At Johnson Shut-Ins State Park in the eighties. A group of revelers dived from cliffs to churning waters below. A familiar refrain rang out. “In the midst of rolling prairies, ‘neath fair skies of blue, stood our noble alma mater…”
It seemed out of place. A product of my errant imagination. College days, all school hikes, college pranks, relegated to yesteryear. Other than the same alma mater, there was little in common with the celebrants. I’d married, had family responsibilities. Served a hitch in the Air Force, had my first real job.
At that time, I was torn. Should I introduce myself as an alum? Would they respect that? Or, should I leave them alone to enjoy their moment? I chose the latter.
I visited college on leave, in uniform, in the early seventies. Was hesitant to do so, because of the Vietnam era. It was late afternoon, not much activity at the student union. One of my favorite college professors was there. We had a pleasant conversation and coffee.
From the perspective of a seventy-plus year old, it hadn’t been that long. Not much more than a decade later. So many life-changing events happened during that decade.