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Try To Remember …

Two full skateboard racks at Arizona State University / university photo

Try to remember the kind of September …

Back when I was a boy – yep, it’s going to be one of those posts – I always had mixed feelings about the month of September. On the one hand my birthday was coming up, while on the other it was back to school time.

As I got older the back to school part was not as bad; September activities on college campuses (campii?) were often a lot of fun. Oh yes, and there’s the whole education angle as well, if you must. Welcome Week and Homecoming were among the festivities. Meeting up with friends again was all part of the university experience.

And of course beer was omnipresent. Dances, fraternity parties, sports events were all provided with cases of beer

I consider myself lucky to have gone to McGill before all the anti-fun measures were put in place. I started in September of 1978, a time when breweries were still welcomed sponsors of a whole variety of activities. Football games, concerts, signage were all festooned with local beer company logos.

And of course beer was omnipresent. Dances, fraternity parties, sports events were all provided with cases of beer. For the three years I was there, the standard price was three bottles of beer for one dollar. I understand it was like that for years, if not decades, prior to my arrival.

I feel sorry for students who are not returning to school this year as the Novel coronavirus continues to hold the world in its ugly grip. The activities are not the same now, there is significant supervision of ‘pub crawls’ and the breweries were banned long ago, (to say nothing of the tobacco companies), but regardless, the kids had a good time. I believe.

But even without COVID-19, things are no longer the same. Surprising isn’t it? It seems to me that people stay younger these days. Of course, the numbers are the same, but the level of maturity is different. When I stepped onto the McGill campus in September of 1978 I carried my books and accoutrements in a briefcase. I was ahead of the notion of backpacks for books. Children in grade school used book bags that were sported on the back. But university called for something more proper. University was a serious undertaking.

When I was at university skateboards had, of course, been invented. They were toys, not a secure method of transport. No self-respecting university student would arrive on campus via a skateboard. Even bicycles were rarely found on campus.

When I was at university skateboards had, of course, been invented. They were toys…

As C.S. Lewis put it “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up”.

But then, what’s the rush to grow up? Perhaps this generation of students has it right.

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