Every time I turned around last week, my age seemed to assert itself. My thoughts turned again and again to the past, as my showing-old-age filter functioned without pause.
It all started with Facebook pictures from Graham’s Friday night commencement exercises. Although I recognized only a couple of the graduating seniors, I did notice that between the superintendent and the principal sat five Graham graduates, alums who form the current Board of Education.
Michael Ludlow and I graduated from GHS in the late 60’s, subsequently returning to spend our entire careers at our alma mater. I had the other four – Steve Setty, Ryan Pine, Steve Prince, and Miranda Uhl – in class. I am so proud and impressed that all five of these former students are willing to serve the public.
I did stop to wonder: while they were roaming the hallways at GHS and populating classrooms there years ago, did these former Falcons ever dream of someday making important educational decisions for the community’s kids – just as civic-minded folks did for them and their classmates?
Other photographs showed updated facilities that have solved problems associated with commencements of the past. The “new gym” offers great technological capabilities, air conditioning, and lots of space.
Predictably, I headed down memory lane to my own 1966 graduation in the “old gym.” Instead of the natural stride of modern grads, we “processed” into the auditorium, stepping and pausing, stepping and pausing our way to chairs on a tiered set of wooden platforms arranged on the stage.
Later we recessed and formed a ring around the perimeter of the gym to greet family and friends. After all that, we still had to turn in our rented, light-blue and dark-blue caps and gowns to faculty members, who were checking them off master lists.
I am thrilled today’s seniors can bid their farewells in a modern, well-equipped facility; but somehow my old-fashioned commencement is the one to which I compare all others. I wonder what differences the Class of 2017 will notice years from now – when they themselves measure future traditions by the ones they remember from Friday night.
By the way, simple calculation led me to another old-age-inducing realization: freshmen from my last German 1 classes in 2009-2010 have been graduating from college this spring. This whole how-time-flies thing is for the birds!
I was lucky to even see those commencement photographs, though: a few days earlier I experienced Internet problems. Inconveniently enough, my connection to the virtual world – and the UDC – disappeared just as I was submitting my weekly article. It seemed I might break my string of 152 consecutive “Boomer Blogs.”
I did what I could on my own: unplugging pieces of my computer and plugging them back in. A technician on the phone sent impulses that also failed to reconnect the system. Although I made known my displeasure at having to wait three days for a house call, I alerted the UDC folks and made peace with missing my deadline.
The red light on my router annoyed me all day, until early evening when it inexplicably returned to green. Further checking revealed a fully-lit modem, allowing me to submit my blog just under the proverbial wire.
However, I still pondered the miraculous recovery of my Internet connection. The next day a technician phoned to explain: she had worked on my problem by sending more impulses. Her call confirmed my reconnection, and we cancelled the scheduled appointment.
I was pleased and amazed that my communications service solved my technical problems remotely, but I did take pause. Yes, my Internet and TV connections have been remotely restored several times – but always while I was on the phone with a technician. This is the first time such repairs occurred without my knowledge. I am not complaining, but it all seems rather Big-Brotherish to me!
My TV was not involved in the technology failure, so I was able to view the testimony of the former FBI director before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The hearings, however, launched another set of flashbacks – to the early 70’s when all things Watergate sometimes dripped, sometimes blasted into the national consciousness. Hearings and leaks and headlines and coverups consumed the country for two years. I should probably dig out my copy of All the President’s Men; but this business will similarly continue to unfold for the foreseeable future and then some, I am sure.
That being said, I continue to be über-concerned about any kind of meddling in our election process, an issue which seems to take a frequent backseat to numerous other topics currently debated on cable news outlets. Even if no foreign entity actually hacked into our computerized voting system this time, it is going to happen. If hackers can claim federal income tax refunds before taxpayers even file their returns, can the hacking of the country’s voting machines be far behind?
As old-fashioned as it sounds, I would not mind reverting to paper-and-pencil ballots. I mean, is it absolutely necessary to know who wins an election the minute the polls close? Let the votes be counted physically and slowly, and announce the results the next morning. I certainly would feel better about the safety of my vote.
Here’s hoping that next week I can live a little more in the moment, with less regressing into the good, old – and the bad, old – days.
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.
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