This past week, I was invited to visit some history classes at Toledo High School, a few miles inland from Newport on the Oregon Coast, and a two-hour drive from my home. The kids had been reading through 20th century history (remember, that’s the last century to them), and they had a sense that war was part of a cycle of human behavior — and maybe not the most attractive kind of behavior at that.
I gave them a slideshow presentation, adpated somewhat to their time references and locale. They had little idea of the Sixties, but they knew about Vietnam, and they understood what it meant when enough people with enough energy speak with a single voice.
Their teacher, Joe Jordan, said they were talking about it later during the day: “One great insight a student made was that there is no sharp dividing line between decades and movements; they flow, one into another.”
I’ve done about fifteen shows since October, and every last one has been a delight. But there’s something about talking with the kids, something that resonates beyond sharing a great story. Something vital, that lightens the weight of time. I guess you could call it optimism. Not bad for a four-hour round-trip drive.