Proof I’m getting old: tonight’s realization
The older I get, the more I realize how much I missed in school, because I lacked the patience to appreciate things. Tonight I had dinner with a bunch of Kay’s coworkers and one professor’s husband was a history professor at San Jose State. I breezed through college with the minimum amount of required history (1 western civilization (mostly just western europe) class, and a Civil War-through-the-Present US History course), and only memorized the points carefully laid out by the professor (since that’s only what was going to be on the tests, right?).
But tonight, hearing this professor talk passionately about things few of us at the table knew about or remembered was an enlightening experience. There’s something about passionate people and charismatic speakers that causes their enthusiasm to rub off on you. I heard all about early 20th century communism in the US, and how many early civil rights activists (including many members of the NAACP in the 30′s to 50′s) were communists. I heard things about W. E. B. DuBois that I never knew about, the struggles he faced which included a ridiculous trial during the McCarthy era. It made me want to learn more about these subjects, and for the first time I could suddenly see merit in dealing with today’s problems by learning about the past and seeing what had been done, what succeeded, and what failed.
I never took the time to enjoy many subjects I was “forced” to study earlier in my life, but I’m really starting to appreciate them now.