When you see the many jokes about graduation, remember they are just jokes. Finishing your education is clearly an accomplishment to be proud of, when you consider the many folks who do not get the opportunity. As his daughter graduates this year, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart thinks back to his own medical school graduation in 1979 and what it meant to his father.
He was the most brilliant fruit peddler in the history of fruit peddling, the smartest man I ever knew. Deprived of a high school education when the Nazis raided his town of Klodowa, he came to America years later as an apprehensive, thickly accented refugee from the unspeakable horrors of Europe. Despite many years in America, the emotional scars were still there. He had a sense of inferiority and was intimidated by those around him who had an education. He was always socially self-conscious, acutely afraid of standing out for his lack of accomplishments. Within his circle of family and friends, dad was proud of who he was and what he had overcome. We knew he was proud of us, too.