Wednesday, November 14, 2012



Remembering back, I had this teacher who wasn’t very good, taught by the book and hoped the class would just read and answer all the questions correctly. She once told us to give up dreams as they never come true, and it would behoove us all to cracks the books, listen to her, and get better grades.

I was young and easily impressed. She neither impressed, nor excited me to learn anything. When I told my grandpa what she said, he laughed. I often talk about my grandpa because he left such an incredible imprint on my life and most of his input invariably turned out to be factual and true. He told me to dream big and never let anyone stop me from achieving my goal.

The world is full of dreamers. Some actually dream the dream and let it go at that. Others take the dream to a new level and attempt to make it happen. A select few reach higher and live the dream.

When I started driving, I bought a car that had blown the clutch and sat on the car lot for over a year. I kept stopping by to look at it knowing it was out of my price range. The price dropped one day, and I had to ask. I had dreamt of driving that car for a long time, but couldn’t quite come to terms of ever owning it. The owner told me about the clutch, and I boldly told him I could fix it. He said that would never happen but sold the car to me anyway. It cost thirty-five dollars, what he would have gotten from the junkyard. He admitted he was dumping the car, but if I really wanted it, it was mine.

I was sixteen and didn’t own a car, so a friend helped me tow it home. My treasure was quite beautiful and original 1946 Ford coupe. My father laughed and told me he’d give it a month, either fix it or tow it to the junkyard because he didn’t want it sitting in our backyard. My grandpa told me to visit the local garage and ask questions, so I did. I drove the mechanic, who also owned the repair shop nuts. Finally, out of desperation, he told me to come in after the shop closed, and he’d show me what I had to do. After he mentioned I had to drop the entire rear end out and remove the transmission to get to the clutch, the dream of driving the car slipped further away. I was about to admit it was a mistake when grandpa made the task of fixing the car sound like fun. I asked the mechanic if I could rent his shop at night, so I could work on the car. He was curious and agreed to my request.

I bought a repair book, towed the car to the garage and started to work. I had a dream and the more I worked on that car the closer the reality of that dream became. It took one month and two days. Every morning I had to pull the car out of the garage and pushed it against the wall until he closed. Then we’d push it back inside and go to work. A friend helped. He laughed a lot, held wrenches and flashlights but refused to get his hands dirty. The repair book warned about releasing the springs and that warning saved my life. When the bolt came out, the spring was released and slammed to the ground with such force is left an imprint. The new clutch cost me nine dollars. It went right in just like the book said it would. Putting the car back together was much easier than taking it apart.

Grandpa and the mechanic watched when I lowered the car, got in and started it. I pressed the clutch in, put the car in reverse, and it purred from the garage to a standing ovation. All the mechanics, customers and a few strangers who had heard about my car and the story of what I wanted to do. The mechanic stared me right in the eye and nodded in agreement with my grandpa, dreams to come true with a little elbow grease. I drove my forty-four dollar car for six wonderful months and then met this guy who loved my car more than his. He drove a 1940 Ford Coupe, and it was as clean as mine, only older and far cooler. He bought my car and gave me his. I kept that one for years and drove it up Pikes Peak on my honeymoon.

Grandpa taught me a tough lesson. You can dream but there comes a time you need to do something to fulfill it. You can dream of owning a new pair of tennis shoes or save and strive to buy a pair.

As you get older, the yearning grows and so do the needs. Education becomes paramount, and some can’t afford to get one. Well, that’s not true. For those who don’t have rich parents or relatives the dream of a college education is still possible. You just might have to work your way through it. If the dream is strong enough, you’ll do it.

Dreams create success. They mold your being and create character. Dreams are not meant to be broken or out of reach. Sometimes we dream big, and that’s okay too. The bigger the dream the more expansive the desire and goals become. Dream high and then reach higher with expectations.

It might start with an education, graduate into clothes, housing and a job. You can dream about that job too. What’s in your heart? What do you really want to do with your life? The key phrase here is “really want” as that defines what’s in your heart not necessarily what’s in your head. You can use that clutter in the head, but the heart drives you to happiness. A happy dreamer is someone who smiles often, lives life daily, fulfills the goals one at a time and knows if there are limitations. A realist, who perfects dreams, is rare but when the two meet it's not only doable but usually very successful as well.

The odds against us are at times insurmountable, and yet they alone should never stop you from trying. Grandpa once told me no one had ever promised me success at anything. Success, if you are self-made, comes from hard work. Can you do it? Of course you can.

Regardless of what someone asked me, my answer was yes. Can you ride a horse? My answer was yes I can. If I didn’t know how, I took a crash course. As an actor I was asked if I could drive a minor stunt vehicle. I said I could and I did. One producer complained about a script scene. The writer sold his script outright and was long gone. His original work was re-written by half a dozen guys and none were professional writers, so I told them I could straighten it out, and I did. I got an agent when I was told it was impossible, waited 12 hours to meet a director and got the job. I sought help from a major star and a big time editor, and they agreed to do it. I was a dreamer who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Can you own a nice car, big home or earn a substantial income? Yes, you can. If I had thought along the way that something was impossible, my book of life would have many blank pages. I like to help others, offer a bit of advice now and then and have never learned how not to reach beyond the stars. As an actor I’ve had a ball. Was I a star, no that didn’t stop or discourage me? As a screenwriter I’ve had wonderful success. Again, have I ever written a blockbuster runaway hit? No, but some of my films have great reviews, are loved all over the world and most have been financially successful, and the same goes for filmmaking and novel writing. As a film director and producer, I’ve done the impossible, turned small ideas into bigger ones and have an excellent track record. The novels have been rewarding and enormous fun. I have a super fan base, have found my author’s voice, received rewarding reviews and have created lots of smiles. It’s fun to bring some happiness into many lives, and nice that it all started from a dream.

The salient point is it doesn’t matter what others think of you or the negative things they might say about you, never let anyone speak for you or on your behalf. Be your own person. Do what your heart desires. Be happy, smile often, share frequently, walk slowly through life and enjoy every step taken.

My grandfather stated you start with a dream and then build life from there. While he said this to me before Martin Luther King, Jr. famous 1963 speech I HAVE A DREAM, grandpa’s advice was right on. The great Civil Rights Baptist minister had a much broader dream that spoke of hope and togetherness, and it still resonates with some of the same meanings my grandpa instilled in me early on.

I have always had a dream and still do, and yes that aspiration is obtainable regardless of the obstacles that tumble before you.

William Byron Hillman © 2012
Book Links:
Quigley’s Christmas Adventure (late November 2012)
Veronique and Murray:
Zebra’s Rock and Me

Rollie Kemp Books
Ghosts and Phantoms Part I:
Ghosts and Phantoms Part II:
Coming soon: Rollie Kemp’s 4th thriller - Bad Rap (January 2013)