Julie and I met each other on one of the first days of our freshman year in college at Ohio State. Were it not for the fact that my roommate and one of her roommates were maintaining a relationship that had started in high school, we might never have met. As it was, I gamely ambled along with Ken from the Stadium Dorm to North Campus so that he could have lunch at Raney Commons with his girlfriend, Christi. We stopped at Taylor Tower to pick her up, and Julie decided to come along.
The earliest memory I have of the young woman whom I would marry just four years later is sitting across from her in the dining hall and wistfully observing how pretty she was. So pretty, in fact, that I immediately put all thoughts of courtship to rest, as I was certain that anyone that attractive had to have a boyfriend. And if that were not the case, I reasoned that there had to be a million guys after her. Why beat my head against the wall? I didn't stand a chance.
I hesitate to add my voice to the clamorous din of narratives and opinions examining the legacy of the 9/11 tragedy on its tenth anniversary. The notorious event was born on the dawn of media saturation, and not even the enormous towers themselves could have contained the last decade's voluminous reporting about their destruction. It seems like every news organization, whether national or local, is compelled to produce copious coverage of the milestone, as though to do anything less would somehow be unpatriotic. It has reached the point where the mere mention of the words, "a look back at 9/11" is enough to make me tune out, and we haven't yet reached Sunday.
It reminds me of an item I saw buried in the back pages of a community newspaper several years ago. A pair of teenagers had come through town in the course of their marathon walk across the state. The purpose of their trek, according to the reporter, was to raise awareness about 9/11. That's a little like staging a publicity stunt in order to call attention to the heliocentric model of our solar system, but kudos to them anyway, as I'm sure their intentions were sincere.
A scene from a Hollywood classic? No, it's only Mom and Dad.
On September 27, 1952, a young couple from Lima, Ohio boarded a Pennsylvania Railroad Company train bound for Chicago to celebrate their honeymoon. Mature enough to marry yet still literal teenagers, the 19-year-old newlyweds must have felt very grown up as they sped toward the big city. They had reservations for seven nights at the upscale Conrad Hilton on Michigan Avenue, from where they would be free to set forth and explore any Windy City attractions that caught their fancy.
Back then, they were just Frank and Jackie, she an only child and he the youngest of six. In less than four years, they would be the parents of two toddler girls and two newborn twin boys. Their productivity would decrease with the birth of just one more son at the end of a further four years. Then, like a surprising afterthought, they would add yet another boy eight years later. Little did they know in 1952 how short-lived and unique was the whirlwind freedom they were to experience on honeymoon in Chicago. Soon they would no longer be just Frank and Jackie; they would adopt the permanent monikers of Mom and Dad, and as those are the names by which I have always known them, that is how I shall refer to them here.