With my daughter a month into her freshman year at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, I've been thinking a lot about my own freshman year there 30 years ago. Tonight, I got to wondering about my roommate from that year, Tim. I haven't thought a lot about him over the years because we kind of parted ways after that first year at school. We would occasionally run into each other in succeeding years at Carbondale, but I really didn't hang with him at all after our first year.
I decided to hit the Google to see if I could find him. A quick search on just his name didn't result in anything that could plausibly be him. Suddenly, I remembered the last encounter I had with him sometime late (I think) in my stay at SIU at a party. He told me he was going to enlist in the Air Force. I didn't think much of it at the time, but for some reason I remembered him telling me that. So I refined my Google search to include his name and "USAF". Before hitting "enter", I figured this was a huge long shot since even if he really had followed through and enlisted, it was probably just a minimal stint in the military and he had already been out for a long time.
Hah! I immediately found this and when I clicked on the link, I recognized him instantly.
Here's a picture of us taken in late 1978. That's him on the right and me on the left. By way of explanation on height difference, I'm sitting on my bed which sat pretty high because it sat atop the edge of the heating unit and the edge of my desk, and he's standing. (Don't ask about the cat or I'll have to tell you tales of "cat bowling").
(For Dave Bakke, if you're reading this, notice the Beaker Street poster next to Tim's left shoulder.)
And now...here is the picture of USAF Col. (fucking Colonel!) Fowler today:
I hate to say it, and I'm not sure why I hate to, but I'm really proud of him. I knew him (and him me) as sort of an aimless kid of 18 in the year we lived together. And believe me, we did lots of things the military would not approve of. But what the hell, way to go Tim!