August 1, 2010

Nostalgia For An Age Yet To Come

Sunrise - 61st & Pulaski
Originally uploaded by Gordon D
(Yes, I know I've used this Buzzcocks lyric for the third time on this blog - I love it. Sue me.)

One of the most unusual things that I've had to get used to living in Chicago has been reconnecting with my past - fortunately, not in terms of former girlfriends (thankfully, they've all spread out), but mostly old coworkers and colleagues. I have to admit that, thanks to the power of Twitter, I reconnected with one of my former bosses.

Scratch that - my first major supervisor. He was site director for the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. I was a research assistant, and it was my first major, in-the-field, ink-barely-dry-on-my-diploma job. It was a way for me to learn how to negotiate and get around the city, begin developing experience working in the community, and most importantly - help me pay for grad school.

And grad school duties meant, after three years, I had to leave...and that was almost twenty years ago.

As my former supervisor and I talked, catching up on old times (and also, simultaneously, talking shop), I was...well, surprised that he had remembered me (and even stated that I was always "full of energy". Maybe it was all that coffee I was drinking, back then)...I only remained in contact with one of my coworkers; in fact, she and I were often paired off at PHDCN, and worked very closely together.

(Ironically, she and I were probably the only couple who did not "hook up", as the teenagers say, through work - I think it was mostly because we were both professional. And had our eyes on other people).

But I'm always a little taken aback when people from my past remember me - obviously, time can take its toll on memory. (Also, more importantly, I would like to think that I'm not on people's minds for over twenty years)...but there's a pleasant surprise that comes when touching base with old friends, old mentors, and old colleages. It's a consistent reminder that, despite years and differences, old ties never really fade...and can often lead to stronger ones.

I look back at that time fondly, but more importantly, I look to the future with greater affection...and greater enthusiasm.

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