Archives For December 2009

Another Lost Friend…

December 19, 2009

I am getting close to finishing up my posts about my college years.  This one and probably the next one will be about a couple of close friends I had and have since lost contact with.  I don’t know what it is about men that we can’t seem to stay in contact with each other when our circumstances change.  My wife regularly calls up an old friend who she shared and apartment with in 1960.  They are still good friends! 

The picture above is of Bob Boris who was my dormitory roommate for four years at Purdue.  Yeah, that is our dorm room in the picture.  I know it is probably hard for college kids today to even imagine but  our room was about 12 ft x 12 ft and there was no telephone, computer hookup (or computers for that matter), TV (there was only one in the whole dormitory), or much else!   There was only two small desks, a bunk bed, one lounge chair and the storage shown behind Bob in the picture. We spent many a night laying  in the dark on our bunk beds, him on the top bunk and me on the bottom, discussing just about everything.  Like most college kids we were dreamers in those days. We thought once we got out of college and into the world we could solve all the problems that the “old foggies” seemed stifled by!  Bob went to work for Fisher Price in New York after graduation and I went to Bell Labs in Indianapolis. We both swore we would keep in touch but….   It would be really interesting to hear how his life turned out and to reminisce about the good old days.  I will keep trying to find him.  Maybe some day.

 

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Ok, I am now finished digitizing the old photos from my college days so I will do a few more posts about them and then move on to other things. But it is nice to remember some of this stuff.  It shakes some brain cells that I haven’t used in a while. Before I tell you about the picture above (yes that is me on the far left) I need to fill you in on some more details :) .

As I mentioned I worked my way through college by working about 40 hours a week in the dormitory cafeteria. During that time I guess I impressed at least a few people since I eventually was promoted to the top student positions there. As head waiter I was in charge of about 80 waiters.  That was a big deal for me back then.  Ginny Bitterling, who is beside me in the picture, was one of those waiters. She was an awfully good worker and a very pretty girl to boot. I had a “thing” for her but since I was so terribly shy in those days I don’t think I ever let her know it. But, she was a pretty shy person too so it was never meant to be.

I’m not sure I remember exactly how we ended up together in the above photograph. If I remember right it was a “couples only” type of thing where we sat around a campfire and among other things listened to Don (see the last post below) play and sing. So, I think us being together was an expediency type thing; we both wanted to go so we hooked up together to make it happen.

Ok, now getting back to my head waiter story.  A few months before I graduated I had to make a recommendation as to who would take over my role as head waiter.  I didn’t hesitate to nominate Ginny for the job as she was by far the hardest worker in the group.  But remember this was the 60s and women’s talents  just weren’t fully recognized back then.  There had never been a female head waiter in the 40 year history of the dormitory and the current management just didn’t want to be the groundbreakers.  Like other lost opportunities I think of Ginny from time to time and wonder how her life turned out.

April 68 Don Valentine As I have mentioned one of my projects this winter is the digitize all the old photo albums from the past.  I just finished the ones from my college days at Purdue in the 1960’s and ran across this one of  a good friend.  His name was Don Valentine and as the picture indicates he could do magic on the guitar and he had the voice to go with it. I thought sure one day I would be buying his albums. Unfortunately the Vietnam war did that in.  Don was drafted shortly after graduation and sent to Vietnam almost immediately. He was killed in action within a month of being there.  Don married the love of his life just before leaving and she was pregnant with his son when he died.  This was the first time the actual reality of that horrible war would come home to me.  Unfortunately it was not the last time. What a shame that so many young fruitful lives were snuffed out during those years.

I think of Don rather frequently now and wonder how his wife and son are doing. As is a rather common regret for me lately I did not keep up with them  as the years passed. So, anyway here is to you Don. I’ll hum one of the Dylan songs that you liked to play for the rest of the day.  How about “It’s a Hard Rains gonna fall”.