Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time Flies

It was May 15, 1983...

We were wondering what we'd do without MASH on television. The series finale aired a few months prior. The Philadelphia 76ers were NBA champions. "Blue Thunder," "Breathless," "Flashpoint," and "Doctor Detroit" were the four biggest movies at the box office that day. Sally Ride was training to become the first U.S. woman in space. Ronald Reagan was in his first term as president. A stamp cost 20 cents. Unemployment was at 9.6 per cent. We saw our first compact discs. The FCC okayed the testing of something called cellular telephones. "Toto" was on the radio. Crack cocaine had just started to appear in the United States... and I graduated from college!

My 25th reunion is this weekend. Guess who won't be there. It's nothing against the school. I envy those people who developed a strong connection to their college or university. It's not something you can turn on like a faucet. It never happened for me. C'est la vie.

I do go back, for one hour, once for a year. I attend the annual Christmas tree lighting, as has been noted here many times. That's more than enough for me.

So, looking back 25 years, what do I remember? The answer is simple. Not much. I do recall it was a rainy day. The graduation ceremony was moved inside, to the Fine Arts Auditorium. It has another name now. The graduation speaker was someone who told us about world hunger. I don't remember a word she said. I do note that the graduation speaker was ahead of the curve. The world hunger issue had yet to explode in Africa and other troubled places on our little planet.

After the ceremony, I posed for a few pictures, said good bye to a few friends, got the hug of a lifetime from fellow graduate Anne Marie Dugan, dropped by the college radio station for one last time, and that was it. Al Piela, one year younger, was at the radio station. He now sells real estate in Ocean City, MD. Great guy. After a last look around, I said something like "Well, I have to go now." I was serenaded out the door by Al singing "Go Now" by the Moody Blues.

My first moments as a college graduate were spent sleeping. I took a nap when I got home so I could be at work at WARM Radio at midnight. Yes, I didn't even take the day off from work. Note to future graduates: stop and smell the roses.

Life didn't change much. I had been working in radio since I was a sophomore, so I didn't have to look for a job. Thanks to taking a lot of credits in my freshman and sophomore years, and attending class every summer, my course load in my junior and senior years was exceptionally light. I was actually classified as a part time student for the second half of my senior year. The post college transition was a breeze.

One of our assignment editors at WNEP graduates from college this month. She said "It's the end of an era." I reminded her that it's not the end. It's the beginning.

I was lucky. My parents helped me get a good education.

My first "real" job was working weekend overnights at a radio station. 27 years later, I'm still working weekend overnights.

I may be out of college for a quarter of a century, but some things never change.