Homecoming at Franklin Church

May 12, 2017 § 1 Comment

Franklin Church, built in 1841, is an out-of-the-way jewel in the Holmes County countryside south of Lexington. I posted about it here back in February.

A reader brought my post to the attention of Julian Watson, one of the church’s members and a leader in efforts to preserve it and the heritage of its membership. He invited my wife and me to attend and enjoy the church’s annual Homecoming on April 23, 2017.

And so we found ourselves in the embrace of this country church on the holy day of its family reunion. They made us welcome to their worship, music, food and fellowship.

As the throng gathered, Mr. Watson welcomed three students from nearby French Camp Academy.

People explored the cemetery in search of ancestors, and others studied the memorabilia in the vestibule of the church. [Click on any smaller photo to view a slide show]

Musicians rehearsed, and then played hymns that provided a segue into the service.

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Mr. Watson welcomed everyone.

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Ms. Virginia Dickinson, who worked to get the church ready for the event, addressed the congregation.

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The preacher came from French Camp and led the worship.

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Then it was time for the food. It was too cool and damp for dinner on the grounds, so the church became a dining hall. At Homecoming in a country church, communion is breaking bread together, with fried chicken, strawberry cake, macaroni and cheese, ham, cabbage, pulled pork, pecan pie, brownies, ice box pie, sweet tea, and shared abundance.

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And then, too soon, it was over, and we headed home to Meridian, our thoughts full of the special spirit of this place.

There is a Homecoming here every year the Sunday after Easter. It’s the only service held at Franklin Church during the year. There’s no longer any local congregation. Almost all of the member families have moved to other communities and even other states, but they strive to make Homecoming.

Homecoming happens every Sunday somewhere at churches across Mississippi. It’s in Mississippi DNA to try to keep the past from dying, to bring it into the present to look at, breathe life into it, and help others, particularly young ones, understand it. That’s what Will Faulkner of Oxford was trying to tell us when he wrote, “The past is never dead; it’s not even past.” Sometimes Mississippians romanticize and clean up the past, even when it is dark and malevolent, but always the past is respected and even revered. Some people say that Mississippians live in the past. I think that’s incorrect. I think Mississippians live in the present, but want the past to co-exist with it. That can be a beautiful thing, and sometimes not.

At Homecoming in Franklin, it’s a beautiful thing.

 

Franklin Church

February 17, 2017 § 4 Comments

Franklin is a once-thriving community in Holmes County. Settlers, primarily from South Carolina and Virginia, arrived in the area in the early 1830’s, soon after it was ceded by the Choctaws. They developed cotton plantations worked by the slaves they had brought with them.

Still standing is the church built east of Franklin in 1841 with slave labor.

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The church has two front doors, one of which is obscured by a tree in the picture above. Originally, one door was used by men, the other by women.

The cemetery behind the church is filled with graves of the early settlers, many of whom had been born in the 1700’s. Many of the tombstones remark that the decedent was from the Abbeville District in South Carolina.

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The photo below shows the gravestone of Benjamin W. Russell, who immigrated to the area from North Carolina two years before his death in 1857 at only 21 years of age. The intriguing inscription recites his tragic history, which sounds like treachery in a business deal, and perhaps a duel: “Here lies entombed an honest man whose courage forced him from a distant land, by fortune’s wheel untimely thrown, this grave bespeaks his solemn moan. Let youth in future great caution take, and never join in business for fortune’s sake, for hearts today in manly friendship beat, tomorrow in a warlike attitude may meet.”
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In the waning days of the Civil War, on January 2, 1865, only three months before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, 1,100 Confederate Home Guards led by General Wirt Adams attacked a column of 3,300 mounted federal troops near the church. The union forces included some of the Second U.S. Colored Cavalry, which consisted of black men recruited from Mississippi, according to a nearby Historical Marker. The battle resulted in heavy Confederate losses, and many were taken prisoner. None of the soldiers who died there are buried in this cemetery; at least none is so noted. Some sources state that the church still bears bulletholes from the clash, but none were visible to us when we visited recently. The historical marker incorrectly states that the battle was part of Grierson’s Raid, but that action actually took place in 1863, and Grierson’s force, which numbered only 1,700 men, did not come near Franklin.

