A Few Words on Once Upon a Time
At 17, I went off to University, in my case, the University of Virginia, which was a good choice for me. However, in 1969, UVA was still an all-male university. The strangest thing was that it didn’t seem strange at the time. My high school girlfriend couldn’t go to UVA, although she went to Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia. However, Mary Washington is in Fredericksburg, while the University of Virginia is in Charlottesville, about 70 miles away.
Strangely enough, it worked out well for a while. Monday through Friday, we studied along without distractions, and then we got together every weekend to party. What was not to like?
Well, on Sundays, I had to drive her back to Fredericksburg. In those days, there were “parietal hours,” which meant she had to be in her dorm by midnight.
That wasn’t much of a problem, but it did mean that I had to drive back from Fredericksburg to Charlottesville between midnight and 2:00 AM in the morning.
Which was no trouble back in the drug days. I’d pop a couple of white crosses, and I was ready to go.
Probably too ready to go.
I had to drive through a part of Virginia that is literally referred to as “the wilderness.” (Civil War buffs, look up the Battle of the Wilderness, where Robert E. Lee faced off against Ulysses S. Grant. Men couldn’t see each other as they fired into the wilderness, sometimes only yards apart).
Well, if that’s not enough to get a 17-year-old imagination going, consider the white crosses and the fact that I was doing an honors thesis on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
So maybe I saw elves, and maybe I didn’t, but the trolls, unfortunately are real and can’t be avoided.
But fortunately enough, I always got back to Charlottesville. I graduated and went on to become a marketing consultant, and I started flying places instead of driving.
All that was well enough, and probably safer than having me driving in the middle of the night.
And I realized that the world is a serious place.
But I would still trade it all for a midnight ride through the wilderness, hoping to see an elf or two, to enjoy the world alive and magical.
Despite the trolls.