We Were Young and Wild and Free

I took these photos sometime during my junior year of college.  It was a time in our lives when we were exploring lots of new ground – physically, intellectually, emotionally.  We were identifying boundaries and challenging one another to cross them as fast as we could.

I wish such a time for every young person.

I can’t remember whose idea these pictures were.  I imagine they were Sam’s.  He always pushed the envelope farther than anyone else.  He read more than you.  He remembered things better than you.  He partied harder than you.  He shouted louder than you.

A true radical, he lived on the edge of rational ideas and actions.  A few years after graduation, he got caught on the wrong side of the line.  He slowly stopped making sense to many of those around him.  While we cherished the creativity of his intellect, we worried about his ability to care for his day to day needs.  Eventually he got help through medication and a job helping others. But the meds numbed his spirit, presenting him with new challenges, new boundaries to cross.

He and I fell out of touch a few years ago after an awkward visit that left me frustrated with him and sad for him.  Last night we learned that he lost his decade-long struggle to find a balance between the world as it was and as he wished it to be.  The details are still sketchy, but his passing has caused many to reminisce about a young man who challenged so many people to be, do, and say more than they thought they could.

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3 thoughts on “We Were Young and Wild and Free

    • Carolyn, It means SO much to me to know that you, and Henry, read and appreciated this. Over 300 other people around the world did too. My deepest sympathies for your loss. May his memory be a blessing.

  1. Dear Jodi,

    As a fellow Clarkie (although of another era), I resonate with your remembrances of learning: of the world, of boundaries, internal & external, of limits & growing beyond them, of “challenging convention” in order to “change the world.” My 40+ years since being a Clark undergrad have included much more learning – much that has been enjoyable, some that has been painful, all that I have needed. Like so many Clark psych majors, I became a clinician & some of my biggest challenges have been in accepting & respecting vicissitudes of the human condition that create conflict & pain, behaviors & experiences the world likes to categorize as “mental illnesses,” as if a label ever offers understanding or protection. No matter the source of psychological pain, no matter the illogic or reasoning of death, every one of us wants to be recognized as having a valuable voice, a meaningful presence on this planet. I am writing here to add to that voice & presence, for Sam & for all who now are mourning his absence.

    With condolences & energies for healing,
    Bonnie Frank Carter
    Clark BA 1970
    Alumni Trustee, 1993-1999
    (and most importantly) Jodi’s cousin

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