Whenever I go back home to my parent's house, I'm reminded how fast life is passing by. This past weekend, my old baseball card collection - which has sat patiently by my old bedside for well over 20 years - made this point very clear. Almost all of the cards are from the 80's. Some card values have held up well over time, like my Fleer rookie card of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken. Others have lost considerable value, like my cards of Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Dwight Gooden, and Don Mattingly - once considered the centerpieces of my collection. Some of the cards that I placed in my plastic sleeves - space reserved only for the good ones - ended up being pretty much worthless in value.
My music collection also does a pretty good job of reminding me that time is passing by quickly and therefore I am truly an old fart. First off, there are tons of cassettes, even cassette singles and mix tapes. There's music that reminds me of different stages in life - from Duran Duran and Def Leppard in elementary school to Rush and Led Zeppelin in junior high and freshman year of high school. It was sophomore year that I discovered 92.7 WDRE and my musical interests truly blossomed. Most of my collection represents this era: Love and Rockets, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Smiths, The Cure, Roxy Music. The mix tapes are slightly embarrassing, like looking at an old class photo. I gave those mix tapes some corny names. But I took pride in them at the time. They earned me venerable nicknames from my peers, like DJ Calhoun and Mixmaster Lai. They made car rides that much more enjoyable. But now I can barely look at them. I did play one of them last night though. I think I smirked throughout the entire Side A.
This time at home, I took the visit down memory lane one step further. I opened up shoe boxes of letters and cards I received in high school and college. I poured through letters from fellow campers, family friends, high school friends who wrote to me when I was in college, and college friends who wrote to me during winter and summer break. The contents of many of these letters revealed that there was a very close bond with some of these friends - much closer bonds than I remember. A few friends I have reconnected with through Facebook. But sadly, many of them I never heard from ever again. It's a little weird because when you reread these letters, you think that the way it's supposed to play out is that you're going to be friends with these people for life.
One friend, who I was pretty tight with in high school and college, wrote a particularly hilarious letter. It was dated sometime in the summer of 1993. I was on summer break from college and my friend was in Taiwan for the summer. I wanted to paraphrase part of that letter for your enjoyment: "So get this. I was walking around Taipei with a buddy when all of a sudden this thing inside his pocket rings. He pulls this phone out of his pocket and, right in the middle of this department store, he starts talking to our friend who just called him! Then he hands me the phone and I'm talking to this guy while we're walking around the store! IT WAS AWESOME!" That letter had me laughing my head off. Time is flying by way too fast.