So, who were these people? Who were the farmers, the slaves, the shopkeepers, blacksmiths, homemakers, the soldiers, cavalrymen? What did they hold dear, and what did they care nothing about? What filled their days? What did they dream about? What were their stories? What did they leave behind to mark their time on earth other than tombstones?

There are many communities in Mississippi in decline and on the way to their own extinction. It’s hard to grasp how places that were once so vital, pulsing with the lives and endeavors of people, can simply wither away and return to wilderness, but they do. It’s a sort of cultural entropy. Franklin reminds us that what can seem so important and even critical to us today will be forgotten and faded to nothing over time. Sic transit gloria mundi.

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Prescription for an Easement

March 13, 2017 § 1 Comment

Mississippi is dotted with old churches that have fallen into disuse and even been abandoned as the congregation ages, moves away, and finds other associations. I posted about a typical example here only last month.

Some of the left-behind buildings are lovingly maintained by former members and family, but what keeps people involved with them in most cases is the church cemetery where ancestors and loved ones are interred.

Such was the case with Old Liberty Baptist Church, which had been established before 1854. In that year, Aaron Lott and his wife, Martha, deeded the 2 acres upon which the church had been built, and which included the adjacent cemetery, to the church’s “Committee of Arrangements.” The church later moved away, and the building was torn down, but the cemetery, which fronted on a public road, continued to be visited by people with an interest. Even so, there were only one or two burials there in the preceding 60-70 years. The cemetery was enclosed by a fence, with a gate that was accessible from the public road.

The Lott property, which surrounded the Old Liberty cemetery, descended to Johnnie Lott and his three daughters: Rita Deloach, Linda Douglas, and Cathy Grantham. After the daughters quitclaimed their interest to Johnnie, he later conveyed his interest to Cathy, reserving a life estate. “less and except 2 acres, more or less, comprising the cemetery.”

Johnnie Lott died in 2011, and in 2013, Cathy filed an instrument claiming that she controlled access to the cemetery. The Liberty Baptist Church formed an association to take responsibility for permanent maintenance, and the church deacons deeded its interest in the cemetery to trustees of the association for the purpose. The deed claimed a tract of 1.55 acres, as shown on an attached plat. Rita, sister of Cathy, participated in the process.

In the meantime, Cathy began locking the gate to the cemetery. After the lock had been cut off the gate seven times, Cathy’s husband removed the culvert and pushed dirt up blocking the gate.

Cathy filed suit, claiming that the cemetery property consisted of 1.25 acres, not the 1.55 acres claimed by the church. She claimed absolute authority and discretion in determining who, when, and how anyone should access the property. The association counterclaimed.

Following a trial, the chancellor granted the association title to the cemetery property by adverse possession, along with a prescriptive easement from the public road to the cemetery entrance. He also confirmed title in Cathy to certain other property in dispute. Cathy filed a R59 motion raising for the first time that she should be granted a prescriptive easement across the cemetery property, and a claim for slander of title. The chancellor overruled the motion, and Cathy appealed.

In Grantham v. Old Liberty Cemetery Association, decided February 21, 2017, the COA affirmed. On the issue of Cathy’s belated claim for a prescriptive easement, Judge Fair wrote for a unanimous court:

¶11. Grantham first argues she was entitled to a prescriptive easement across the Association’s property. “The evidentiary burden to establish a prescriptive easement is high.” King v. Gale, 166 So. 3d 589, 593 (¶20) (Miss. Ct. App. 2015). Grantham had to show by clear and convincing evidence she used the Cemetery tract to get to her property. Id. See Thornhill v. Caroline Hunt Tr. Estate, 594 So. 2d 1150, 1152 (Miss. 1992). Further, she had to prove her use was “(1) under claim of ownership; (2) actual or hostile; (3) open, notorious, and visible; (4) continuous and uninterrupted for a period of ten years; (5) exclusive; and (6) peaceful.” Id. (citations omitted). We note that she did not assert any claim for an “easement of necessity” because she has significant access to a public roadway, and makes claim for a “non-exclusive” prescriptive easement, even though exclusivity is a required element of a prescriptive easement.

