As you read this, or I guess before you start reading the rest of this… put on some great ’80s music. Whatever stood out for you in college… There is a compiled list in Part 2 to remind you of what you may have loved back in the day… and probably still love now.
So go ahead, we’ll wait for you to drop the needle, dig out the 8-track or cassette, or yes, your very first CD. Mine was Paul McCartney’s Give My Regards To Broad Street and I am not quite sure why. I love Maca, but an odd choice for my first EVER CD purchase.
Nostalgia… Is it a sign of age or maturity? Or perhaps both?
Do we all think the time we grew up in was the best time of our lives?
Does the music we listened to between high school and college forever define our tastes or at least give us a favorite, comfort food-kind-of musical jukebox, history?
These are the questions swimming through my mind, as I sit back at home in the LA area, recently returned from a whirlwind 4 ½ days in Evanston and Chicago.
Well… okay… There are many other questions filling my thoughts, like what do I want to do when I grow up… is it too late for med or law school… and wow, people are so much more accomplished than I am… but that is for another discussion, and most likely for someone sitting in a chair with a pad, as I sit on the couch across from them. No, I have never laid down…
This past weekend was… damn it, I’ll just say it… my 25th college reunion.
There was a degree of mental preparation that went into it. I suppose there always is with a reunion… That and a weight loss bet with my buddy, Andrew. I beat him by 3/10 of a pound, and then proceeded to gain five pounds back in 4 1/2 days! Adding back meat, sugar, bread and booze will do that… quickly. Forget the Freshman 15… this was the Reunion 5!
Before you leave, you ask the requisite questions… Do I look okay? Have I done enough? Why have I not finished that novel yet? Sorry, I still have the vanity of an actor.
But then you get back, the anxieties fade, and the friendships reconnect with grace and ease. It’s an amazing thing. So many incredible people and so many you actually know and remember and LIKE. Perhaps an advantage of going to a somewhat smaller school or perhaps just the makeup of Northwestern University and why it is so unique. A small school near a big city in a big conference. Go B1G TEN!
The weekend adds itself nicely, wonderfully, to four plus years of memories, and creates new ones that will hopefully last as long.
Walking around the idyllic campus of NU is invigorating and life affirming. While I am saddened at how many details and stories are lost to a bad memory, images, snippets and scenes from my life’s movie start hitting me at random times… like film trailers or commercials firing off in my brain.
Most college students would say they spent their formative years on campus, their wonder years… and yes, I would say I had the time of my life… Cue music.
The campus of NU is an ever-changing landscape, with some astounding new buildings rising up in front of me. The small, once dry and yes, dreadfully boring town of Evanston is now a true, college town with a Whole Foods, great restaurants and bars, and options we never had. Can anyone say graduate school late in life???
Buffalo Joe’s disappointed in the wings I remember loving… but the Cheddar Char Burger was as good as I recall… maybe better. A late night stop at Hecky’s to drown our sorrow in ribs, rib tips and brisket made me realize how LA BBQ is pretty much just a facade… an imitation of the real thing. Though I do need to try Compton’s own Bludso’s, with a new location in West Hollywood.
If I had the chance to do it again, now… in the year 2013… hell yes, I would.
So every five years or so we get to come back… more if we have a kid in school here. I don’t… yet… But that is a slap to the brain and way to contemplate at the moment!
It’s an escape. The capturing or re-capturing of a moment in time… And yes, an attempt to return to the past… to perhaps put yourself back on the course you set out on, as a wide-eyed, innocent kid. Just follow the purple brick road… Follow the purple brick road.
We all ask the same questions… over and over again… Where are you now? What are you doing? How many kids and how old?
It feels a bit like speed dating or multiple job interviews crammed into an overcrowded and loud room… and a way too short and quickly over weekend… but the honesty and sincerity is there. We truly want to know… and to a person, we realize that this class, the Class of ’88 are really quite decent and kind and cool. That goes for people’s spouses, too. It’s amazing how easily many of us just pop back into the old friendships, the old dynamics, and for some, after a 20-25 year gap! (Note to self, stop using the word, old.)
It was a hell of a few days… but hard not to want to run out of the street after yelling “car”, and shout even louder, “Do Over!”
So what does a Reunion mean? To me, it’s partly this…
Feel free to add your own “re”s…
Thanks to all of my amazing classmates for a truly remarkable weekend… and for your help in compiling the soundtrack of our days at NU! Hail to purple, hail to white, hail to thee Northwestern.
The music is in Part 2. This one got away from me.