July 1980

Several key events from July of 1980, continuing my 30-years-ago reminiscenses:

• Sometime around the middle of the month, I saw the Doobie Brothers in concert, with my old Mizzou roommate Bob. This was at the Checkerdome, like the earlier Who concert was, and again we had floor seats. From what I remember, it was a great show.

Interestingly, it now appears I’ll be seeing the Doobie Brothers again in a few days — almost exactly 30 years after that Checkerdome show. It’s an interesting question as to whether rock bands should even EXIST for 30 years.

• A day or so after the concert, both I and my brother Jim took trips that would help define the rest of our lives. In his case, he moved away from St. Louis for what turned out to be the last time. Until then he had lived in several places, including Boston and Provincetown. He wasn’t entirely comfortable in St. Louis, I know, and finally he packed up and moved back to P-Town. We were able to spend a lot of time together that spring — we were both helping out in my dad’s business — but those times were coming to an end.

• And I got in a car with my parents and drove to Naperville, Ill., the home of North Central College. After leaving Missouri University in December ’79, I was looking for a smaller school where I could, perhaps, be more be more visible than at a mega-sized university. I swam, that spring, with an AAU team in Clayton, Mo., just to keep in shape; they practiced at Clayton High School, and on the bulletin board of the pool were tacked several college brochures. One of them was NCC. Comparing my times with the school and conference records shown in the brochure, I thought it was someplace I could be reasonably competitive. One thing led to another. I talked on the phone with the coach a time or two, applied and was accepted. That mid-July trip was for the orientation and registration. I met with Dr. Van der Muellen in the economics department. (He thought it a little odd that I said that in addition to an econ major, I might also pursue a sociology minor. He did end up being my favorite econ professor at NCC, though.) I spent the night in one of the dorms — me and mostly a bunch of incoming freshmen. And on the second day, I finally saw the pool. Through the magic of wide-angle photography, it looked much bigger and nicer in the brochure photo than in real life. And I met the coach, who was just as nice in person as on the phone. On the whole, it looked like a school I could like.

• Also that month, I turned 21. But perhaps the less written about the destruction of that day, the better.

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