In Reference to the Poem: DONíT QUIT
Hi Frank and Mary,
I guess the best part to start is at the beginning . Back in 1972 I was a 23 year old attending college at Texas Western College ( now known as UTEP ) in El Paso, Texas. Besides carrying a full 15 hour class schedule during the day I was also working the 3pm to 11 pm shift at a Circle K convenience store .
The store was located in a neighborhood called " Tigua " and during the later hours of the shift there were sometimes not very many customers at the store. During one of those nights I jotted down the basic structure of the poem on some small blue notepad sheets that we used to document petty cash payments to customers for returnable bottles.
At the time that I wrote the poem I remember thinking that most people have times in their lives where they struggle but that everyone needs to keep the faith and things will work out.
Nothing happened with the poem for several years, no one had even seen the poem until many years later.
In 1973 I graduated from college and in June, 1974 I began working for Child Protective Services with the State of Texas. A few years later I had shown the poem to some fellow employees and I believe it was four different persons asked for a copy of it.
Some time after that the poem appeared in a publication of the agency. When I contacted the public relations person to see if she had any information about "Don't Quit" she stated a local businessman had sent them the poem with a note that he had seen it in a publication of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland and that it had inspired him greatly during rough times when he attended college there. He also stated he had the poem printed on the back of his insurance business cards.
In the middle 1980's I was a supervisor with Child Protective Services. I submitted my original version to our agency newsletter and it was printed with " Sammy Candelaria " listed as the author. I have a copy of that newsletter.
I only wrote the original version . I do not know if the verses added on to the original were a separate existing poem or if someone else wrote that after they saw the original. I know also that several persons are attempting to take credit for this poem. I do not quite understand the reasons or motivation for this.
I do feel proud of my original version , and I feel honored that so many persons enjoy the words and message and that it has become an everlasting work.
Oh by the way , I have submitted a different poem called " Butterfly " that is the first poem featured in the book " Timeless Voices " published by the International Library of Poetry.
I have enjoyed sharing this information with you and thank you so much for asking.