Monday, August 25, 2008

How time flies

This year's crop of freshmen were born in 1990, when I was a freshman in college. That's a kind of parallelism that should mean something, but probably doesn't. A turning point? Thank goodness we have the Beloit List, famously compiled by professors at Beloit College to remind us all of the life experience of our frosh. It's useful as a reminder of the chasm that divides personal experience of the world from "history" - for me, it opens up some time during the Nixon presidency, and I'm sure some professor once thought of us, "My god, they don't remember the Kennedy assassination." I wonder if I could make a similar list for the incoming freshmen in the fall of 1989? Kennedy and King have always been martyrs, Berlin has always had a Wall, and China has never been entirely closed. What else?


Anonymous said...

I used to freak out my near-retirement-age coworker by saying "I don't remember when people HADN'T walked on the moon! The Beatles broke up before I was born!"

avuncle said...

Aging is innately amusing. Trust me. Just lately, I'm taken with things having 50th anniversaries that I actually remember and think of as recent.

More vivid, still: My father, whom I comfortably think of as contemporary, was born 40 years after the Civil War. That's a jump to somewhere else entirely.