That Was the Time

“This is the time to remember, ‘cause it will not last forever. These are the days to hold on to, ‘cause we won’t although we’ll want to.”

Poetry. Pure poetry.

Those lyrics, from Billy Joel’s poignant This Is The Time, played incessantly at my senior prom, having been designated as the “official prom song” for the Lindenhurst High School Class of 2000. It was ironic, even back then, that a bunch of 17 and 18-year-olds would select anything but the most modern, up-to-date hit to capture their little moment in time.

But that was the thing about my class. We were what could only be properly classified as “old school” – the last remnants of the old guard. We used to joke that, once we graduated, it would all be downhill. To some degree, in some respects, it was.  

In the weeks following our graduation, the wooden bleachers upon which our family and friends had stood cheering us on to the strains of Pomp & Circumstance were torn down to make way for new, improved metal ones; the football field upon which hundreds of chairs for the graduates had been lined up was dug out in favor of a state-of-the-art track and field, making us the last class to graduate on the “real” Kienle Field.

In the months that followed, major renovations were begun on the exterior and interior of the high school as part of a long-planned revitalization project. Countless faculty members – teachers who had been there from the days when my mother walked those same halls 30 years prior – retired en masse, eliminating a once-strong veteran presence.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, within the next year, the locations of both our junior and senior proms would be gone – the Narragansett Inn would be burned to the ground late one night by what was strongly suspected to be arson; and Windows on the World, where those Billy Joel lyrics had played on the night of June 1st, 2000…well, we all know what happened there.

Things change – that is a given. Some are merely surface changes, ones that you see coming and which, ultimately, are for the better. Others, you never foresee. 

It is rare that we stop to appreciate what we have, while we still have it, and savor the moment. I suppose it’s difficult to have that kind of perspective, especially at a young age. Instead, we find ourselves racing through the school years, looking forward to the day when our lives will no longer be dictated by a bell schedule.

…And then we join the workforce and find ourselves longing for the days of carefree summers, when our biggest worries were cramming for a test or not finding a date for the prom.

If we only knew.

 

{Published: July 4th, 2007}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment