up late to finish the work, it didn't matter. Because I was determined to show the world that I am a rather bright fellow... And yes indeed, I have been quite successful in my chosen field.

I have a bachelors degree in biology, a master's degree in experimental hematology, and a PhD in experimental hematology.

I'm just really happy that I was smart enough to understand that you do not have to do or listen to what people say if it goes against how you truly feel. And I believe that people who end up being successful do so because they steer their own course.

  • Music Bridge:
    Mel Under
    Artist: Sack and Blumm
    CD: Shy Noon (Gefreim)


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