Novak (novak) wrote,

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Personal: Moments That Justify My Life – "It Was Twenty Years Ago Today..." Meeting Jenny

Heh. I just had a funny thought. Or series of thoughts. I was watching the over-the-top romp of 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves while eating, taking a break during my dissertation-writing sprint. I remember this movie as the smash hit of that summer; something from when I was a senior at NIU, "not that long ago" in my head. I saw it opening night, in fact, in a sold-out, beautiful old vaudeville-age theatre in Madison, where I was for the summer, somewhere between amused and annoyed as my friend Karen kept grabbing my arm and saying, "What did he say?" and things like that, as well as both of us being struck by how much Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Maid Marion looked like Julianna, the girl I was taken with at the time. The audience gave a mighty cheer at the conclusion when Sean Connery suddenly appeared as King Richard, in one of the greatest unspoiled, perfectly-cast cameos I've ever seen in my life. So, some good memories. And then I realized that most of my current freshmen were just being born when that came out, and so to them, this movie is what . . . ohmigosh, Easy Rider would have been to me, as far as what I thought of as an "old movie."

So while I was having a good laugh at that idea and image, and just the strangeness of time passing and getting older, I started thinking in more general terms about "twenty years ago." What was I doing twenty years ago? That was a year and a half earlier than this Madison movie memory. So I looked at my iCal for January 16, 1990. Tuesday. First week back in school. Second semester of junior year. And that actually meant something quite specific, I realized.

Twenty years ago tonight, I was having my first increasingly-awkward dinner with my roommate Dave's friend Jenny Patton, tucked at a table for two on the side of the Douglas Hall cafeteria after Dave and Laura bailed on us after choir practice. I had just been trying to amuse her with stories from over Christmas break, but then I had no idea what to do or say as this cute and forthright freshman girl was asking me all about myself and why I wasn't dating anyone. At the time, I remember having the momentary desire to try to escape, while at the same time being intrigued at having her think I was that interesting. In retrospect, it's just a good memory, and only brings a big smile to my face. I've still got the essay from my essay-writing class that semester that describes that conversation tucked somewhere in the bowels of my harddrive. (Ew. Just glanced at that. An essay I wrote on how people reveal themselves to one another. The example is still just what it is, but the reflective part of the essay? So over-written. Oh, well, I'm glad to see that I'm making some literary progress....)
Tags: friends-niu era, moments that justify my life, movies/film/tv, niu, old stories, personal, students

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