The watershed year


I was sweeping out the house today, trying to get the last remnants of the holiday season out of the house. As I was bringing a pile of dust and other stuff toward the dustpan, I heard a clink that indicated a coin was inside. I pulled it out and found a penny with the date of 1986 on it.

I doubt that any other year has gotten as much mention on this site as 1986 has. It truly was a pivotal year in my life, because I began the year living in my parents’ house in Springfield, Illinois. High school graduation was still a few months away, and then my 18th birthday would be a few weeks later and then, in the fall, it would hopefully be off to college somewhere. That was the plan, at least.

Looking back on it, more than a quarter-century later, that’s exactly the way that it turned out. Graduation came, after I survived a very severe bout of what we called senoritis. And then it was off to college in September, just as I had wanted. Timewise, I was only five hours away, but it felt like I had left for another planet. And that suited me just fine.

I still went home to spend holiday breaks with my parents, and spent the summer of 1987 living under their roof, for one last time. But my life changed forever in 1986, and finding a tangible reminder of that year was an unexpected surprise. It’s certainly fodder for something to put in this space.

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