Glory Days

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 Summer comes to a close this weekend and I, for one, say “good riddance!”  While this may not be a popular opinion, I stand by it.  Perhaps it’s because I tend to sweat profusely and am, therefore, not a friend of heat and humidity.  Autumn is my favorite time of year and I cheerfully look forward to experiencing the chill in the air, the changing of the leaves, the fall TV season, the rotating of the sweaters from the back of the closet.
Although I have been happily ensconced in the work force for 25 years, I still associate fall with back-to-school time.  I’m one of those geeks who loved returning to class, getting new school supplies, embracing academia.  I didn’t have that St. Elmo’s Fire struggle with young adulthood when I graduated from college, but I did feel immediate nostalgia for my school days. In fact, I cried like a baby when I left campus for the last time.
With all my worldly possessions crammed into the back of the Chrysler Laser my brother Dave had leant me for my senior year (he’s a class act), I made the three hour drive from my graduation festivities to attend my brother Clint’s MBA commencement ceremony.
I was innocently driving along when Bruce Springsteen‘s “Glory Days” came on the radio.  Realizing that a certain chapter of my glory days was, indeed, behind me, I started crying so hard that I had to pull over on the shoulder of the Indiana Toll Road until I could collect myself. Once I felt confident that I was able to drive safely, I merged back onto the highway to continue my expedition.
Another twenty miles down the road, that same cruel radio DJ played Eddie Money‘s “I Wanna Go Back.” As I sang along to the chorus — “I wanna go back and do it all over but I can’t go back I know” — I was once again overcome with emotion and had to pull over until my sobs subsided.  This was not a proud moment for a twenty two year old with the ink still fresh on his diploma.
Just when I was in the homestretch and thought I could make it to my brother’s without experiencing another emotional breakdown, the radio picked up a different local station and I was treated to Lulu‘s classic “To Sir, With Love.”  When she sang, “The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end.  And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend,” I had to pull over for a third time.  This time I cried so hard that my shoulders shook and I had to blow my nose profusely.  Springsteen and Eddie Money were one thing, but Lulu?  What had become of me?
All cried out, I was able to complete my little road trip and begin my journey into adulthood.
I honestly don’t think I’m one of those people who peaked in college.  I believe that life is a crescendo and keeps getting better year after year.  That said, I still get a lump in my throat every time I hear one of those three songs that I’ll always associate with the glory days of college and that tearful road trip.
Animal House
Legally Blonde
Revenge of the Nerds

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