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bankruptcies. If you are in this category, understandably, you have good reason to
despair. Many others before you throughout America's economic history have faced the
same situation.

Failure can be an all-consuming condition.

In the other camp are those who believe that here in the United States, the land of
opportunity, those trillions will be re-earned, no doubt with a bonus.

Americans who wish to share in those re-earned trillions will pass through the
doorway marked Opportunity. The pessimists, those who believe the trillions
are lost forever, will pass through the door marked Despair.

A mentor of many years past once said, "Left to his own devices, man will enrich himself."
Only in America do so many opportunities exist to do just that.

Some say that failure is not a good enough reason to quit.
History is replete with the stories of those who seemed to have failure written as a fate.

One such person was Milton Hershey of the little town of Derry Church, Pa.

    Milton Hershey, who had dropped out
    of school after grade 4, was
    apprenticed by his parents to a
    printer in Lancaster, Pa. Hershey’s
    dislike for printing led to the
    termination of this pursuit when he
    purposely dropped his hat into the
    printing press.

    His next apprenticeship was for four
    years to a Lancaster candy-maker.

By age 18, Hershey considered himself a confectioner and decided to go out on his own.
The business he started in Philadelphia failed.

"Go West young man" was the call of the day coined by the legendary newsman Horace
Greeley. Milton Hershey went west to Chicago and opened a confectionery shop. He
failed again. Then he moved to New York where his third confectionery business failed.

He returned to Lancaster in 1883 at the age of 26. Following consistent failures, he
established his fourth business, a caramel company, which was a success.

Intrigued by milk chocolate made by the Swiss and Germans, he began experimenting by
mixing milk with chocolate to make it more palatable, to come up with his own recipe.

He marketed the new product by holding up bars of his chocolate candy while
standing on the street corners of Lancaster, Pa. His product became so popular
it sold itself and it was not until 1970 that the Hershey Company started to
advertise.

We now know the little town of Derry Church as Hershey.

A number of Fortune 500 companies were started in such humble places as a garage on
Long Island where DeWitt and Lila Wallace founded
Readers Digest, or the basement of
a home in Newark, Del., where W. L. Gore founded his empire.

One of the most interesting stories arose in New York from the business of three
brothers engaged in making sails.

Gold had just been discovered in California. The year was 1848.

The brothers concluded that the many individuals
involved in the gold rush would need shelter. Tents
would be the obvious choice. One brother was
dispatched to California with a large shipment of
sailcloth to provide shelter for the miners.

On arriving in California, having backpacked the
canvas across the Ismus of Panama, he discovered
that housing was not the problem, inasmuch as an
abundance of timber existed. He observed, how-
ever, that the miners' clothing was in tatters. He began converting sailcloth into clothing.
Rivets replaced the weaker threads of the day to strengthen the pockets.
The clothing
soon became known as Levis. His name was Levi Strauss.

In times of distress, adversity may prove to be a blessing. Adversity has often been
described as a builder of character. There are those who believe that adversity reveals
the character that already exists. Whichever is true, the test of our strengths and
weaknesses are tests of our very being.

The unwritten page of 2009 is awaiting your hand in recording your personal
dreams and aspirations, a transcript of your views on the opportunities of today
and the part you may play in the future.

This may be a watershed moment in your life, especially if you are unemployed as a
result of downsizing of the company for which you once worked. This may give you the
opportunity to re-evaluate your place in life.

    You may not have liked the job you once held. Many
    people do not, and take advantage of an opportunity to
    relocate in a profession or craft they really enjoy. People
    seldom are successful in occupations they don't like.
    Henry Ford said it well, in effect, when he remarked, "If
    you find you love the work you are doing, you will never
    work another day.”

    As you review the page you have just written, examine it
    with care. Make your choices thoughtfully.

    This page may become one of the most important
    pages as you continue writing your book of life.
This GUEST eCOLUMN is
used by MyBestYears.com
with special permission from

E. Ralph Hostetter
, a
crusading newspaper
editor, owner and publisher
for a half-century, and a
champion of individual
liberty.

In his columns Hostetter
consistently warns of the
harmful erosion of our
constitutional rights.

Born and educated in
Maryland, he enlisted in
the U.S. Navy in 1941 and
was assigned in 1943 to
the Naval Reserve Officers
Training Corps at Harvard
University, where he
earned a bachelor of
science degree in 1945.
He was released from
World War II service in
1946 with the rank of
Ensign. Recalled into the
U.S. Navy in 1950 during
the Korean War, he served
as a Naval Intelligence
Officer until released in
1952 with the rank of
Lieutenant, Senior Grade.

Hostetter is chairman and
publisher of American
Farm Publications Inc.,
Easton, Md., and former
president and owner of
TriState Publishing
Company, Elkton, Md., a
chain of 13 community
newspapers.
He was elected to the
Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press
Association Newspaper Hall of
Fame in 1990. The New Jersey
Agricultural Society awarded
Hostetter its highest award, the
Gold Medallion, in 2003.

Hostetter is also Vice
President of the Strasburg
Rail Road Co. (PA),
Chairman of Ambassador
Travel Service (DE),  
Chairman, Southside
Virginia Auto Auction, (VA)
and owner of Camelot East
Farms, Prince Edward
Island, Canada.

Active in civic affairs,
Hostetter is presently a
member of the Board of
Directors of Free
Congress Foundation,
Washington, DC.

In nearly 50 years of travel,
Hostetter has made three
round-the-world trips,
visiting 113 countries,
including traveling to
Antartica, going through
the Northwest Passage on
a Russian ice breaker, and
to the North Pole on an
atomic-powered Russian
ice breaker.

He married the former
Edith White of North East,
Md., in 1947 and they have
five daughters, one son
and 13 grandchildren.
E. RALPH HOSTETTER
   ...Your Unwritten Pages of 2009

America faces a new year and a yet-to-be written page
in history. What the citizens of the nation write on this
page of 2009 will affect generations to  come.

With a deepening recession at hand, two camps of
thought are developing. In one camp are those who
despair. In the other, a smaller camp, are those who
see
opportunity.

The facts are that trillions have been lost in the stock
market, mortgage foreclosures and business
Comments? Feedback?

Email MyBestYears GUEST eCOLUMN
Ralph Hostetter welcomes comments by email.
Send to
eralphhostetter@yahoo.com