Forty Year Observations

The memory should be specially taxed in youth, since it is then that it is strongest and most tenacious. But in choosing the things that should be committed to memory the utmost care and forethought must be exercised; as lessons well learnt in youth are never forgotten. Arthur Schopenhauer

I do believe in my last post I promised not to write more about my college reunion, it appears I was mistaken. Offered for your consideration several random observations and bits of a oft told story or two.

First, I would like to say to all those many hundreds of thousands of music lovers out there who tend to say: "I like all kinds of music except rap" or "I love any type of music but none of the twangy country." Well I want to offer for your consideration that when you share a hotel for an entire weekend with a barbershop quartet convention; you will definitely change your mind about your musical exception. Sweet Adeline can put you into a diabetic coma from several rooms away.

One of my friends observed this weekend that graduating students from the sixties seemed to fall into three groups: those who did not have a master plan for their lives; those who did and actually followed that plan and by far the largest group: those who had a plan followed the plan and are now on plan #2, #3 or #19. I, myself, am the poster boy of the first group, having no idea who I was or what I was going to do. I believe I now also qualify as a card carrying member of the third group as well, being that I am now on my twenty-somethingth career. These may be more universal traits of all youthful graduates but methinks the late 60s and early 70s produced a lot more young people who kept looking for their path long after commencement.

I've got several more interesting "career twist" stories from the weekend but I think they belong in a short story not here. What I am fascinated by are the people who every five years really enjoy a cocktail party, a box lunch, a class photo and a bad hotel rubber chicken dinner with old friends versus those classmates who never come back to campus and who actually have told me via phone and facebook that the entire idea of talking with a friend not seen in 40 years is downright frightening.

What is nostalgia and how much of it remains logged in fantasy and the midsts of memory, not to be ripped into the light of reality by seeing friends now wrinkled and worn with the living of the intervening forty years. Our gang had a great time and anticipate our 45th reunion just around the corner. We expect the Boston and Washington contingents to show up in '14.


photo credit: archives