This past year, when I was asked to consider writing an essay about my recollections of attending Fairleigh Dickinson University, for the recently published FDU Alumni Magazine, reams of additional ideas came to mind, many more than I could ever squeeze into two magazine pages or into a 1,200 word essay. Some would have been great to share. Some funny. Some not so funny, Many would have been already known to the Rutherford clan. Or to FDU graduates in general. Others, well some of the others might best be left on the cutting room floor. For another time perhaps. It was an honor – and a responsibility – to get it right!
Picking and choosing is part of writing or – of self editing. We do that all the time. My coming Sing Out! “RagTag” column discusses some more of my writer’s thoughts. www.singout.org .It should be out soon. And of course – there is plenty to chew on in the FDU Alumni Magazine feature about the founding of the University and the role played by the Rutherford Campus and folks who worked and studied at Rutherford.
Here’s the link to read the essay: http://issuu.com/fdumagazine/docs/fdumag_ws2012_pdf?mode=window&pageNumber=34
Suffice to say – I will share one observation, that at this vantage point in life, was among my first thoughts – but not deemed something I could fit into the essay.
Back in the years just after graduation, I began to get that Alumni Magazine. I would glance at my graduation year first, (for me – 1971), I think most of us do that. Then I would scan back to what seemed prehistoric dates. Goodness…those folks in the 1950s and 1940s! Wow. Those must be old people!
Then, I began to notice – that students from graduations in successive years were making their entry on the class notes pages. First through the ’70s, eventually beyond. The ’80s, ’90s and through the end of the millenium to the current date. What was lopsided before my time, in one direction, now became a growing – and overwhelming group of names and graduation years – all after mine. Actually – I noticed I had to start with the newest grads, and turn page after page to get back to my years…and the names and years before mine didn’t look all that ancient anymore. Reunions and new entries added one upon the other – and the only thing I could do is watch, and gain some insight. What seemed like an eternal experience at Rutherford FDU, began to take its place in the grand scheme of things. My tenure was a short stay – a measure of my place in time.
I offer that great, haunting Pete Yarrow song, “The Great Mandala” or “The Wheel Of Life” written and performed first in the Vietnam Era, my time at FDU. You can probably a listen to Peter Yarrow; Richie Havens or Peter, Paul & Mary doing that song by download – or on the Internet – perhaps on YouTube. The song was introduced back in the era when I was a student at FDU. -you should enjoy the song, perhaps with a new found understanding of its message. – Roger Alan Deitz