Sunday, May 25, 2014

Score and a half

Can it have been thirty years ago? On this day in 1984 I was jolted from my dorm bed by the opening guitar chords of Van Halen's "Jump" at top volume and - amazing but true - the sound was so clear I thought for a moment that it must be the Second Coming. In fact it was a check of the sound system for the graduation of the first class of the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West in Montezuma, NM, and our musical offering would be not Van Halen but (amazing again but true) the Beach Boys. It was hilarious. Their attempt to warm up our little crowd - "Anyone here from Czechoslovakia?" etc. - managed to miss the pretty impressive sixty-four nationalities represented in our student body of 200 for several gos. (The graduating class had but forty-six.) But we were feeling no pain, joy mixed with a sort of benumbed terror at having to say goodbye to each other forever. (No virtual reality to soften the blow in those days.) At reunions years later many of us still seemed to bear the scars of the ending of that utopian world - even as we were, after all, seeing each other again. Many of my classmates are going to the reunion in Montezuma later this summer but I think I maxed out at the 20th, though I may be in a different state of mind when the even more inconceivable next one comes!

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