¶12. The chancellor notes pointedly that Grantham denied any claim to the Cemetery land itself, only asserting the location of boundaries and easements to it and arguing that the Cemetery occupied 1.25 of the 1.55 acres the Association claimed. And there was no evidence presented that Johnnie, from whom she derived her title, ever claimed any ownership of the Cemetery. In her appellate brief, she restates that she “has decided not to appeal the determination . . . that the fence lying south [of] the access road is the cemetery’s south boundary, but does appeal the denial of her ‘non-exclusive easement’ over the road to access her property.” Grantham had stated her father always fenced his property, and that the northern boundary of the property she inherited is also the southern boundary of the Cemetery. She also testified that he had a concrete pad poured to feed his cows and admitted that the concrete pad stopped just south of the fence in the very southeast corner of the fenced-in area of the disputed property. Occasionally, Johnnie let the cows out through the Cemetery gate. Prior to her father’s death, Grantham returned to the property once or twice a month and had little knowledge of what was going on while she was away.

¶13. A “prescriptive easement,” as noted above, is an easement obtained by adverse possession over another’s land. Like any other adverse possession claim, an owner’s permission to use the easement defeats a party’s claim. See Kendall v. May, 199 So. 3d 697, 700 (¶8) (Miss. Ct. App. 2016). The general public (or at the very least the descendants of those buried in the Cemetery) had entered the Cemetery without interference and with implied permission of the church for more than a century – until Grantham locked it and removed the culvert. Anyone who had ancestors buried in the Cemetery had the right to enter onto “family cemetery” property and visit an ancestor’s grave as well as to be buried in the Cemetery. Grantham, a direct descendant of Aaron Lott, specifically has such a right, with the same permission as any other descendant of an ancestor buried in the Cemetery, to drive across roads crossing Cemetery property. She has presented no evidence of any open, notorious, or exclusive occupancy of any portion of the Cemetery property for more than ten years, as determined by the chancellor. Consequently, she is entitled to no greater or lesser interest in an easement over parts of the Cemetery than any descendent of anyone buried there.

I brought this to your attention for several points:

  • In order to establish a prescriptive easement, it must be shown that the elements of adverse possession have been met as to the easement property. That in and of itself is a high bar. To make it even higher, the burden of proof is by clear and convincing evidence. This opinion is a good reminder of what must be shown.
  • To me, the chancellor was exceedingly generous to entertain Cathy’s claim for a prescriptive easement, raised as it was for the first time on a R59 motion. You simply do not get to reopen the case to raise new legal issues and claims on a R59 motion that could and should have been litigated at trial, unless there is newly discovered evidence that was unavailable at trial. The COA does not elaborate on the basis for the R59 motion, so we are in the dark as to what motivated it, but if it was simply to assert a new issue, it was out of bounds.
  • Likewise, at trial Cathy took the position that she asserted no interest in the cemetery property. She reversed that position in the R59 motion and asserted a claim for a prescriptive easement. That maneuver was barred by judicial estoppel, which holds that one may not take one position at one stage of the proceedings, and then take a contrary position at a later stage.
  • Finally, Cathy asked for a “non-exclusive easement” to the cemetery. That was really unnecessary, as Judge Fair pointed out, because she was entitled to access the property along with everyone else with ancestors buried there.

The COA also affirmed the chancellor’s dismissal of both parties’ slander of title claims.

“Quote Unquote”

December 2, 2016 § 9 Comments

” … What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen erecting a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of Civil authority; in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who have wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to preserve and perpetuate it [public liberty] needs them not. Such a government will be best supported by protecting in every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of others.”  — James Madison

” … this would be the best possible world if there were no religion in it.” —  John Adams (quoted by Jefferson in a letter)

“In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot. … they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purpose.”  — Thomas Jefferson

[I came across these quotes and thought they were share-worthy as a counterpoint to the school of thought that our founding fathers intended this to be a Christian nation. Madison, Adams, and Jefferson were three of the most prominent founders. Madison is considered by many scholars to have been a Deist, and Jefferson definitely was so. Jefferson revered the teachings of Jesus, but believed Christianity had subverted and corrupted His teachings. Adams, who was a Congregationalist and later a Unitarian, considered himself a Christian, but shared Jefferson’s views on Christianity.

Two other founding fathers, Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin, were also Deists. Paine’s Age of Reason is a scathing denunciation of religion. Franklin considered himself both a Deist and a Christian. Franklin made a motion at the 1787 Constitutional Convention that every session begin with a prayer for God’s guidance; the motion was defeated.

What the founders shared was an abhorrence of any state-sponsored religion such as the Anglican Church in England. They also recognized that there were many different religions planted in and taking root in the new nation, and that any persecution for religious beliefs would be too much like the English system, which the rejected. Hence the First Amendment.

