I do not want to hear Tubthumping when I’m 85

Musical encoding is a powerful thing. Researchers are only just beginning to understand its importance, and I imagine it has a lot more value than even the hefty weight of reminiscence.

Now think of it, think of the music someone is going to play for us one day.

Which brings to mind two quick stories.

A colleague here is doing oral histories with alumni who are now in their 90s. She stopped by my office the other day and mentioned some interesting little tidbit in the ongoing process. Two students were in my office at the time and I looked at them and said something like “Just think, someone is going to approach you one day, in 2087 or so, and ask for your recollections about this place.”

And the student goes “2087. That’s not a real year.”

I hear ya, pal.

And, today, we learned that next week my colleague will do an oral history with a woman who is 102 years old. I wondered where that put that woman on the list of oldest living alumni. There’s a story in here somewhere, I figured.

So I called the alumni association and they did a bit of digging and we found out that, last September, the oldest surviving alumnus on record was a 111-year-old alumnus.

Think of it, 111. That’s a life born around 1905 who saw all but the very first planes, and then saw us go to the moon, and then perhaps has learned that we have people living in a tin can circling 250 miles above us. Those and all of the other things that they have seen. All the stories that person must know.

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