Before I throw out this newspaper, let me pass it along to those of you with teenage children or grandchildren. 

When I was their age, I assumed my friends and I would follow a similar path to a fairly conventional adulthood. We’d do alright, but none of us would likely set the world on fire. I don’t imagine kids today think much differently, do they? 

When I got out of school, there were people I kept up with, and those I didn’t. Those friendships that began in college and are still intact are precious indeed, and include several Birds readers. I just assumed those I left behind  blended into the woodwork that supports all of our daily comings and goings. In many ways, I was exactly right. 

The University of Maryland required freshmen to attend a week-long campus orientation program that began just before the start of school. Orientation was run by the Dean of Students, with help from Student Government Organization members.

Each freshman was paired up with a buddy who might mentor five or six students that week, and was available throughout the year, as needed, whenever a freshman had a problem. Our buddies took us around and showed us the ropes—where to go, what to avoid, how to survive in a complex and competitive environment.

Ours taught us the campus lingo, and encouraged us to get involved in student activities, but also devote plenty of time to what we were there for.  

I was barely 17 and from out of state. My buddy was a short blond senior, a real Marylander, probably 21 or 22. Everyone we walked past on campus seemed to know this gregarious SGO officer and real BMOC. 

That’s him on the right, the guy with the white hair, the big smile and the red tie. I knew him as Steny. Now he’s Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-MD, House Majority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, a real BMOC. 



11/17/2009 15:28

I am impressed. You not only met Steny Hoyer but he was your buddy. I would love to hear more about your famous friend when he was not famous.


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