Friday, September 18, 2015

Time and tide

Nearly twenty years ago a woman in one of my classes approached me and asked me if I knew her father.  Her last name was the same as his, but I had not made the connection. When I looked at her I saw my former fraternity brother very clearly in her.  I had also known her mother--they had met in college.  One day the parents came to visit and the four of us-the daughter, parents, and myself reminisced in my office. She, the daughter, got a kick out of hearing how her teacher and parents could have acted sophomorically at one time.

Within the last ten years I have met with parents of prospective students. Our school has become extremely competitive. One of my roles here is to attempt to describe our programs accurately so that we will attract the best and the brightest to Northeastern.  Often the best and the brightest arrive for their visits with their parents so I have had the opportunity to speak with the folks.  I become unnerved at times when I realize that these parents are often several years my junior and it is the exception to find that we are contemporaries.  References to events that were current for my generation are met with glazed, if polite, looks by these--much more often than not--well educated parents.

Yesterday I had a moment.  We had our annual assembly for faculty in our college. I met and spoke a bit to our new faculty explaining my role here. Some of my colleagues did the same.  There was an election for a senate representative--and then there was a party.  At it, I had the occasion to speak for a second time with a new faculty member.  She told me that she had taken five years off after her undergraduate education before pursuing her doctorate.  We talked a bit about where we were from and she discovered that I had gone to elementary school quite close to where her father had grown up in Brooklyn.  She then mentioned the year when her father graduated from high school. The dad--a father of a professor who began graduate school five years after she completed her undergraduate degree--is younger than I am and not by a little.

Oh, well.  I can still do the elliptical for an hour.

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