Friday, July 29, 2011

My First Year at USC (and Clay's at UCLA)

The Philosophy Building, with a great courtyard. 
So back in my first year of college I went to USC and my best friend Clay went to UCLA.  Now this was back when the world was young and fresh - and I wasn't the bitter old Trojan Hater I am now.
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No, back when the world was young, birds sang in the trees (and coughed from smog - but didn't die from Global Climate change), Betty Ford was the first lady and a young USC student Levar Burton had just been cast in Roots - back when I was a Freshman in the fall of 1976- life was just opening up.
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I think of this as my nephew attends Minnesota this fall and how wonderful and horrible and scary and better in hindsight Freshman year was.
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Back before the colors Cardinal and Gold meant red & yellow, I journeyed around a beautiful - if not entirely safe - campus and got heady with the freedom of college.  Clay would visit me at USC and I would visit him at UCLA and all seemed right with the world.
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Sure, change came later.  I gave up my Navy Scholarship to USC, fooled around with a young man (now twice divorced and living as a born again somewhere in the antebellum South - yes, I blame myself).  Anyway, before all that happened in the year of 76/77.  Back when years were still measured September to June and I had a different Social Security Number (I had to change it after my father stole my identity - really, when I request my transcript from USC I haveto remember a completely different SSN!).
School of Urban Planning under the globe, where I learned creative
writing, game theory and shared Valium with a teachers who had a bad day.
Anyway, back then USC was my school and I loved it.  I share some of it now, since you probably won't travel to Coliseum, and pay exorbitant fees to park on campus where it is safe, since the Grand old stadium - home of 2 Olympics, the Dodgers, the Rams, the Raiders, John F Kennedy and Pope John Paul II - the good one!, stands nearly empty.  Except for that damn horse and the song-that-will-not-end.
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Anyway, it once held my heart.
Okay - I may look back and smile - but I can't stand this guy - even in retrospect.
And does anyone remember back in the Fall of 1976, when you would go into classrooms and on the board would be scrawled, "I found It.".  My creative writing teacher (actually she was my English 101 teacher, but she loved my writing and said I would get an A if I just wrote stories) came into class one day and a student asked what the saying meant.
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I remember she bummed a cigarette from one student and a Valium from me (on Thursday as I was in my Navy Whites, I used to carry extra Valium for the stress) and addressed this girl, as if she was slow.  "It! Marion.  It!  With a Capital I!  Like God for the pronoun challenged!"
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I think Marion was a ringer as the board never said "I found It" again.

1 comment:

Joc said...

Did you know Levar Burton? I truly was thinking about him, and Roots, just yesterday.

More importantly, I want to hear about the Navy! You had a scholarship? Seriously, I think I need to come visit to get this story. Sounds like a whole chapter I know nothing about.