Let’s turn to the 70’s. I can almost go year by year and have some kind of memory or reflection.
On January 1, 1970 I was 16 years old and starting the second half of my Junior year at Roslyn High School. I was very active in my USY Jewish youth group and getting ready to to Israel in the summer. I was not active in high school activities and most of my friends I made at youth group. As described before, I had a great summer in Israel and returned home to start my senior year of high school in September.
January 1971 brought a good deal of uncertainty. I really didn’t know where I would end up at college. I did not do well academically in high school and while all of my friends were off to prestigious colleges I ended up in West Virginia. I worked in a sleep away camp the summer of 1971 and headed off to college in late August. I’ve spoken about my time in West Virginia and for me it wasn’t Almost Heaven. But the day I arrived John Denver was performing on the state capital steps just across the river from my college campus.
January 1972 and I was starting my second semester at Morris Harvey College. And by this point I was sure I wanted out of Morris Harvey. I applied as a transfer student to Boston University, American University and a few others. I was a pretty good student at Morris Harvey And I was very happy to learn in May of us 1972 that I was accepted to Boston University. I was elated. I never saw the school until I actually arrived there in August of 1972. I essentially went to BU sight unseen.
It was a bit of a culture shock and an academic shock as well. I remember arriving at my first history course,Modern European History and the professor, Professor Orlov giving us the book list of all the books we were to read for the semester. When he got to book number eight including a couple of novels like All Quiet on the Western Front and Budenbrooks by Thomas Mann I was in a cold sweat. How was I going to read all of this? I learned to adapt very quickly. I was in the big leagues.
As for the culture shock, well I now lived in an “open” coed dorm. The sexes could commingle. At Morris Harvey I lived in a men only dorm. If a girl was found in your room you could or more probably would be expelled. The students were much more academically inclined and motivated. And there were a lot of Jewish students, also a lot of students fromLong Island. That didn’t create any culture shock. But we did have a lot of independence. Nobody forced you to go to class. No one took attendance. I was pretty good about attending class and I did learn that I better study. And while I wasn’t the best student there was, I did get better.
On January 1, 1973 I was beginning the second semester of my sophomore year of college. My big accomplishment for that semester is that I decided to volunteer as a Big Brother at the Bunker Hill Health Center in Charlestown. And for the remainder of my time at BU I mentored a 15 year old young man named Tony Mento. I would visit with him once a week and just hang out go bowling or to museums or a hockey game. It was very rewarding.
While not nearly as dramatic it was my “Good Will Hunting” experience. When I saw that movie and saw that the Bunker Hill Health Center was the venue for Wills psychotherapy I was stunned. It brought back many memories.