Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ah Yes, I Remember It Well...

Spent a good chunk of the day at my former students' alumni reunions.   I've grown to like this kind of gig far better than I ever expected to.  Far more people that I'm glad to see than that I want to avoid. It seems the ones whom I really couldn't  abide, or who couldn't abide me, pretty much stay away. Why,  I  wonder?  Or is it just that we all sand down these old memories and recall everything as more mellow than it was?  Further evidence for the same view: there always a couple of encounters in which you get told what a wonderful fellow you were from somebody you don't know from Adam.  It always makes me think of the fine old Tom Stoppard radio play--Where Are They Now?--about the guy who just can't quite make his reunion memories match up and discovers at last that he is at the wrong reunion.

We all have our share of these stories.  I'm certain in my own mind that the first time I met the to-be Mrs. Buce, I told myself "my god, the lady Windexes her glasses."  She says that the threat of having her fingernails pulled out would not have been enough to induce her to wear glasses on a first date.  With this caution in mind, I inventory some possible memories, or maybe not.  So, I remember:
  • The Hurricane of '38.   We went out gazed on the uprooted apple tree, and went in and ate scrambled eggs.  I  have heard repeated ironclad assurances that I can't possibly remember this one (I would have been two) but I do.
  • Pearl Harbor.  My father was out putting up storm windows.  The trouble with this one is that I don't think anyone in New Hampshire would have waited until December to put up storm windows (as distinct from simply not putting them up at all).
  • The Normandy Invasion.  Since I heartily wished that the grownups would get this uproar over before I reached draft age, I greeted this one with great approval.
  • VJ Day.  We banged on pots and had a parade.
  • Kennedy Assassination.  Stunned and horrified, just like everyone else.
  • 9-11.  I woke up and flipped on the TV;  I thought I was watching a bad movie.
And some I don't:
  • VE Day.  Oddly, no.  I had followed the troops on the map in the newspaper.  I guess maybe it was an anti-climax.
  • John Lennon.  Sorry 'bout that.
  • Where I left my car keys, and I have to find them so I can go  to another alumni party.

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