Someone on Facebook started a “You know you went to X University if…” group. This time though, that “X University” happened to be my very own alma mater. FUS. Or FU if you were feeling rebellious.
I went to the the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a small, very Catholic college in the Ohio Valley, located 42 miles west of Pittsburgh, home of Dean Martin. It was across the river from Weirton, WV, which was just recently blown to bits in the new movie “Super 8” (good flick, we highly enjoyed it.)
So all us little FUS’ers started chatting on FB – “Do you remember stealing trays from the caf to go sledding?” “Remember the smell from the steel mill?” “Remember this or that?” All good times. However, being the bunch that we are, debates started. There were debates about whether we should be debating. All I needed was a cheap bottle of wine and a haze of cigarette smoke and I could close my eyes and feel like I was back on campus, what with all the chatter going around me.
One of my claims to fame is my awesome powers of memory. It’s like a party trick, how I can recall whole scenes of my life and replay them for friends who had forgotten them. Amazingly, my awesome memory skills are only good for life scenes, not things like four years of French or that I was supposed to buy dishwashing liquid at the store while I was there yesterday.
Being the quirky girl that I am, I also associate music to memories. A song can take me back to a day, time, room, group of people or incident. There are songs that are painful to listen to because they remind me of a time that wasn’t so great. Some make me cringe, remembering an embarrassment. A couple will make me cry, but most make me smile. Like “Come on Eileen” will always take me back to a friend’s wedding, when we were all there, stomping and jumping and loving life at that moment.
U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” takes me back to the day we got cable tv. I was 12 at the time, my life changing all around me. Twelve years old wasn’t the best time in my life. Actually, it was kind of a crappy year, as years went. But I don’t remember that when I hear the song. I remember the cable guy punching in the number 34 on our new cable box, which was Mtv, back when Mtv had VJ’s and played videos. And there was U2, live at Red Rocks, playing this song that instantly stuck with me, 12 year old child that I was, jumping up and down on the couch to it.
Fast forward 8 years later, and I’m a college student at good old FUS, still a U2 fan. Achtung Baby had come out and was the soundtrack to so much of my college life back then. We road tripped to Pittsburgh with a big group of friends to see U2 live in concert one summer, yelling at each other in the Pittsburgh tunnel, teasing our one friend who cried when Bono sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, singing that song on the way out, stopping at the Dinor in Weirton to eat nasty fries and drink bad coffee and converse with two very friendly ladies who were probably prostitutes. And then weeks later, staying after another concert to try to meet the band, and succeeding.
So when, on Facebook, one of my fellow FUS’ers asked “What song reminds you of college days?”, this is the song that came into my head. U2’s “One”. It was played at dances on campus, at the concerts we went to, in our cars on road trips, at the frat parties we danced the night away at.
In a way, it’s the perfect choice to sum up college days, especially having gone to a very Catholic college. All those theological debates late at night, the arguments among friends, the unrequited college crushes, relationships that never were, and the ones that became so much more. Most of all, the song reminds me of friends, those sisters and brothers forged in those years, who have been there to help carry someone through rough times and good times. We sang this song at the concert, arms around each other, our voices hoarse from shouting all night. We sang this in dorm rooms, angry at some boy who was being stupid. We sang this at a dance, and laughed when some of the guys in our group picked up some of the girls in our group, acting out the lyrics, carrying us.
And now, all those years later, I still sing this song, with all the knowledge life has slammed into my brain. If there was a soundtrack to my life, this song would be in a pivotal scene.
The hardest part to believe is that this song is twenty years old. I can’t comprehend it. Instead, I shall play it and pretend I’m once again 20.
U2 – One