For the school years, it’s difficult to isolate a calendar year. My mind goes naturally to third grade or seventh grade, not 1974–which would be the last part of my junior year and the first part of my senior year–which for some reason didn’t register as I wrote yesterday’s post. I had to go back and add getting into college. I didn’t think I was there yet.
1975: A big, big year, which starts like all the others. In the spring before I graduate, I turn 18, the legal drinking age, but mainly there’s relief that the draft has ended (1973). On the last day of April, Saigon falls, and the war seems, really, finally, over. After I graduate, the curfews end–my parents want me to make my own decisions while I still have the safety net of home. I don’t remember packing up my room, but I do remember sitting in the back seat of the car and looking to the right at the gas stations and restaurants as we fly up I-85 toward North Carolina. In the dorm, I have a single room and listen to Art Garfunkel’s Breakaway. Music becomes more about the albums and less about the clock radio, which I have no memory of having by my bed in college. I’m part of the third class of women at Davidson, which my boyfriend ends up choosing too, but we date other people. In the Union, with a huge crowd, leaning against a white wall, I watch the Big Red Machine win the World Series. In the always cool mornings, I roll out of bed and fast-walk to class, trying not to spill my coffee. College seems like a trip; I assume my life will eventually go back to “normal.” But it never does. Part One is over.