Class of ‘63 by
(290 Stories)

Prompted By 1963

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Off to college in 1963

When I graduated high school in 1963, I was terrified by the prospect of starting college, even though the University of Michigan was about an hour from my home. Aside from sleepovers, I had never been away from home. If my mother had her way, I would have lived at home and commuted to Wayne State University, the only other school to which I had applied. I will always be grateful to my father for pushing me to go to Michigan, even if it was for the wrong reason. He loved their sports teams.

1963 was the year I became my own person with my own values.

That first part of the year was rough. I was pretty homesick and my father was always happy to bring me home for the weekend, probably not the best idea to help me adjust to being on my own. I so clearly remember the day JFK was assassinated, November 22, 1963. I was in a Spanish class I detested when there was a commotion in the hall. The teacher left and returned to announce that the President had died, followed by telling us to “get out of here.” After wending my way back to my dorm, passing by hysterical students, I called home and my father came to get me.

To understand what happened next, I have to share that my father was a history buff who loved to hold forth and lecture his children ad nauseam. His way of comforting me for the loss of my idol was to go on endlessly about how the death of FDR was for worse. By the time we got home, I realized that his world view and mine were miles apart. I was already unhappy about our involvement in Vietnam while my parents would come to view draft dodgers as unpatriotic. They were not very interested in King’s March on Washington while I had very passionate about civil rights. I was hooked on the Beatles, but my father viewed them with contempt and insisted their music, unlike Sinatra’s, would never stand the test of time.

In retrospect, I realized that had finally left home. I no longer shared the same values as my parents. When I returned to school after Kennedy’s funeral, I stopped calling so often to come home for weekends. 1963 was the year I became my own person with my own values.

Can you find me in the picture? I also learned to party and drink!

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Thanx Laurie for sharing your insightful 1963 coming of age story.
    I was a college senior in 1963 but had a few more years until I ventured out on my own emotionally.

  2. Succinct and rather stark. Or maybe the word is raw. But it’s quite a definitive statement about a turning point in your life. With just the right amount of details to make it very real.

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    What a watershed year, in so many ways. That year was both a metaphorical and literal coming of age for so many and you tell the story so well. Cute picture too!

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