When the French were looking for a model for their post-royalty nation, they admired the new United States Constitution, and used it as a template for their own recognition of the rights of citizens. After consultation with several of our founders, they were persuaded to make their own government a purely secular one, which, with a few deviations, it has remained to this day.]

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BOOK LIFE

March 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

What I’ve read in the past 5 months.

How Fiction Works, by James Wood. Using excerpts from the likes of of Faulkner, Flaubert, James and other great writers, Wood analyzes the writers’ tools and approaches that set great literature apart from less accomplished writing. You will find the author’s keen insights entertaining, witty and revealing. This is a must read for anyone who loves well-written fiction.

Every Day by the Sun, by Dean Faulkner Wells. Poignant reminiscence of the Faulkner family, and in particular the author’s uncle and guardian, William Faulkner. From her unique vantage point, Wells tells intimate details of the family and its history, some of which are familiar, some personal and telling. What emerges is a portrait of the world-renowned author not only as the eccentric and sometimes aloof intellectual who some in his community viewed as a poseur, but also as a caring, tender and generous provider for the many family members who relied on him. We also come to know the family, with its stress-cracks, peculiarities and tensions.

The Wandering Falcon, by Jamil Ahmad. This is the story of Tor Baz, a young boy who grows into manhood in the tribal areas of Waziristan, in the borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and becomes known as “The Wandering Falcon.” Ahmad, who penned this book at age 80, is a master story-teller and skillful writer who worked for years as a civil servant in the region and is intimately familiar with the folkways of the tribes. What sets this book apart is its stark style that evokes the mountains and deserts inhabited by the people of the story, and their ways that put tribal loyalty and survival before everything else. Told in the fashion of a tale told in the desert cross-legged on a Persian carpet across a campfire, you will be entranced as it unfolds, folds back on itself, and unfolds again, revealing unexpected nuances again and again.

My Reading Life, by Pat Conroy. Reading Conroy is like enjoying a homemade lasagna. It’s not fine cuisine, but it’s filling, satisfying, delicious and something you could come back to time after time. His writing is not fine literature, but it’s satisfying, fun to read, and something you could come back to time after time. This little book is a sketch of the people and events who influenced his writing. With his customary skill at manipulating the reader, you will find yourself laughing, near tears and smiling to yourself, often all on the same page.

Mississippi: the Closed Society, by James W. Silver. The seminal 1963 book by then-Ole Miss history professor Silver, who braved threats to his life and career to castigate Mississippi’s leadership and silent majority for the atmosphere and crises that led up to the climactic riots at the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi in 1962. Silver, who was an eye-witness and befriended Meredith, tells the story from a perspective that few other southerners in that dangerous, conflict-ridden period dared to share.

The Summer of 1787, by David O. Stewart. It took only 10 weeks during the sweltering summer of 1787 to craft the United States Constitution, but after reading this book, you will marvel that it ever got done at all. The Constitution was a masterpiece of compromise, the making of which should be a lesson that all legislators, particularly the most dogmatic of our federal lawmakers, should be required to know by heart. There are some fascinating personalities here, some familiar like Washington, Franklin and Madison, and some not so much, like George Mason, Gouverneur Morris, Edmond Randolph, Charles Pinkney and James Rutledge.

World War Z, by Max Brooks. An oral history of the Great Zombie War that raged out of China and came perilously near extinguishing all of civilization. Okay, it never really happened, but you will be entertained by Brooks’s ingenuity and style, and you will end up knowing lots more about zombies and their savagery than, perhaps, you thought you needed to. Zombies are an obsession of my old friend Carol, who gifted me this book.

Profiles in Courage, by John F. Kennedy. Eight vignettes depicting acts of extraordinary political courage by US Senators, including Mississippi’s own LQC Lamar of Oxford. Although the future US president (with substantial ghosting help from his friend Theodore Sorenson) wrote this book in 1955 while he was a senator, it should be required reading 56 years later for our politicians who seem unequipped for statesmanship and compromise. Many of the figures in this book sacrificed their political careers to do what they believed was(and in many cases proved to be) best for the nation. That’s a startlingly quaint concept in the 21st century, but one that bears study and emulation now more than ever. This is a re-read of a book I read for the first time around 1964.

