I am writing to you about how to stay the course, not because I am an expert tracker, but because I am an expert in getting lost. Honestly, some times I thrive on it. I usually get my greatest inspirations for my YA and children’s stories while lost on some Peter Pan adventure. At 44 years old I have been known to pick up a few sticks in the woods and use them as swords to fight of ogres, and such. But when it comes to our lives, being happy, and fulfilling our purpose, we must stay the course.
I once heard a story about a fifteen year old boy with a red star tattoo who worked back breaking labor on a whaling ship. He was born in 1822 and had grown up on Nantucket Island, Mass, living among millionaires from the whalers. His father had done quite well on two expeditions but unfortunately all of this teens hard work didn’t pay out as well. He grew up scraping by in the middle of affluence.He was determined to succeed but realized he needed to find out how, and it would not be by following his father’s footsteps. At 19 he began working as a printer’s apprentice in Boston. Benjamin Franklin was a legendary statesman at the time and this apprentice decided to model his own career after him. But yet again he was not able to succeed with printing the way that Franklin succeeded.
Discouraged but not giving up he asked his brother for some money in 1843 to open up a dry goods store in Mass. For 10 years the man with the red tattoo failed at four retail venture. He stayed the course and instead of considering the previous closing stores as failures he called them learning experiences. In 1851 he opened up yet another store, but this time he offered lower prices for cash purchases in an era when most consumers used credit. He also instituted groundbreaking initiatives in retail from his ten years of ‘ learning’.
In 1858 he moved to New York City to open yet another store on sixth avenue between thirteenth and fourteenth street, which was far north of where other dry goods stores were at the time. Business grew and the man with the red tattoo expanded into neighboring buildings. He made themed exhibits, and illuminated window displays to draw customers. The store also produced its own made-to-order measure clothing for both men and women, assembled in an on-site factory. The store later move to 18th and Broadway which was the elite shopping district of the time. He was the first to bring Santa Clause into the stores during the holidays, and he used his red star tattoo as the emblem of Rowland Hussey Macy’s store; known as the largest store in the world.
Now something’s I have learned from getting lost is I have to pay attention to where I’ve been to get where I want to go. I have to learn to read a map. We might have failures in life like Macy, but if we just don’t give up and stay the course we will get to our destinations.