Getting the “ticket”

Near the end of my design school education I had second thoughts about my plan to become an architect. Sharing this with my father, an architect’s architect must have sent him into a panic, albeit a silent one. Always wise, he called a trusted friend and one of the patriarchs of the profession in North Carolina, Tony Lord, to ask for advice.  Dad knew that I remembered a visit with Mr. Lord several years earlier and that I held him in high regard, so when during a subsequent conversation he was able to say, “You know, I told Tony about your decision to go in a different direction. Tony said: ‘John, tell him to just get the ticket now that he is so close, and then go on and do whatever he wants to do later.'”

I “got the ticket” to practice architecture in 1982 and used it proudly for 25 years before I decided to “go in a different direction” several years ago and let it lapse. Tony’s advice was incredibly valuable then, and stays with me today. After a sabbatical to reevaluate my career and my role in the universe I concluded it was time to get the “ticket” back. Today’s mail brought the letter from the Board of Architecture approving my reinstatement (after completing 24 hours of continuing education) and with it, the right and privilege to practice architecture.

I was as giddy reading that letter today as I was in 1982. Thank you dad, and thank you Tony! It’s nice to be back.

The photograph: My stamp with a T-square my father used while an architectural student at Yale, 1939-41.