Yup, that’s me on the far left. Having tasted the elixir of freedom for the first time, I grew my hair and downgraded my fashion sense. Ironically, I and my dear colleagues were in the height of fashion and coolness.
This pic is the closest thing I may have to my 20th year. It was taken in 1973 when I was 22, but it doesn’t really matter. Looking back, that was a mere blip in my life. Back then, it was an endless uphill climb toward graduation that year.
Oh, St. John’s. Each and every day was a challenge to overcome the resistance of professors and instructors who rebelled against our rebellion. We were mean to them. We would not listen to their hours, their regulations, and we fell under the influence of the dreaded SDS, who were the Students for a Democratic Society (where are they now?). Sort of the White Panthers of the time. We were diametrically opposed to the efforts of our campus-based military recruiters, and we let them know it.
I was living at home, working in business offices in NYC on my off time (the clothes I wore also were the opposite of my student attire), not sure what I would be doing once sprung from what I didn’t appreciate at the time.
I should have been nicer to my teachers. I should have engaged the Jesuits in more conversation because of my deep interest in comparative religion and philosophy. To my credit, it wasn’t drugs or alcohol that drove my ambition. it was finding a medium and a skill that could sustain me.
Face it, Jo. You were clueless. The good times were a farce, a cover for the lack of parental and family guidance and support at a crucial time. Friends and mentors took the place of thoughtful analysis of my needs and comfort. My boundaries were wavy gravy. My home was a nest of nettles.
Despite the challenges of my 20’s, my outcome was successful, and I can look back on the good times and now realize that I did it my way. I found my way in the world and am perfectly content to write and create and grow, and never stop.
These are good times, and these will always be good.