What a Difference Thirty Years Makes

My freshman year (or most of it) was spent at a very fine all-male school (now coed) in Virginia. That year, 1971, the school did away with parietal rules. I remember distinctly the awe we all felt when one of our classmates invited his girl-friend up for a weekend and she stayed in his room. The rest of us, at least those that could persuade a girl to visit for a weekend, relied on a network of rooming houses in town that provided places for the ladies to stay. Also of interest was the presence of “house mothers” in all of the fraternity houses. Things changed rapidly, of course, as the sexes began to realize the opportunities for co-mingling that had, up to that point, been the subject of dreams. But the sad fact was that co-mingling remained, for most of us, an ideal rather than a reality.

In the first week of my return to college, I have dealt with the feeling that I must stick out like a flashing red light as I walk the halls. Gradually, I have come to understand that most of the students must think I am a professor; doors are held open for me, girls that look at me offer a small smile, and I have gradually begun to feel less odd and more a part of the scene.

Proof of that assumption has come in the snippets of conversation I hear in my perambulations. Yesterday, while waiting for a class room to empty, two girls greeted each other in the hallway and had a quick “catch up” chat:

“Hey Gretchen…….Hey Kate. You still living in that place on xhnehsdh street? Yeah, me and John are still there……Oh, you’re still dating John, I thought y’all had broken up….No, we’re still together. Seems like it’s been forever!……Yeah, it does…..”

Now, I have friends with children in college, and I have never thought that those children, some of whom I have bounced on my knee, might be sharing rooms with a member of the opposite sex. And if they are, which seems likely, I cannot imagine their parents know about it.

But you know, I don’t know what my friends know. I bet that they don’t really want to know, either. So we’re all kind of dodging the whole issue of co-habitation…..a situation that evinces not the first scintilla of shame among the participants. Nor could I detect any accusatory tones or even tones of envy on the part of the questioner. It was as if the whole condition of living with your special friend means nothing beyond an expression of a natural state.

Boy have I got a lot to learn!


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“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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