I took a trip down memory lane last week when I paid my first real visit to Penn State since 1991. I spent several days exploring the campus, and the town of State College, that helped me become all that I am today. “Happy Valley” is where I spent four of the best years of my life. It’s where I first wrote my own music in a serious way. It’s where I performed before the largest audiences I ever played.
What’s different? Well, there has been a lot of development. Quite noticeable on the University campus, even more noticeable in town. More chain stores, like H & M and Target. An Amazon store. But there are still plenty of mom ’n pop shops to be found. Even some businesses I remember from my time in school (yes, it’s been over 45 years since I graduated) are still there, probably in their third generation by now.
I made a nunber of visits back to Penn State in those first 15 years after graduating. I always used to think I wanted to have another go at it. But with a lengthy 27 years since my last real visit, I now have a different perspective on this formative stage of my life from this recent visit. I no longer wish I was young so I could have a re-do. True, those college girls still look the same and I just got older! But I OK knowing I’m too far over the hill to even delude myself into thinking I still have a shot at ’em. But I am very optimistic those kids are going to turn out alright (I truly hope so) after they experience the best four years of their lives.
Does this tie in with music at all, I don’t know. In spite of the 80 degree weather, nobody had their stereo speakers aimed out the windows. Indeed, I heard very little in the way of ambient music except for a few loud car radios while walking through town. Back in my day, there was always music in the air on a nice day. Speakers were aimed out the windows so everybody could hear it. And much of that music was good. So good that my generation, and successive generatings, are still singing those songs today.
Come to think of it, I did hear one song being played on a boombox on the lawn of an off-campus fraternity house. There were a number of young men and women putting a float together for a Homeoming parade. The song playing? “Don’t You Love Her Madly’. Maybe there’s reason to have a little faith in these kids.
Thank you again for supporting ORIGINAL music!