Friends of Yesteryear

Yesterday’s post about the value of a liberal arts education in a STEM world sent me tripping merrily down Memory Lane to my college days in upstate New York.  This set me to wondering what happened to the colorful cast of characters with whom I hung around back then.

Most of my partners in crime worked on the college newspaper with me.  We were a tight little club, or so I thought.  We did a lot of things together, but studying definitely was not one of them.  In fact, more than a few of us did as little studying as possible.  I’m not sure about the others, but I have no idea how I managed to graduate at all, much less on time.

Once we escaped, it wasn’t that easy to keep up with my widely scattered cohorts.  After all, we didn’t have the internet back then.  I did manage to gather some of the crowd for one last hurrah about a year after graduation.  On July 20, 1981, we had a big bash at my parents’ house, with college friends driving in from all over the tri-state area.  It seemed that anyone who I called or wrote to knew the whereabouts of someone else and thus the word got around.

After that, many of us did the usual things involving marriages, kids and careers, and I lost track of just about everyone.  Back when I was on Facebook, I’d occasionally see one or two.  One who I knew only slightly turned up at a Scrabble tournament that I attended several years ago.  Other than that, it’s pretty much a great big blank.

So I decided to do an online search to see if I could discover anything about where they are today.  Well, my first surprise was how easy it was to find them.  Many of them showed up in about two seconds because they have their own websites.  The following is a summary of my findings:

  • The one who lived in my hometown has her own business as an educational consultant.  After college, she joined the Peace Corps and spent time in Africa.  In her absence, I visited her mother on numerous occasions, particularly after her son (my friend’s brother) died of a drug overdose.
  • Two of them run their own companies, specializing in marketing businesses on the web and doing graphic design on websites.

  • At least one succeeded in our dream of being journalists; he is a bureau chief for a major newspaper.

  • One is a counselor in the mental health field.

  • One became a lawyer and now works as an assistant district attorney.

  • A couple of them who have their own companies hired several others of my acquaintance to work for/with them.

  • There were a few whom I was unable to immediately find, either because their names are common or because the sands of time have erased their names from my aging mind.

But the result of my research that shocked me most of all is that our work as budding journalists so long ago has not disappeared.  Thanks to the advantages of modern technology and the efforts of the university library, just about every issue of our twice weekly college newspaper has been scanned and is available to the public online.  And here I thought the fruits of our all-night labors so long ago had been lost to the ages.

I may not know what happened to all of my college buddies, but I do know that our nascent journalistic endeavors of nearly forty years ago live on.