Stan on growing up in the Family Circus

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Family Circus is and has always been my favorite comic strip in the funny pages. The family has a very pretty mother, a smart daddy who wears glasses, five very young children close in age, and a dog named Sam among other pets. Probably because it always hits close to home.

The mom, like my wife Carol, is very pretty. I wear glasses, just like the dad. And our children, close in age, were born within six years. We all grew up together with a black Labrador retriever named — you guessed it — Sam.

Please not that I said we all grew up together. Carol was only 26 years old and I was 27 about to be a daddy for the fourth time. Growing up with them were the best years of our lives. From infants to toddlers to teenagers, we played together, studied together, traveled together, and then, one at a time, they became adults looking at the different colleges and universities.

At first one went off to college. Then it was two. A short time later it was three and at one time, for one year, we had our four adults in college.

Every time I looked at Carol she was sitting at the table balancing her checkbook. It wasn’t easy and I’m not crying but putting four kids through seven private schools was a pretty expensive time of my life. Was it worth it? I won’t brag about the Gershbein four. I’ll stick to some national numbers.

From an article in the New York Times: college graduates in the eighties earned an average of 64 percent more per hour than non-college workers. That number has been steadily climbing. Let’s update it to last year. In 2013, Americans with four-year college degrees earned 98 percent more per hour than workers without degrees.

In the words of pitchman Sid Stone, “You say you’re not satisfied. You say you want more for your money.”

Okay, here goes. The cost of a college education continues to rise, but according to a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a U.S. college graduate can expect to earn about $800,000 more over his lifetime than the average high school graduate. Those are today’s numbers. That number will continue to climb. So I ask you, is college worth it?

You betcha!

• • •

I truly understand the noble military premise of no soldier left behind. The only question I have is, at what price?

I don’t get it. My president traded five first-round draft picks for a possible deserter, five kings for one pawn. But what is he doing about the marine who did serve with honor and distinction and is now rotting in a Mexican jail? I am asking each of you to please forward that question to the Please let me know if you receive a response.

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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