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Archive for June 2, 2013

June 2, 2013 — The Red Book, Part 11

One in a series.

As I got off the bus taking us back from the reunion-ending party, just about everything I saw evoked a memory of some sort.

Everything from the presence of those omnipresent white tents, the rhododendrons, and even the stairs leading from the plateau in front of the library to the Tercentenary Theater evoke memories.

The last few days have been all about a series of conversations.

There were chats with classmates and roommates I had not seen in a quarter century.

There was the conversation I had with the women’s soccer player who drove me from my dorm to the parking garage.

There were the recurring late-night talks with the undergraduate babysitter who was looking for a thesis topic.

There was the visit I had with a classmate in the museum which had an amazing collection of renderings of plant species, all made out of blown glass more than 100 years ago.

There was the panel talk on global health; I had volunteered to be on the panel, but I wound up firing the first question, one which had a lot to do with my current work. And at least one panel member was suitably impressed.

There was the talk earlier this morning with a classmate who told me of the recurring memories of an event that happened to her at the end of freshman week.

There was the helpful bank teller who was able to explain the odd behavior of the cash machine, which would not allow me to withdraw the correct amount of money.

There was the lacrosse player who agreed with me about how the Tewaaraton committee got their votes wrong the last two years.

There was the clerk at the tobacconist who sold me a couple of business-card holders and offered me a cigar (it will be put to good use, but not via my lungs).

There was the person on the mobile phone who cued me in to the fact that there was, indeed, a West Coast Swing dance next door to the opening reception on Wednesday.

I had a wonderful conversation with an administrator at the campus women’s center, who told me of a swing dancer of note who ran the place.

There was the woman who told me that she credited me for being a friend in a time when she did not feel as though she had many at the school.

I shook the hand of my first-semester computer science teacher and told him that I use his method of showing the exponential expansion of computer speed, usage, and capacity, and that I figured out that it would take 38 million Aiken Mark 1 computers from 1949 in order to make the equivalent of an iPhone 4.

There was the classmate who always dressed down, but looked absolutely fabulous for the closing dinner — “I never wear a dress,” she told me.

There was the hockey player who was impersonated by a notorious scam artist who fleeced women in bars around Boston by pretending to be famous athletes.

There was the walk our class had through an honor guard of undergraduates; I high-fived as many as I could, and looked them in the eye, saying, “Make a difference.”

I reconnected with people who have had amazing successes in life. Television presenters, the producer of a highly-rated cable news show, the head of a powerful publishing firm, and a gentleman whose name is on the Stanley Cup.

And there were the writers. An advice columnist, a couple of editors, an expert on vaccines, and a multimedia artist who inspired me to improve my photographic eye.

Some of the most poignant conversations that were most memorable were ones that I only heard half of. These were the conversations over Skype; a couple of classmates couldn’t make it so I used the campus WiFi and my iPod in order to make it happen.

And there were the conversations I had at the end of the memorial service. I talked with an undergraduate who happens to be the niece of the classmate who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001. She worked the reunion with an unabashed enthusiasm that made me feel I was back at home.

This, as the presence of our class all had to be a reminder of her late uncle.

I’ll have more on that next week.