|Reagan addresses a relieved world in November, 1985|
That was the year I graduated high school. The summer after graduation was just what you'd want a summer after high school graduation to be. Someday I might post about some of our adventures. I just need to research the particulars regarding the statute of limitations.
My first quarter of college was every bit as good and, to be honest, the best time I had in college. There would be other good years in school, but that first quarter of my first year was what you would want your first experience in college to be.
I only went to the nearby branch at OSU (we called it The Twig since it consisted of only one building). But new friends, new girlfriend, still visiting old friends, visiting my best friend on the Columbus campus, and just a flood of memories of good and satisfying events made it the best of times. There were parties with new acquaintances, being out and about in a new city, and just getting to know people I'd never met in a brand new setting.
|The Twig as it looked when I attended|
I also remember it was a time that seemed - no doubt coincidently - to be surrounded by pop culture nods to the Cold War and its waning presence. One was a spoof, one a drama and one a Rocky movie. Spies Like Us, which I wrote about before, was a John Landis project with SNL alums Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd; a lampoon of Reagan era patriotism and the much maligned Star Wars program. Rocky IV was ham-fisted on the opposite side, with Rocky practically winning the Cold War against what could only be seen as cardboard cutout Russians. Finally White Nights, starring Gregory Hines and defecting dancer extraordinaire Baryshnikov, was a drama with dancing. In it, audiences were reminded that, for all its sins dragged out by Raymond Greenwood, the USA was still a better option than Soviet Russia. All were late Cold War themed, and all were released within a week of each other around the first of December.
So charging into the end of the quarter towards that wonderful break, things were still soaring, despite yet another loss to Michigan. On top of everything, all of that fun and all those Cold War movies were given a boost because of a news story right around Thanksgiving. It was a little meeting in Geneva between Ronald Reagan and the latest Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev.
By then I was paying attention to news, probably more than many of my friends. I saw the laments of editorials worried that Reagan might botch this historic chance given us by the Soviets. When he was there, I still recall some media generated outrage over something Reagan did when he grabbed Gorbachev by the shoulder and said something I can't remember.
But as if to add cake to the year's icing, when Reagan returned from Geneva and addressed Congress, it was a strange moment. Even Reagan's staunchest critics joined his supporters, and even most of my peers, and heaved a great sigh of relief. For the first time it looked like we might really, really come through the old Cold War without mushroom clouds and Skynet strikes. Hard to believe, but that was a light at the end of the tunnel many my age didn't think we would see in our lifetimes - if at all.
Not a bad way to spend an already wonderful first college Christmastime. A fine year capped off by a fine time entering college. A first quarter in school that rose to the occasion and was all I could have hoped. And on top of it all, a meeting with our president that suggested what many were beginning to suspect: That the Soviets were through, and we were going to come out of it all not only peacefully, but victoriously. For a couple weeks that December, everything seemed focused there, and if that wasn't a happy holidays, I'm not sure what it would take.