Thursday, June 13, 2013

The First Last

I’m often nostalgic around this time of year because June is a memorable month for me for many reasons. June contains Mrs. Dude’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, my mother’s birthday and Father’s Day. And that’s just the first two weeks. But there’s two other dates that also always stand out in my memory: June 11 and 12.

Each of those two dates changed my life in a similar but very different way. June 11th was the day I graduated from college and June 12th was the day I graduated from high school. Only someone with a partial photographic memory (used most frequently to recall old completely random info) would remember those specific dates so many years after they occurred. For while the dates may have been insignificant relative to what happened on them, they stick in my mind as placeholders.

June 12, 1994 is a far more notorious date than just because I graduated from high school on that day. That date will live in infamy as the date O.J. Simpson allegedly murdered his ex-wife. But that event is obviously only part of what makes it memorable to me. It also marked my final time spent at the Richfield Coliseum, (where my school’s commencement was held), which closed a few months later. I’d spent countless great nights among my first 18 years at the Coliseum attending concerts, sporting events, and even an NHL exhibition game that had to be canceled midway through because the ice melted.  My final trip to the Coliseum marked one end of my childhood and a new beginning as I moved on to college a few months later.

A month after graduation I went to a Grateful Dead concert, one of many I attended over the years. This particular outdoor show was marred by a huge rainstorm that dampened the crowd, both figuratively and literally. But there was one moment in the second set that has stuck with me through the years. When the band played Saint of Circumstance and got to these lyrics: “Sure don’t know what I’m going for, but I’m gonna go for it, for sure,” I knew college, and the future in general, was going to be a mystery and an adventure. 

June 11, 1999 marked the culmination of my formal education and the official first steps of the rest of my life. At lunch after my graduation ceremony that afternoon, I told my family of my intention to move to Los Angeles later that summer. I didn’t know exactly what I would do when I arrived, but I figured I could wing it. I was young, smart and eager to get started on whatever I’d be doing next.

Cut to almost 14 years later and I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going for. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Every choice I’ve made since then has led me to today. Some decisions have been great and some not so great. Obviously one great one was marrying Mrs. Dude, who collaborated with me to produce both Junior Dudes.

This year on June 12th, I was daydreaming in the car while cruising on another sunny L.A. day, and reflecting on my high school graduation that occurred so long ago and so far away on that date.  Though my ride wasn’t long, I had a lot of time to think about all I’ve done since then. And when I reached my destination, I parked the car, and then ascended a staircase I’d climbed a hundred times before and picked up my Little Dude from the last day of his first year of school. His journey is just beginning. 

Leaving Room 5 for the final time. . .


  1. I love this! I am the same way with dates. I remember them and then if something else happens on the same date I get all "WHAT DOES THIS MEAN??" about it. LOL. Plus I love when stuff happens on the same date, helps me remember better. This post was super awesome! :) Devan

  2. My daughter is only three, so the end-of-school-year phenomenon isn't isn't a part of our lives yet. But I'm just realizing that June is going to be a big transition month for us for probably another twenty years or so, just because of that.

  3. That child gets cuter by the minute!

  4. Mrs. Dude, who collaborated with me to produce both Junior Dudes.