If you remember Bill Clinton as president of the United States in the days before the name Monica meant anything, Terry Branstad as governor of Iowa the first time, John Elway without a Super Bowl ring, then I’m about to hit a few things tucked way in the corner of your mind and heart. You may have to change names but the descriptions will fit.
Seinfeld was entering its final season on TV as Titanic was exploding on the big screen and Bob Vogel was entering his last days as president of Wartburg.
I, too, was coming down the homestretch at the college of our brightest days.
Wartburg College started their winter term shortly after New Year’s Day. I know Michael Graham, David Schwake and I did our best to send 1997 0ut with a bang. Some memories are fuzzier than others.
A lot was happening in my life at that time.
Green Day was saying it was the “Time of Your Life,” and we were about to say “Good Riddance,” the real title of the song, to Buhr Lounge, Engelbrecht Library and dinners in the Den.
The Wartburg Boy Band, Serenade was touring on weekends, contemplating the future while having fun in the present.
The Knights chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists was planning their national convention which was going to be held in Waverly in April. Carrie Lawton and I were busy leading the charge on that event.
Carrie and I were also practicing with intensity with the Castle Singers as we were just a semester away from going down under to Australia on our May Term tour.
Brian Vandeberg and I spent many nights in Knights Gymnasium calling men’s and women’s basketball games for KWAR. We were the home and away voice of the Knights, so that meant many evenings in the crow’s nest and on Wartburg bus. Rich Kloster would score 1,000 career points in a game against Luther and I got to call the play for Wartburg TV. I think I had to stand on a box for the opening shot alongside Michael Van Gorkom.
I had an Apple Powerbook 520 to do email with Eudora Light on my yeagerp account. I’m sure I could scroll back in my Twitter or Facebook profile to see what else happened that year. Oh wait, those things were still several years away.
We didn’t have YouTube, but we had the beginnings of the internet. I opened a Hotmail account and searched for stuff on Dogpile and Alta Vista. We used Netscape to get on the information superhighway.
We had 2fer Bullfrogs at Joe’s Knighthawk and pitchers of beer with our free popcorn at the OP.
I did have a cell phone. Justin MT Devore carried a pager. And Jay Boeding and I shared a room at Grossmann Hall.
My radio partner was John Bloomberg on La Manana.
I had no job lined up. No exact idea of what I was looking for in a job or even where that would take me. At the time I was still thinking sports journalism, play-by-play or TV.
I had just completed a stint at KWWL working on Friday Night Heroes covering high school football.
There was media criticism class, my major’s capstone, being taught by my academic advisor Liz Mathis.
We were young. We were excited. And most of all, scared as hell about what came next.
Then there was this girl. Ok, there had a been a few other before her, but there was something different about Ms. Amy Freeseman from Britt, Iowa. We know how the story ends, but the official beginning was just days away. We’d have a week of classes and then the first official date to see Good Will Hunting on January 18th. (maybe coming soon: me telling that story if I were Ted in How I Met Your Mother.)
Now I document events on my phone with Instagram, Facebook and this blog.
These memories are locked in the brain. Photos are harder to retrieve, but maybe I’ll get brave enough to post them.
I had lots of great memories and friends during my days at Wartburg. These just happen to be the ones that came to head 15 years ago this week.
After awhile, the facts may soften, the passions stronger and the plaid shirts louder than we want to recall. So make the best of this test and don’t ask why. It’s not a question but a lesson learned in time.
I know I had the time of my life.