At age 70, my legs are not as steady or ready as they were in 1970. As a student at the University of Minnesota I often relied upon them to hasten away from smoke bombs thrown at police by antiwar protestors, or climb over and around social activists barring entry to Morrill Hall or Coffman Union, or large groups gathered in support of the American Indian Movement. At the time, it seemed I was navigating in, through, and around the eye of a series of storms.
Today, I don’t need them to do the things they used to do, like run marathons, bike long distances, or climb mountains—or even ladders—or guide me to classes in buildings scattered to the four winds about a large urban University. Now, they just need to take me to the mailbox, car, or dining room. Even on those occasions when I set foot on campus, it is at a more relaxed stride and pace.
When did this happen, this shift—this physical change? All I did was continue living my daily life, and for most of those days everything seemed to remain the same. Do you suppose change is subtle? The days pass, as they are wont to do, and so do their siblings—weeks, months, and years. And when enough of them pass the result is, well, what I see when I look in the mirror: my parents.
- James Boyer (B.A. ’73), Minneapolis