Big nostalgia trip, being back here in Chicago.
Nostalgia is all I’ve got today sitting in my iHouse cell with a raging blizzard outside. Should have stayed in the here and now in Pittsburgh
I started school here in 1950, at the age of 16 and lived near the University for most of the next 7 years. Some things have changed, but the neighborhood remains very familiar to me. To belabor the obvious, I’m the one who has changed, but not in an expected way. This morning I left iHouse, walked a mile or so to the center of the University, in nasty, cold rain, and realized I never would have easily walked this far when I was 16; one or two blocks would have seemed excessive. No wonder I’ve always had a weight problem.
I went to the Oriental Institute, a wonderful museum on the campus, and then went to the Alumni House to look at old yearbooks and directories. One of the things about nostalgia is trying to put it all in the right place. I don’t look back very much, and my memory is often vague on dates. I looked up a few things and now I’m more confused than before. I guess there are some things I’ll never know.
I entered the University of Chicago after only 2 ½ years of the high school I hated. Several large schools had similar programs at that time. Chicago was my only option; my mother would never have allowed me to leave home and go to Yale or Columbia.
At that time, Robert Maynard Hutchins was chancellor of the University. He was hugely famous in academic circles, although seldom remembered now. Looking at the 1960 yearbook I found a speech he gave about power and responsibility, particularly the responsibility of government to use power responsibly. Much of what he said, almost 50 years ago, would be applicable to our situation today.
Hutchins was one of the early naysayers to McCarthyism
and the House Un-American Activities Committee and warned about the dangers of “anti-communism”. Were he still alive, I’m sure he would have much to say about the Patriot Act and the current bill awaiting Senate approval. It seems to me we are about to enter another period of this kind of paranoid behavior.