Post-Reunion Musings.

Post-Reunion Special Report.

Thursday, 19 October 2006, 2:30 p.m.

Today’s mail brought a flyer from my alumni association expressing “profound pleasure” at the results of my university class’s 40th anniversary fund raising drive.  The results were rather astonishing. Seventy-five percent of my class, 498 folks, gave almost $6.5 million bucks.  An average gift of $12,903.  Most of my college colleagues have done quite well for themselves apparently.  The news of my class’s exceptional generosity did not trigger warm fuzzy nostalgia.  It put me in a bit of a funk.  Forty years have passed and though scars may fade, they never disappear.  I scanned the list of donor names.  Not looking for mine, of course, I didn’t contribute this time and my infrequent gifts of $20 or $40 designated to the fencing team pale in comparison to the mighty cash machine my class has become.  Naturally, my paltry giving history has not deterred my alma mater from seasonal dunning campaigns.  I forgive them; they are ignorant of my finances.  I just might have millions stashed away.

With the exception of one roommate, not a single name brought to mind a face, nor a happening either happy, sad, conventional or outrageous.

T. O. Jones-BMOC?  But then again T. B. Jones and T. C.  Jones were also donors; do I really remember any Jones at all?

Michael A.-was he on the fencing team with me?  How about Peter B.?  Were Karl and I the only seniors on the fencing team?  Not likely.

 Richard C.-that name sounds familiar.

J. H. B. IV (deceased)-how did he manage a donation?

Kenneth C. B. & S. Madnik-perpetual student politicians (I think).  Or am I confusing S. Madnik with M. Melnik?

C. A. or was it H. A. Smith, were they once lab partners? or was it Stuart S.?  Was it Stuart who was the first Jew I had ever met?

Lundquist-now there’s a name I remember, but why?

Rasmussen’s name triggers a face, but it’s a face from high school-that Rasmussen, his dad was a German missile engineer out at White Sands.

Of my three freshman year roommates, my closest comrades in shared trials and tribulations, M. K. was a giver but neither H. H. McP.  nor M. T. Of course, one can forgive M.T. the omission, he didn’t manage to graduate.  Our little group only managed 33% participation.  Since all freshmen schedules were 80% identical …   We were compatible enough to continue to room together our sophomore year, perhaps the first time in history anyone chose to remain in the infamous freshmen “quad” rooms.  

I recall intense relationships.  Twenty-year olds are intense sorts.  Some of my classmates I knew as slobs, snobs,    funny, smart-very smart-    

Surely some of these folk were more than faces in a crowd?  Did I really manage to interact on a daily basis with several hundreds of people and none make a dent?  I think so.  My only non-curricular involvement to speak of was on the fencing team.  With a competition schedule that started in the fall and went through the spring, I had time for little else.  In fact, my closest friend at school was my co-captain our senior year.  He was younger than me but otherwise close.  From New Mexico, on the fencing team, and like me, a physics major.  The one person I’ve actually looked up after graduation and got a little drunk together.  He’s already died.  He’s not on the list.

I already felt isolation at the Junior Prom—married and living off campus, my wife and I were assigned seating at a catchall “Off campus residence” table-we didn’t know anyone there but we didn’t know anyone else either.  I can’t even remember my old roommates attending.  It was a lonely sort of feeling compared to my high school memories of 4-years earlier.

My wife and I were involved with a young adult’s group at an urban church.  It did matter-sailing on the catamaran, retreat in western mass.

MIT is full of loners and misfits.  It attracts them

Words! Mere Words! Was there anything so real as words? - Dorian Gray