High School Memories and More

A chance event can behave like a stick of dynamite that, when detonated, breaches the mental dam that holds back a flood of memories. After more than fifty years, long lost recollections can rush in, hydrating layer upon layer of forgotten experiences with freshly resurrected memories. When the dam breaks, dry, brittle sheets of experience that buried history for decades can wash away, revealing years of detritus left by the tides of time.

Recently, a friend from high school—someone with whom I have not been in touch for more than fifty years—contacted me, more or less by a fluke. He found my blog, then contacted me by email. And he wrote and mailed a letter to me, even before I responded to his email message. His messages unearthed memories I did not even realize were hidden deep in my brain and made me think of old friends who I have not seen since I graduated from high school in 1972. His mention of a group of guys, of which I was part, called the Schlitz Seven triggered recollections of good times when our carefree cadre of under-age friends drank beer, grilled ribeye steaks, and otherwise paid homage to the calls of banality and decadence that many guys in their late teens hear. I really did not know some of those memories were actually in my head, retrievable only by breaking the dam and unleashing the flood. I look forward to dredging up more of those memories, bringing them to the surface, cleaning them up, and drying them off. My memories of my youth are few and far between. Now, though, I know at least some of them have not disappeared. They are accessible by diving beneath the surface.


As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can.

~ Julius Caesar ~


Penny, if you read this, I want you to know I sent you an email. 🙂


World events of late disturb me. Right-wing attacks on government institutions (Brazil), horrendous floods (Pakistan), the ravages of war (Ukraine), and the collapse of the environment (the disappearance of glaciers) play havoc with my serenity. I can do little to nothing about any of these world events so, according to logic and advice, I should not worry about them. That advice is easy to give, hard to live. As a human being sensitive to the plight of other human beings, it is hard to dismiss the horrors that surround us. Yet the advice (do not worry about things you cannot control) is crucial to maintaining one’s sanity (or, in my case, retaining what’s left of it). What is the tipping point between care and worry? I wish I knew.


I joined the NAACP yesterday. I have intended for quite some time to lend my support to the organization, but lethargy and procrastination were in control until yesterday. Yesterday, during an “Insight” service at church, the young man who is president of the local NAACP (Marsalis Weatherspoon) spoke about the organization, what it is, and what it has been trying to achieve. That was the push I needed to take action. That, and mi novia‘s decision to do the same. I support the organization’s mission and I would like to further its ability to fulfill it. We are joining eighteen other church members at an NAACP breakfast next Saturday, held in conjunction with celebrations of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Later in the month, we will attend a film screening of We Have Just Begun: The 1919 Elaine Massacre and Dispossession, a documentary about the Elaine, Arkansas massacre that left hundreds of African American men, women, and children dead.

Too many historical events, like the massacre in Elaine and the Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre that took place on and around Black Wall Street, have been shielded from public view for decades. The more people who are made aware of these atrocities in our history, the more people will come to realize that our country needs to hear apologies and to witness some way of making reparations to the descendants of such horrific events. And not only to direct descendants: an entire culture, Black and White, has been impacted by these hidden depravities. Ach! I sometimes am embarrassed to be human.


My computer is failing me. It regularly shuts down Wi-Fi, requiring me to go through several steps to restore it. I have been talking about buying a new notebook for some time. This trouble with Wi-Fi, coupled with the fact that the beast is increasingly slow, slow, slow, has convinced me. But I am confounded by the millions of choices. And I am deterred by the fact that, whenever I buy a new one, I will have to go through hours of set-up to get the damn thing to work. I would gladly pay someone to experience the frustration on my behalf, but I do not know of anyone who does such stuff. Oh, well. That’s life.


Enough of my rambling. I have to get on with the day. I hope you and I have a very good, productive, satisfying one.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to High School Memories and More

  1. Meg Koziar says:

    I’m very pleased about the church purchasing 2 tables at the prayer breakfast, thus allowing attendees to use their personal funds to join NAACP. Glsd you both did. BTW Did you read the birthday list in the Jan. newsletter? I don’t think anyone else did either. Or December’s. Surely someone would have commented.

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