A 39-year load off of my mind

It was November 2, 1972, my 18th birthday. I was a freshman living in Pomfret Hall at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. When I got home from class that day, the guys in the room next to mine, Scott Mosley and John Sharkey, came to my door with a box for me that had been delivered to their room while I was gone.

It contained a birthday cake, sent to me by my parents who’d had a Fayetteville bakery bake and deliver it. I thanked them, took the cake, went into my room and shut the door. It was months later that I realized I should have offered John and Scott a piece of cake! But by then, I’d moved to an off-campus apartment, and I never saw them again. So for 39 years I’ve felt guilty. Not obsessively so, of course, but it has run through my mind a couple of times a year for each of those 39 years, that on my 18th birthday I was a real jerk!

I had something of an excuse for how I acted that day. You see, on the cake’s box my mom had the baker write, “Happy Birthday, Baby”! I was embarrassed to death that Scott and John saw that (I was the baby of the family, the youngest of three children), and couldn’t get my dorm room door closed fast enough! No excuse, but a sort of explanation.

I’d searched for John and Scott a few times, over the years, but there are lots of John Sharkeys and Scott Mosleys in the world and I never found anything definite, until today. I decided to do a search through LinkedIn, a website where business people make contact with other business people. After some searching I found one John Sharkey, living in Los Angeles, who had a connection to the University of Arkansas. And his LinkedIn photo looked somewhat like the John Sharkey I remember from 40 years ago.

I made contact and it IS him! Upon hearing my story, John said he’s surprised he and Scott didn’t just eat the cake and deny ever seeing it! But in those days in Arkansas, honor was even more important that cake. Through John I’ve now found Scott Mosley. So I’m in the process of finally passing along my apologies and letting them know I owe them each a cake. What’s the bank interest rate on two pieces of cake, compounded daily for 40 years?

So I’ll sleep well tonight, knowing I’ve finally taken steps toward putting right the greatest wrong of my life! I may even have a piece of cake to celebrate.

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