The habit of walking every day is a cultivated one and I come by it naturally. My first steps were in front of my mother and father and brother, then gradually that circle widened to include relatives, friends and neighbors.
It was a half-mile, six block walk to the Wyomissing grade school on Wyomissing boulevard. It was another half-mile home for lunch. Back for the afternoon and home after school made it two miles a day. The corners of my mind have in the vault a movie of my mother, instructing me to look both ways before crossing the street and what to do if a stranger approached me. I was blessed to live in a safe and serene community that afforded a walk that let me take in nature and pleasant scenery along the way and go with my friends.
When I was in high school, we had moved. It was to the bus stop I walked – again about a half mile on a country road to the bus stop at Heidelberg and Sheidy road, where the orange-yellow Bluebird would fetch us. Our driver had radio on board. Our driver drove fast to stay on schedule. Looking back on it, I wonder that we never had a wreck on those winding back roads with scarcely any shoulder.
Later in adolescence, it was not peers or family who had the most impact on how I formed my life. I was often seeking to emulate adults with experience in the world and in worlds other than my own. The one with the Golden Recipe for life was a statesman, Senator William Proxmire, who wrote or was quoted to the effect: Walk every Day. Walk in the cold, walk in the rain, walk through a storm. It is the daily discipline that matters. Walk even if you don’t feel like it. Walk every day.