Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Reminiscing about life

A friend of mine, about my age, called me a few days ago just to trade information. I had seen him last May in his home in Brooklyn and we had, as usual, agreed on most of the things we talked about.
We had both grown up with the events of the 1960s as watershed years. He had graduated from high school two years earlier than I (I graduated in 1961) and left for the university the next year. I was 17 years old, having skipped an elementary school grade.
I joined the Longhorn Band and for the next three years enjoyed that experience as much as I did my course work. I, like my friend, found college invigorating and managed to learn a great deal about writing in literature in the course of getting my BA in English.
These were also the Playboy years. Hugh Heffner just died but his legacy seems to have been to cement the attitude that a successful man plays hard, drinks hard and has all the women he can handle. It is a male point of view in spite of the Playboy philosophy of liberating women.
Fortunately at the single issue price of $1.50, my student budget could not afford a copy, but my roommate often bought one and shared it. I look back on those centerfolds with pleasure, but knowing that the image there is not of real women who care about the things I did.
The election and assassination of John Kennedy was perhaps the major life event for myself and many others. We have not seen since then a man who could inspire people of all faiths and colors to do so much for their country.
I was in Athens when the moon landing occurred and watched at our ambassador’s home with my wife, the ambassador and the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead. I still remember the sound of Neil Armstrong’s voice as he spoke the first words for another small moon in the blackness of space.
As the decade ended, I left for Cyprus. For me, the next 10 years would be as exciting as the 1960s. There are five chapters in my book, “Journey to Ithaca” to show for it.
None of us know the direction that life will take us, but it always promises to be an exciting exploration of what it means to be alive.

Dave Grimland