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Which way to Memory Lane?

by northstar at 05:11 PM on May 29, 2002

One of the things that I discovered during my recent trip to Minnesota is that 20 years is a very long time. As we grow and change, memory tends to become rather elastic. It was fascinating to see how my memories of events from my college days matched up with the memories of my classmates. In some cases, it was as if we werenít even talking about the same events. Perhaps, in the end, we werenít, but Iím not sure that it really made any difference.

It was nice to get away, although the trip wasnít all fun and games. I had to get through a memorial service for a friend and classmate killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. I also discovered that another friend and classmate had survived the attack on the Pentagon, though how he did that is nothing short of a miracle. The nose of the plane that hit the Pentagon passed underneath his office, and poked out of the wall between B & C Rings. To see the picture of the hole left by the nose, and then realize that the office window directly above it was Jimís, well, what CAN you say? Heís got a long recovery ahead of him, but he is alive, thankfully.

When I decided last summer that it would be fun to go to my 20-year reunion, I never expected to be faced with two different and yet vivid reminders of our mortality. I have to admit that I left with a new appreciation for the fragility of life. Indeed, itís true; none of us are going to live forever.

Iím grateful to have had the experience to revisit my college years. I was able to spend a weekend walking down memory lane, and I realized how truly grateful I am for having had the experience. The person I am now is due in large part to the four years I spent at Macalester College. I arrived there a small town kid from the North Woods of Minnesota. I left with a greater degree of maturity, education, and curiosity about the world around me. The curiosity has served me well over the years. More than anything, though, I learned how to learn- and that is something I will always be thankful for.

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