When this postcard and a related letter arrived, my reaction was shock.
I don’t know why but it was hard for me to process the reality that it’s been 50 years since I graduated from college.
Because Queens College was (and still is) a commuter school, I lived at home. At first, I took the bus and then drove there after I got my license and a car. I joined a sorority, AEΦ, but the relationships I had with those women proved to be rather superficial, and once we graduated, I never saw any of them again. Two of my close friends from high school also went to Queens though one of them transferred to an upstate college after freshman year. I remained friends with them for several years after graduation. But then both moved, one to the West Coast and the other to Europe, and we eventually lost contact.
Back in the day, Queens was tuition-free. There was a registration fee of $25 per semester + the cost of books, many of which I bought used. If you are thinking that it was a huge bargain, you would be entirely correct. Especially since academically, Queens was considered on a par with the Ivy League schools. In fact, the core curriculum during freshman and sophomore years was modeled after Columbia University’s.
I started out majoring in psychology, but that didn’t work out very well (a long story best left for another post), so I switched to English with a specialty in writing.
I did not attend my college graduation because I had left on what was supposed to be a three-month trip to Europe although it turned out nothing like the original plan (another saga best left for another time). My diploma was mailed to me.
I’ve never felt any kind of nostalgia for my college days, so I didn’t give a moment’s consideration to attending today’s commencement ceremonies or the special events for the Class of 1963 that, according to the letter, will take place in October.
By the way, I graduated when I was 20 years old. How did that happen? Well, for one thing, I made the Special Progress program (familiarly known as the “S.P.”) in junior high which condensed the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades into two years. Plus, my birthday is in October, so in June 1963 I was still 20.
My College Graduation Yearbook Photo: