During Berry College’s annual Mountain Day last Saturday, my former roommate Joe Purcell and I ran into each other in the student center. After catching up on family and checking out the fancy new Cage Center next door, we began walking across the beautiful campus toward our former residence.
For the first time since we moved out more than 31 years ago, Joe and I revisited our old dorm room (formerly 919) in Dana Hall. The number on the door was not the only change we observed.
A current student had to let us into the building — a security measure needed now but never imagined in the late ’70s.
There were no pay phones in the hallways — and no TV in the common room downstairs where we gathered each night for Johnny Carson’s monologue or Saturday Night Live skits with the original cast.
However, some things haven’t changed since those good and impressionable years. We still have the lessons that come from sharing time and space with another person.
We recalled that friendship is built on trust, flexibility and good humor. We learned that creativity can come in handy when your pockets and stomachs are empty.
With a two-meals-a-day, five-days-a-week meal plan and an on-campus paycheck that rarely lasted two weeks, Joe and I discovered that a ten-cent package of muffin mix could hold a couple of guys over until the dining hall opened on Monday.
More than anything else, last Saturday, we laughed about episodes that flooded our minds from three decades ago. We can’t go back to that time and place, but we have the gifts of memory and laughter.
Some things change and some things do not. Of course, Joe and I might have changed slightly ourselves — for no one mistook us for current students last Saturday.