“…We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files – We’d like to help you learn to help yourself – Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes – Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home – And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson Jesus loves you more than you can know…” Simon & Garfunkel
It’s interesting how a soft floating memory can be triggered by a melody and lyrics, and be pulled into my present from a past that seems like a lifetime ago. I remember how desperately I identified with Dustin Hoffman’s character Ben Braddock in the film “THE GRADUATE.” I had a suspicion that I was lost and didn’t know it. Fortunately there wasn’t a Mrs. Robinson in my life but I had my concerns and I didn’t know where to turn.
It was 1967 and I was one semester away from graduating from UCSB into one of the most chaotic times in recent history. The war in Vietnam raged on, in the streets and college campuses there was a feeling of uncertainty and I didn’t realize how much of the path ahead of me was without signposts. I felt like I was a square peg and society was waiting for me to enter their world, pounce on me and pound me into a round hole to make me fit.
The thing that I was the most leery about was that I suspected that this process of socialization might be so subtle that I would never see it coming and when the process took place I might never notice. – Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes – Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home – All I wanted to do was to find my Elaine Robinson, (Katharine Ross) and flee.
I was a product of a universal approach to education that gave me knowledge but left me without a real idea of what my strengths and aptitudes were, a clear idea of my interests and how these would translate into a profession that would help me make a meaningful addition to society.
Looking back I don’t think what I feared happened, I wasn’t socialize in a way that neuters a person’s soul and spirit, I was able to keep most of my uniqueness. I’m happy and proud of the lives I’ve touched – there are some due to my immature ignorance I wish I could offer apologies. I think that it would have been easier had I found insights into human behavior earlier in my life.
I knew I wanted to be a good person, it was instilled in me from an early age from a wonderful positive home life but I didn’t know what areas to focus on. And with that this is the reason for this blog and my children’s story, if you use the “Great Riches of Life” as a mirror or perhaps a road map it’s easier to find the greater joys in life.