“Liberty” Begins – Hanover College; Fall, 1982

The Road to Hanover by EricMagnuson

“The Road to Hanover” from EricMagnuson, some rights reserved

I just finished writing two scenes in the second of my trilogy of stories – “Life”, “Liberty” and “The Pursuit of Happiness”.

“Liberty” begins in the Fall of 1982, as the Johnson family follows the windy wooded road that leads to the “Harvard of the Midwest” – Hanover College.  David Johnson’s future is as bright as the multi-colored leaves clinging to the trees that line the pathway to new knowledge.  Little does he know what lies ahead.

I’m finding as I write that memories are coming back to me –

… meeting my college roommate for the first time.  He was a faithful Irish Catholic from Cincinnati’s Moeller high school passionate about football, beer, family, and friends (not necessarily in that order).

… going to the orientation “mixers” and noticing just how many incredibly attractive young women (we still called them “girls” then) actually paid attention to me in my faux-Izod knit shirt and non-designer jeans.

… being introduced to the ideas of an “alternative sub-culture” who openly smoked cigarettes and privately smoked pot, talking about Nietzsche and Existentialism and scoffing at conservative Christians trying to legislate morality.

– reading Dispatches by Michael Herr, a first-hand account of the Vietnam War and being shocked as much by the language than by the descriptions of violence.

– being attracted to the liberal politics of the “Peace and Justice” movement and noticing “Free Leonard Peltier” buttons on Salvation Army flannel shirts.

I think this is going to be a fun story to write.  I’m tempted to send scenes to old college friends as I write them, but I’m going to resist the urge.  Some may stumble on some snippets I describe here on my blog.  Still, I think it would be better to nurture this baby in the womb of my word processor until it’s at least viable.

2 thoughts on ““Liberty” Begins – Hanover College; Fall, 1982

  1. i have also been dipping into old memories of late. i had my first class last week, and while it was a science class, my brain was busy zipping all over Hanover’s campus. the point, the fireplace in the woods, the theater, the two dorms i lived in. and of course, all the colossal young mistakes i made in every corner of that campus. in earnest, but still … sometimes i cringe. lots of tremendous memories as well, and some especially inane ones. i can still see the blue carpet in one of my dorm rooms. i see billy idol on my wall. i remember putting records on and changing needles in the stylus. i was thinking that when i’m old and in the nursing home, i will be thinking of these things.

    • I know exactly what you mean. As I write this short story with the hopes of making it public, I am praying I will be able to do what I heard one writer describe about good writing – “Tell the truth as if it were a lie and lie as if it were the truth.” There is much I’m not proud of from my Hanover years, but I clearly believe “all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.”

      Thank you so much for sharing your comments. I hope we can both benefit from shared memories. I know I can.

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