Half A Lifetime Ago

August 26, 2009

So Josh & I went for a long run today.  We started with our usual lap around the Duke cross country trail & then meandered our way down Towerview to Campus Drive.  After passing the bridge, newly decked out with bright paint to welcome the class of 2013, we headed on a loop around East Campus.  As we ran by Southgate, the memory flood gates opened.

Seventeen years ago this month, I moved into Southgate, my freshman dorm at Duke.  Sure doesn’t look any different today.  It’s amazing to me the irrelevant details my mind can recall and the important details that remain forgotten forever.  I see my father carrying the rose colored carpet from the guy selling rugs on the corner of 9th & Main all the way back up to my dorm room.  I see Travis, my bleach blond haired FAC from California (except you shouldn’t ask me what FAC stands for…I’d have to guess Freshman Advisory Counselor) helping us unload Dad’s pick up truck.  I see smiling South Carolina girl Beth, arriving as the last of my two roommates (some things never change), and I remember realizing I had a friend for life in her.  And, I hate that I remember passing up the opportunity to go to my first Durham Bulls game that week with all the Southgaters.  Instead, I was a good little Duke student ~ I attended the planned science lecture in Gross Chem (why anyone with the last name of Gross would allow a building to be named after them is beyond me).  I was (OK, and still am) a rule-follower.  It was a planned lecture ~ how could I skip it for something way more fun?  A moment I would love to relive and a detail I would just assume not retrieve so easily.

What I cannot recall is the exact moment that Josh & I met.  We are both certain we met that very first week at Duke, during orientation, most likely at the Wesley freshman picnic on East campus.  (Interestingly, we were in charge of that very picnic our senior year and in honor of our first one, we again had burritos from that famous Mexican place in Chapel Hill with habenaro-soaked ground beef that burns every inch of your digestive system whose name I can’t recall – see, only room for so many details.)  “Wesley” was the United Methodist campus ministry at Duke, and being the good little United Methodists that we both were (and continue to be I might add), we sought out a place where we could belong and started that search week one.  Hard to imagine how different all of our lives would be if that hadn’t worked out.  Wesley went on to become a significant formative group for both of us and our closest friends.   But, I digress.

So, we must have met that day at the picnic, right?  We were both there, along with probably 15 other freshman checking out this campus ministry.  We had to have spoken, introduced ourselves, exchanged names.  Details neither of us can recall to this day.  The following weekend, we both attended a Wesley freshman overnight hosted.  We spent an entire 36 hours together at the Episcopal Center on central campus, hanging out, watching  movies, eating & talking.  But, I still cannot recall even having a conversation with this guy who eventually became my best friend and now my husband of twelve years.  I do, however, recollect sitting in a circle and listening to each person share how they got their name.  Josh’s parents had a dog before they had him, so the dog got the name initially intended for their first born male:  Sam.  I’m thankful that was the case.  He’s just not a Sam.  See, I remember plenty of particulars.  Sure do wish I can remember the exact moment I met the future love of my life.  I guess I can’t feel too bad ~ he doesn’t remember it either.

The freshman memories, for the most part, came back big time during this quick trip to Durham today.  I do have to say that thinking back to August of 1992 and realizing just how many years ago that was is almost painful.  I am 35 years old.  Seventeen years ago?  Just about half a lifetime ago.  At least we can concur with that old tobacco ad (which I argued vehemently against in my freshman UWC paper), “We’ve come a long way baby.”  Indeed, half a lifetime long.