Steep Perspectives

April 19, 2021. Has it really been over two years since I visited my college campus for the first time in several decades – came home and wrote this poem intending to post it along with a thank you to Robert Okaji for inviting me to his poetry reading on that campus. Day before yesterday I had the opportunity to chat with three current students from Texas State University (Southwest Texas State Technical College when I attended in the 60’s). Fun comparing student population growth now vs then; alarming to compare tuition growth now vs then.

In 2019 after wonderful poetry in what once was the Education Building, I walked up to Old Main, then down to Beretta Dorm, then back up “the hill”- not as difficult as I’d remembered it through intervening years.  The many steps between walkway up through Quad to Old Main are still a challenge, and steps from Old Main down to the gym still formidable. I did not know in the ’60s that I have a bit of a heart irregularity – I attributed my difficulty climbing those SWT steps to having grown up in very flat West Texas. Returning with an older, weaker body but a better understanding shifted perspectives.

(Thank you, Bob, for serving as catalyst!)

18 thoughts on “Steep Perspectives

    1. Not HIGH heels, but pumps with a low heel. And stockings. And dresses (women were not allowed on campus in slacks – some twisted the edict by going around in a raincoat w/o much beneath it – claiming “coming from gym” if challenged). And 1st semester Freshmen/women had to wear a beanie … which made a mess of back-combed poufy hairdos of that era.

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  1. Love the poem and the idea of going back to visit your college, Jazz. I can’t believe I actually used to climb 3 flights of stairs to get to class. They did put an elevators in, but I don’t think there were any the first couple of years I was in school.

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  2. Nice how going back to a college campus (or school of any kind) can invoke universal associations…even if I’ve never been to the school you reference here. Nice you got to meet up with Robert too, cool to meet “blog people” in real life.

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    1. Thanks, Bill – not sure I’ll ever return again to “my campus” but I treasure the hour or so walking familiar from-to routes. Younger the body/mind, larger spaces register in relation … had a similar experience going back inside the house I grew up in after 25 years away (the huge kitchen was no longer huge!)
      This campus excursion never would’ve happened w/o Bob’s invite to a poetry reading. And didn’t know then he was about to abandon my part of the world for Indiana!

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  3. Sweet nostalgia about changing bodies, changing perspectives and relationships. It’s a mystery to me that the way we see the world can change dramatically because of accumulated life experiences.

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    1. Kinda makes one yearn to hang on as long as possible, doesn’t it? Things happening “now” have a way of explaining the mysteries of “then” … likewise in reverse when I can summon the right recalls!
      Thanks for that “sweet nostalgia” tag.

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  4. My university campus was hilly with many such stairways. I think often of those long walks from the carpark, and how often I had to stop and catch my breath (asthma). I like how you’ve tied this in with life’s topography. Hope you two are finding more level ground these days and still enjoying the scenery!

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    1. One blessing of aging is lower expectations from others … no one expects me to gallop up steep steps anymore! Back in the day I had a whole 15 minutes to get from gym to Lab (which included changing clothes as well as navigating the hill!) I’d sit shaking when I was supposed to be sketching insect parts. After a few weeks I quit going to gym because that was a one-hour credit course and Botany was a four-hour credit. I was called before the Dean of Students for my failure to comply with “required course” and he was not amused when I explained my logic. I learned after-the-fact that he held a PhysEd PhD. Ha!
      My transcript carries an F in PhysEd101 – the highlight of an otherwise boringly positive transcript.

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      1. Lol. Don’t blame you. I remember those tight time lines. Except I had an hour between French and German, and well…there was a pub on the way, lol. Might have an F on my transcripts too!

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    1. Thank you, LuAnne – we might as well focus on the gifts, since we can’t exactly backtrack our bodies.
      Plus sometimes I think my individual experiences may be pieces of a larger-than-life jigsaw puzzle … I hope I’ll live till I get them all in their proper places.

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    1. Yup, it’s “up” there. A beautiful campus, but one needs to be young and vigorous … even when younger, I lacked the vigor expected! My sister was in her 4th year at UT when I was a freshman at SWT – and tells me everyone at UT wore sneakers and loafers. Sensible!

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