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Editor's Desk
Colby's friends keep showing up at the office door--with their college touring children. Were we that smart at their age?

Gerry Boyle

From the Editor's Desk

First the classmate appears in my office door on the fourth floor of Eustis. Older, maybe grayer, but the same smile, the same voice that once rang out in Averill or Delta Upsilon or the downtown apartment our senior year.

And then there's a movement out in the hall. The friend turns and beckons and a son or daughter appears. Soon the kid is gamely answering questions from Dad's old friend: So what is it you're interested in? What other schools do you plan to look at? Are you applying early decision to Colby?

This is one of the benefits I never expected from this job: seeing old friends--and their children. Meeting the children who are at the age their parents and I were when we first met. Watching the two generations side by side, the children about to embark on the same stage of life that we once negotiated in this very same place.

Seeing how we've changed--and how we haven't.

The last time I had one of these encounters, I chatted in Eustis with a friend and his college-touring high school-senior daughter, and then we went to lunch at Roberts.

The dining hall has evolved a bit since the days when we lined up with our Saturday-lunch steak tickets, but there still was a sense of culinary déjà vu. We got our trays, helped ourselves from the smorgasbord (yes, the food is better) and sat. When we tried to explain the 1970s steak-ticket thing to our young companion (one thin steak per student every Saturday, unless, of course, you wolfed steak number one and trotted quickly to another dining hall for steak number two), she shook her head and rolled her eyes. Oh, Dad.

Like most of these kids--Colby, the next generation--she seemed awfully smart, fairly savvy. I found myself listening to her talk about colleges--big vs. small, city vs. country--and trying to recall my own state of mind at that time. She seemed relatively sophisticated in her thinking, discerning in her observations. I wondered whether the world has changed that much in 25 years, whether, in this age of cable and the Internet, The Sopranos and, kids are growing up faster or even better.

It may be the haze of hindsight (who says it's 20-20?) but it seemed to me that as we hit college we were naïve by comparison. Or maybe, just maybe, we seemed to exude the same certainty as we explained our college plans to parents. Perhaps naïveté, like irony, sometimes becomes apparent over time.

Reporting from a stop on the Colby tour . . .

Gerry Boyle '78 P '06

Gerry Boyle
Gerry Boyle '78
Managing Editor


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