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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: More Applications; Archaeological Jacket 
20th-Oct-2008 12:02 am
High School
Oi! I just completed three more applications that had not yet been posted to the American Academy of Religion website when I "finished" all my job apps sometime last week. This is another interesting set. Three Catholic schools: one a small southern university, one a women's college, and one a national university with attached seminary program. That brings the total up to 22 possibilities for next year, with one having already declined an application as not specialized enough in the area they're looking for. Alas, that was my socially-favourite location, with a number of old friends in the area. Not a major reason to want the job, of course, but such things go a long way to making moving to a new job exceptionally pleasant.

Perhaps because of my Goonies-watching that I mentioned in the previous entry, I found myself in such a mood that, before heading out to the library this evening, I dug waaaay back in the closet and pulled out my old, high school-vintage bomber jacket, which I've not worn in years. (I looked at my letterman's jacket, too, but was not feeling that liberal.) I bought this thing my senior year of high school and loved, loved, loved wearing it. This is the oldest photo I have of wearing it in my LJ photo album, from my freshman year of college.

It was funny to recall all the memories attached to it: the first day I wore it to school, being grabbed by the collar and pulled close as my too-cute Show Choir dance partner Jennifer inhaled and breathed, "I love the smell of leather!"; wearing it that first college Spring Break trip as I cracked my shoulder taking a dive in Queen's Canyon above Colorado Springs; my college girlfriend Ann discussing it as a personal symbol for me; the little splatters of paint on part of it from a canvas Julianna was working on. In its pockets I found a floppy disk (! The 3 1/2 inch kind, mind you, not the 5 1/4 inch). I just put that into a Mac here that actually has a USB-attached floppy disk drive and found that it contained an old Realmz game on it, which takes it back to the days of Clifford the Big Red House at Notre Dame. In another pocket was a small Anthony De Mello book Erik gave me, of similar vintage.

I stopped wearing the thing some time after I inherited my Uncle Joe's beautiful grey-green St. John's Bay leather jacket, and the old one is now frayed in the cuffs and has parts of leather worn soft as silk and parts worn to fraying. I immediately imagined Mom being really dismayed that I would wear the shabby old thing, but it's worth having a few pieces like that in the closet, I think. Things that we wore for so long get endowed with layers of memory like that in ways that keep us in touch with who we used to be, like a personal museum piece or a sacrament of our own history, laden in its visible sign with invisible realities.
Comments 
20th-Oct-2008 05:37 am (UTC)
1. women's college?
2. my God, your pockets are all archeological sites, aren't they.
21st-Oct-2008 12:36 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's an associated value to those impulses that make me an historian: I get sentimental about things.

I also found in there a piece of paper (Huh: just thought to unfold it: a planning form from my Christian fellowship group from my freshman year) bearing on its backside a handwritten conversation from when I ran into a deaf friend on the sidewalk; a Campus Crusade for Christ "Four Spiritual Laws" tract someone had given me at probably the same time, which pairs nicely with the one I was given last night outside my apartment building on my way to buy a Polish sausage for dinner; a few sheets of paper with four-pages-to-a-side printed out of five scenes from a sci-fi/spiritual screenplay called Short of the Glory I was writing at Notre Dame with a filmmaker friend (never could figure out the right theological symbolism for how to end it); and a topographical map of the summer camp I worked at in my undergrad years. So yay for personal archaeology!
21st-Oct-2008 01:39 pm (UTC)
God love you -- I would be the last to critique the sentimental, as I believe we share the same tendencies, broadly speaking. But the location of such strata in your pockets...!
21st-Oct-2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
Well, unused-for-about-decade jacket pockets, and these being the out-of-the-way pockets, not the hands-in-your-pockets pockets... but, yeah....
22nd-Oct-2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
Nice Jacket story. The things that wait patiently for us to come back to them...

Hope all is well, just joined FACEBOOK. I doubt that you have time to fool around there, but it was astounding to see the number of old friends that I found in my unused pockets in just one night.

22nd-Oct-2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Heh. It's almost strange, now, to know anyone who knows those times. You know what I mean? I didn't think about that when I jotted down the entry: that anyone might know Oregon, or Show Choir, or who Zimmerman was, or anything of the sort. So your note made me laugh about the whole thing again.

Do you have anything left from those days? My goodness: your wardrobe would be an '80s retro treasure trove, now! I have a few things left, including a Chess King shirt I probably got with you that I've just recently started wearing again, as I think the fashion has come back around. I'm still glad I held on to my thin ties! I still have the first, burgandy knit Pierre Cardin one that I wore sophomore year when you and I were the first in the school to start wearing ties and we got all that pre-Miami Vice grief for it. I can still remember overhearing Miss Quick make fun of us for wearing ties to school....
22nd-Oct-2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, and yeah, I keep forgetting to look at my Facebook account: I haven't touched it in a few months....
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