Flashing back to my college days

56184913_ef546925ce This past month or two I’ve thought more about my college days than I
have in the past 30 years. It’s a rogue wave of memories, two
individual waves of activity coming together—getting my firstborn ready
to go off to college himself, and my former college classmates suddenly
discovering Facebook (most are in the Midwest, not quite so accustomed
to living their lives online as those of us in Silicon Valley.). So I
find I’m thinking about college, about those former classmates, about
what it was like then (since I have no idea of what it’s like now).

An example. Like me, my son is going to college in the Midwest, in a place that’s going to be really really cold for the winter. I haven’t taken him shopping for a new wardrobe; I thought about it, but at this point it would be somewhat pointless—not having experienced cold (except on the ski slopes, wearing goggles and a neck warmer), he’d be looking at winter coats with style in mind, not pure warmth. And as I thought about that—flashback—sometime in October, maybe late October. A Saturday night. Walking back to my dorm late at night from a party at another dorm some distance away. A party I dressed up a bit for, so was wearing pants of a slightly thinner fabric than my usual painter’s pants (that dates me). It was cold, but I didn’t get how cold it was until about half an hour after I got back to my room—because it took so long to warm up, wrapped in blankets, boiling water in my little hot pot for hot chocolate—I was still cold for a long time.

Another—I pull into my driveway and see my son sitting on the stoop, playing his guitar. I just added a former classmate, Dave, as a Facebook friend—hadn’t thought about Dave in 30 years, but when I picture him it’s always sitting on the stoop of his fraternity house, playing his guitar. For a minute, looking at my son on the stoop, I’m not sure where I am or what decade it is.

I’m dreaming about college almost every night; the dreams are all mixed up, people I knew then, people I know now, some the age they were then, some now, all suddenly back on campus. But I don’t see my son in those dreams, because I just can’t picture him living on a college campus—yet, anyway.

And, since I’m not taking him to college myself, I’m thinking this feeling of being lost in time and space is going continue until parent weekend in late October, when I finally see my new college student at his school, in his time, in his space, and it all begins to make sense again.

Photo: My old dorm

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