Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In 1977...

...I arrived on campus @ the U of FL as a freshman. Full of energy, cocky, and UTTERLY clueless. (note: not all freshmen are clueless...but I definitely was)

Despite my advanced age, I remember a few things about those first days on campus. (Well, I remember a LOT, but the statute of limitations may not be up on some things...plus, my Lord has promised to remember them no more, which works for me)

Dorm: The Broward Basement. Roomed w/ a HS classmate, Jim. Ironically, neither of us would graduate from UF...me because of total stupidity & lack of discipline; him because he pursued his dream & graduated from USC (the one in California!) Jim was a great roommate; I was a self-absorbed jerk as best I can recall. But nonetheless, we are still friends today!

The UF Housing office had an idea...a singularly bad idea, but an idea. They put our bunch of guys in the bottom floor (basement). All of the floors above us were populated by ladies. Our R.A. was also a lady. Who lived in a room upstairs. Yeah, as I say, a singularly bad idea...

Actually, aside from a large number of stupid-guy pranks, it worked out pretty well! We mostly got along w/ each other, and had a pretty durn good time along the way. And seemingly despite ourselves, many of us succeeded. One guy's a pretty big-time judge in south FL...one's a very successful businessman...Jim's a money manager living in SoCal...and one guy's a professor living in Hattiesburg (although that particular guy took quite a while to find his wings...)

Dorm life is a totally fascinating experience. I am VERY glad I did it...and am MUCH MORE glad that I don't do it any more! *smile*

I remember buying books. Civilization & Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud (which I still have & thought I was so cool & scholarly carrying it around)...The Wasteland ...(ditto) Didn't know then what a book-a-holic I'd be as an old guy... Actually, I'm just remembering that we had a "book BBQ" at the end of the term in which we burned our books outside on the grill just for the sheer joy of surviving that 1st time. (as I say, stupid-guy stuff...)

I remember some things about classes, although not much. (Mostly because I didn't go that much; see "no degree from UF'...and "stupid"...) I remember that one term, out of 6 teachers (incl labs), I had 5 who were not native English speakers, and the other one grew up in a bilingual home. Please note: that is *not* why my grades were so pitiful!

I remember that another HS classmate & I had calculus together that 1st term. 8:00, MWF. She was much more responsible (& scared!) than I, so she actually went to class. Then she'd come wake me up, we'd go grab bkfst in the dorm cafeteria, & I'd explain the concepts from the day as she'd ask. This was possible because I had the TOTALLY AWESOME HS calculus teacher, the great Lona Almond, who remains the greatest teacher I've ever had or known at any level. Thus, 1st term calculus was a breeze for me! (How ironic is that one of my better grades in a disaster of an academic year was in freshman calculus??)

I also remember that the total stoner we had for a teacher, covered the last 3 (out of 6!) chapters in the last week of the term. (literally!)

I remember fraternity rush. Open rush, or informal rush. I found myself becoming drawn throughout the week to this one house & bunch of guys. Lambda Chi Alpha. A shaper of me at the time. Socially (in ways that were not all good!), but also morally (mostly latently; would show up later).

I remember Gator football games. That 1st game, the Gators hosted--and tied--then powerhouse Pitt Panthers. After that, not so good. The team had 10 guys drafted...10! And they were something like 6-4-1. Football analyst Cris Collinsworth was a freshman QB on that team. (Yeah, I know...he played WR in the NFL for a number of years...) The great Wes Chandler was a senior that year. The Brantley brothers, one of whose son is Tebow's backup @ QB now. Linebacker Yancey Sutton...who was completely deaf...and who would knock your head off!

It was fun. I remember when West TX St. U came in & was up 14-7 before the Gators reeled off 70 consecutive points to win 77-14. Fun times. Of course, I also remember a couple of years later when Bama's 2nd consecutive Nat'l Champ team came down & thrashed the Gators 40-0. Five different QBs led the Tide to touchdown drives. Total domination.

I remember concerts. The Dregs on campus @ Halloween Ball. Awesome! Axe @ the Great Southern Music Hall many times. Best rock group nobody has heard of...I *loved* their version of "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch"--picture a very heavy metal groove version of the old R&B hit. Blue Oyster Cult in town. Judas Priest in town. Kansas in Lakeland. Styx in Jacksonville. Molly Hatchet in Jacksonville. Steppenwolf.

I remember outdoor movies on the lawn. Monty Python's Holy Grail. Rocky Horror Picture Show...you know--all the classics...

I was one of 39,000 students on campus.

Now, Anne Madaris is a freshman @ MSU. She's one of something like 15,500 students. I'm praying that she has such a blast this year that it marks her & shapes her like my freshman year did for me. Only, I hope & pray that she doesn't experience the deep lows that I experienced...and that she doesn't have as much to regret about the freshman year as I do.


p.s. - early scouting reports suggest that she's having a BLAST while also being productive...TYL!

1 comment:

oldfatslow said...

Did we see Blue Oyster Cult together? The Great Southern Music Hall was an awesome place to catch an act.