Thursday, January 24, 2008
How much do people really change?
It was 41 years ago this month that we started the second semester of our senior year at Woodson.
Some of us were excited about our basketball team, the year after the Cavaliers made it to the state quarterfinals. Others were rehearsing for "Extrazaganza" or getting ready to try out for "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."
Those of us in the band were preparing for competition, learning the extremely difficult "Overture Candide." And once a week at lunch time, I was getting together with nine other guys to practice for the appearance three of us would make on "It's Academic."
I don't remember very many of those nine. I know Roger Pasternak and Ray Redd were the other two guys who actually went on the show, and Thom Smith was our alternate. I know my good friend Gary Oleson was one of the other six, but that's all I can remember.
It was an interesting year. I remember nearly every night before going to bed, listening to WBZ out of Boston, WKBW out of Buffalo, CKLW out of Windsor, Ontario, or WCFL ("The Voice of Labor") out of Chicago for my nightly rock 'n' roll fix.
There weren't any girls in my life that year. My long-time friend Tracy Antley had transferred away, and mostly what I remember about that year was the unbridled teenage lust I felt for my French teacher.
Of course there were the lovely majorettes I saw twice a day in the band room -- Rande Barker, Joan Ansheles, Donna Fenerty and the others, including Karen Theurer, who might actually be the most beautiful girl I've ever seen except for maybe Jane Seymour.
But lately I find myself wondering:
What if we did it all again? What if some cosmic twist of fate put those of us who are still around into the halls of Woodson in September 2016 for one year as real seniors?
We proably wouldn't have much of a football team, that's for sure. Bones are far too brittle at our age, and most of us probably don't run all that fast anymore.
But I wonder if a lot of the kids who were too shy ever to say boo when we were young might not be the outspoken leaders. Late bloomers, you know.
Would Mike McCuddin still be the class president?
Would Bob Douthitt still run the student government?
Or would both of them have gone on to other, more satisfying ways to spend their time?
I guess the real question is how much have we changed.
I certainly hope we'd be more tolerant -- and I think we would -- toward the ones who were sort of outcasts in 1967.
After all, we have grown up.