What it is Like to Go to War, by Karl Marlantes. The emotional, moral, psychological, spiritual and physical cost that the experience of war exacts from the warrior and society. Marlantes served as a Marine in Viet Nam, where he won the Navy Cross, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, among his commendations. He is a Yale and Oxford graduate and Rhodes scholar. This book is articulate and insightful, offering a philosophical view that draws heavily on the author’s own combat service.

The Bible Salesman, by Clyde Edgerton. What starts out as the beguilingly interesting story of Henry, the rustic bible salesman who peddles donated books, morphs into a thinly-plotted crime caper with a love story intertwined, punctuated by flashbacks involving a tippling stepfather, talking cats and a retarded neighbor. Maybe it’s just me, but this seems to me like the ideas for three good books crammed into one almost-good book. There are some humorous scenes here, in particular the cat funeral, and the author is skilled at depicting rural southerners of the last century. Edgerton’s writing will keep you reading. At the end, though, you wish you knew more about the characters, and you wish the action were better thought through.

The Portable Faulkner, ed. by Malcolm Cowley.  Brilliant anthology of Faulkner’s best stories extracted from his novels. Here are the well-known The Bear, Old Man, A Rose for Emily, and An Odor of Verbena, as well as some not-so-well-known, such as The Raid and The Courthouse. Familiar or not, you will admire Faulkner’s astonishing use of description, his metaphors and similes, and his unequaled skill at deciphering and depicting the innermost operations of the human heart. This collection is an approachable introduction to Mississippi’s most revered writer of fiction for those who have not read him and for those who have found his writing impenetrable. If you know Faulkner’s writing, you will find this collection an enjoyable entertainment. A re-read of a book I read around 1973.

Saving Jesus from the Church, by Robin R. Meyers. Avowedly liberal Congregational pastor Meyers challenges orthodoxy and urges a return to first principles espoused by Jesus himself, rather than the accretions of belief added by the churches through the centuries. He emphasizes that faith is a relationship and a way of acting, not a set of beliefs. This book will make you question your religion, but will deepen your faith.

TRIBUTE TO JUDGE LACKEY

November 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

It was Judge Henry Lackey of Calhoun City whose refusal to be corrupted and courageous cooperation with law enforcement brought to justice some of the most powerful trial lawyers in this country. 

This tribute from the Calhoun County Journal:

Judge Lackey is truly one-of-a-kind

“There are two things you need to be a judge,” Judge Henry Lackey said. “A lot of gray hair to look distinguished and hemorrhoids to look concerned.”
Judge Lackey was speaking to a large gathering at the Oxford Convention Center that turned out to honor him upon his upcoming retirement after 17 years as circuit court judge and even longer as public servant.
Judge Lackey is less than two months away from entering retirement, but one look at this week’s Journal and you would see he’s busier than ever.
He was “roasted and toasted” at the Oxford Convention Center last week shortly after being honored by the Mississippi Supreme Court for his years of service on the bench.
Another reception is planned for Dec. 10 at First Baptist Church in Calhoun City.
This Thursday, Judge Lackey will once again be auctioning off Christmas items at the City Sidewalks Celebration at the Methodist Corner on the Calhoun City Square. Saturday night he is the featured entertainment at the Vardaman Sweet Potato Festival Banquet.
In between all of this he is still managing his day job as Circuit Court Judge for District Three. He’s spent all of this week holding court in Holly Springs.
The honors for 75-year-old Judge Lackey continue to pour in due in part to his role in one of the biggest legal crackdowns in recent history – the downfall of famed trial lawyer Dickie Scruggs and several of his colleagues.
“I’ve received praise and accolades that I don’t deserve,” Judge Lackey told me a few months back. “It’s like praising the sheriff for not stealing. It’s your job.”
Judge Lackey’s “integrity and intrepidness” in the case are well documented in Curtis Wilkie’s new book “The Fall of the House of Zeus” – a must-read according to my wife Lisa.
But as all the attention still pours in, and rightfully so, Judge Lackey still thinks of himself as the simple, “country lawyer” who still lives “within 300 yards of where he discovered America,” and that’s why he is so treasured here in Calhoun County.
A visit with him and you hear no mention of Dickie Scruggs. He talks of his “wonderful upbringing” in Calhoun City, working at his family’s business – the Ben Franklin 5 and 10 Cent store on the Calhoun City Square – and the endless list of fascinating people he grew up with such as Clarence “Dummy” Martin, Ray “Funnyman” Tolley, John Pittman, Mr. Mac, Monk and Big Dog.
I’ll never forget sitting in his office and him telling me of his experience when Robert Wardlaw, the world’s tallest man at 8’9″, visited Calhoun City.
One of the best story tellers I’ve every known, Judge Lackey is always worth the price of admission at any event he’s attending. I certainly wouldn’t let an opportunity to enjoy his tales or company pass me by.

