© 2019 Tapestry, Annual TAMUK Women & Gender Studies Journal

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Jacob Perkins

James Edward Rich

            When asked the question who I can depend on under the most extreme conditions, I immediately know the answer. This individual is my guide to great success, as well as my tutor in the times of brutal failures. My Grandfather has been my solid foundation during my whole 18 years on this Earth, never to be deterred from passionately supporting me through it all. I am obliged to have interviewed my Grandad, and his story can explain his own personal success in his life as well as his hope for mine.

            James Edward Rich, born on June 11th, 1950 in Windber Pennsylvania grew up with 4 brothers and sisters with “All boys and one girl” (Rich, James). Him and his brothers/sister included “Alex, Peter, James; Darlene; David “(Rich, James) daughter and sons to Marianne and Alexander Rich. James. His parents were middle income, his Dad worked for a local gas company and his mother was a homemaker (Rich, James). My grandfather lived in a time where It was all about sports, playing things such as football, basketball, baseball, and golf. Life for a young James Rich was remembered as a happy one for him, as a child I would remember countless stories of “Little Jimmy Rich on 409 ½ Somerset Avenue” (Rich, James) where he lived until college in a half and half duplex with three rooms and one bathroom. The evolution of a young James Rich came from the little things in life he did, I went to Windber with my grandfather many years later and he still knows the streets like the back of his hand telling story after story of his young life in the small town that made him who he is today. A young James Rich did not fully develop his inspirational initiative until his later college years when he was admitted into the University of Pittsburgh where he had initially began pursuing an occupation as a lawyer (Rich, James). Like most people who have shot for the stars he was shot down from law school and instead went to graduate school where he would come to excel on his own path to a great career. Through four years of hard work and dedication my grandfather accomplished a double major in Political Science and History but left him with the decision of what he should do to support his family (Rich, James). With not too many opportunities to pursue occupation wise a rather young James Rich pursued an internship with the Federal Bureau of Prisons through the help of his older brother Alex (Rich, James). My Grandfather found that being respectable and working hard for the better names of the prison system allowed better job opportunities for himself and his family. Through 25 years working in the prison system my grandfather worked up to be a warden for an entire penitentiary until he retired at the age of 48 years old with a full pension (Rich, James). At the age of 48 my grandfather still had much to offer in the work force and he soon began to investigate other occupations. After his retirement from the prison system my grandfather applied to be the president of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce being well aware of what he had to offer to the citizens of Beaumont (Rich, James). My Grandfather was elected president of the chamber of commerce and became very well-liked and respected among his peers, and he found it rather easy to get re-elected due to the hard work he always applied to his job no matter the obstacles he faced. After dedicating an amazing amount of time to the Beaumont Chamber my grandfather felt he had done his very best in the 14 years he was a part of the organization, as well as 2 years as vice-president of economic development and decided he would retire once again (Rich, James). My grandfather was honored for many outstanding awards as the president of the Chamber and his ability to obtain the respect of many men and women working for him in the time he was the president is nothing short of inspirational in my eyes.

            My Grandfather did not necessarily grow up with a gifted mind, or a sick sense for business and people but he developed an inspiring drive for success as well as a keen understanding for how the world works. Coming into this world as a child I have been given an advantage with all the aspects of intelligence that has surrounded me, and my grandfather has been and will be the greatest factor in my future. My Grandfather is always good to acknowledge and celebrate my accomplishments as well as provide insight on how to overcome failures, none the less my inspiration in life will always be my inspiration due to the one thing my grandfather has never done. My grandfather has never once doubted my abilities to be a successful individual and has never backed down from the competition that has been my life for a second. Inspirations can come in all shapes and sizes for people, I have been blessed to have obtained all the inspiration and more from my grandfather over the years and it has developed a drive in myself that I carry with me wherever my future may take me. I have come a long way from being a toddler with a vast future, and my grandfather has been step for step with me along my journey to success without delay and that is all I have ever needed to be the best I can possibly be in life. Through thick and thin my inspiration has guided me to great things and I could never repay my grandfather for the sacrifices he has made for me over the years, and I will forever be in debt to my grandfather for all he has done for me and provided me.