Governor’s School

26 08 2010

Way the hell back in summer of 1991, when I was a rising senior at Jacksonville High School in Jacksonville, Arkansas. I had the great opportunity to participate in Arkansas Governor’s School. My area of specialty was English and it was in there that I met my roommate for the then 6-week long program, a guy who would later become my roommate for my freshman year at college and the best man at my wedding. It was also at Governor’s School that I decided where I’d go to college: Hendrix, which is the campus where AGS is held.

I recently got an email from a life-long friend of mine who also went to Governor’s School herself regarding a survey of former AGS attendees about how it affected their life. I’d say ultimately it didn’t do much over the long-haul and was more of an influence in the general, big-picture sense much as how my elementary education shaped my life in ways that are, today, pretty much invisible. Yet, I would never had traded that experience for the world. It was a place that said I was smart and good at English, my favorite subject. I had a great time there. Most of what I remember is me being a complete idiot. I don’t think I was especially smart, but people kept telling me I was and that felt pretty nice. It was high drama with nerds. Fun stuff.

The email came about 4 days ago. Then, yesterday, remarkably, I ran into my “Area II” teacher from AGS randomly in the Nashville Public Library. His name is Bill Haymes and Area II was something I personally referred to as “group therapy.” It was the touchy-feely part of the AGS program, but was also an important experience. Bill was the perfect teacher for it, too. He’s the type of guy who seems so peace with himself. He’s a musician (2 CDs on sale here) and just generally a super guy. I had completely forgotten that he lived in Nashville, but now that I think on it, I remember running into him once before about 11 or 12 years ago when we lived here before. Regardless, I was floored by the chance meeting and despite a few awkward comments by yours truly-this is something I do; put on the spot, I have a tendency to say really odd things-I was genuinely happy to see him and have, for a moment, that connection to my summer experiences from 19 years before. Oh Library, is there anything you can’t do?

It’s so strange how a theme or an idea or the memory of a place can seem to randomly enter your life from multiple angles. No rhyme or reason to it, but it feels like the universe is nudging you in the ribs with a cosmic elbow and pointing dramatically and demanding to be acknowledged.