The homespun Judge Lackey deserves our accolades.  As it is with Judge Lackey, I hope it will be said of all of us at the end of our careers that we adhered to the highest ethical principles and upheld the honor and dignity of the law.

Thanks to Tom Freeland for the link to this tribute.

 

HEY, NINETEEN

October 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

I was talking with a young lawyer the other day and he asked when the MRCP went into effect. I told him how the rules were announced in 1981 and put into effect in 1983.  He laughed and said “I wasn’t even born then.”  Of course, I reacted with aplomb, I think, but after he left I had to tap figures into a calculator to believe it, and, yes, the little sapsucker was right. Dadgum.

Nowadays I have to ask my wife who someone is on tv, or who some comedian is referring to when he makes a joke.  Being born in the first half of the last century will do that for you, I guess.

If you want to get a handle on just how great is the disconnect between the understanding and life experiences of a 60-year-old (or 40 for that matter) and a 20-year-old, you need to ckeck out Beloit College’s Mindset List, an annual survey it publishes showing the many things that this year’s freshman college class has no clue about because they were born so recently. 

Here are some excerpts from this year’s list.  From a lawyer’s standpoint, it’s nice to know how irrelevant you’re becoming, so when you go to preaching to your 20-something-year-old client, you can realize just how little you’re communicating.  Here are a couple of things the Beloit site tells us …

“The class of 2014 has never found Korean-made cars unusual on the Interstate and five hundred cable channels, of which they will watch a handful, have always been the norm. Since “digital” has always been in the cultural DNA, they’ve never written in cursive and with cell phones to tell them the time, there is no need for a wrist watch. Dirty Harry (who’s that?) is to them a great Hollywood director. The America they have inherited is one of soaring American trade and budget deficits; Russia has presumably never aimed nukes at the United States and China has always posed an economic threat. 

Nonetheless, they plan to enjoy college. The males among them are likely to be a minority. They will be armed with iPhones and BlackBerries, on which making a phone call will be only one of many, many functions they will perform. They will now be awash with a computerized technology that will not distinguish information and knowledge. So it will be up to their professors to help them.  A generation accustomed to instant access will need to acquire the patience of scholarship. They will discover how to research information in books and journals and not just on-line. Their professors, who might be tempted to think that they are hip enough and therefore ready and relevant to teach the new generation, might remember that Kurt Cobain is now on the classic oldies station. The college class of 2014 reminds us, once again, that a generation comes and goes in the blink of our eyes, which are, like the rest of us, getting older and older.”

Back in the 1970’s, Steely Dan sang about this very phenomenon in Hey, Nineteen, a lament about a 20-something guy who could not communicate with his date because she was, alas, too young to remember Aretha Franklin.  (If you need to know who Steely Dan or Aretha Franklin are, drop by my office and I will tell you through clenched teeth).  Here’s more beyond Aretha that today’s entering freshmen don’t have in their life experience set …   

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992.

For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks and Tony Perkins have always been dead.

Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.

Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL [from 2001 A Space Odyssey] could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.

Entering college this fall in a country where a quarter of young people under 18 have at least one immigrant parent, they aren’t afraid of immigration…unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.

John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.

Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-head might be the voice of a lost generation.

Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.

 Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.

Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.

They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.

Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.

Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.

Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.

Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.

“Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.

Czechoslovakia has never existed.

Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.

“Assisted Living” has always been replacing nursing homes, while Hospice has always offered an alternative to the hospital.

Once they got through security, going to the airport has always resembled going to the mall.

Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.

Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.

There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.

American companies have always done business in Vietnam.

Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

There have always been women priests in the Anglican Church.

Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.

Presidential appointees have always been required to be more precise about paying their nannies’ withholding tax, or else.

Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine. 

Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.

They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

It seems the Post Office has always been going broke.

The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.

The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

 Honda has always been a major competitor on Memorial Day at Indianapolis.

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