As I gaze at the contrasting photos of the same subject—me—the exposures being separated in time by approximately 45 years, the photo on the right seems to provide evidence that I must have spent those years walking about on my face. It is also clear to me that the optimism and confidence of the young teacher on the left has given way to the pessimism and regret of the retired educator on the right who believes that America has lost its way in fulfilling the noble aspiration of bringing enlightenment and prosperity to all Americans.
There is something often and incorrectly attributed (see quote attributions) to Winston Churchill: If you are not a liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 35, you have no brain. The photo of me as a young man is politically correct in its position: I was definitely a leftist at 25. Although I am well past 25, liberal/progressive remains as my political orientation, which means, I suppose, that after all these years of tilting at windmills I still have a heart; unfortunately, it also means that over the past four years it has been breaking.
As you likely know, I’ve been blogging on and off about education and freedom, and about what it has been like to grow up as a Boomer—at least growing up as a suburban, white Boomer—since my formal retirement from Education. Creating posts has provided a personally welcome outlet for the countless thoughts, impressions, fears, and worries that have haunted me during these most recent years of my life. There have been a few handfuls of kind readers who have followed my posts, and to them, I offer my thanks for their patience in reading the thoughts of the seventy-plus-year-old man who is most likely to be found these days yelling at the TV.
The time has come to end the illusion that I have the mental energy to maintain timely blogs; the past year has proven that I do not. I do, however, have the energy to compile the previously-published posts within two books entitled, strangely enough, Education and Freedom, and Growing Up Boomer. That fun project will have to compete for my attention, however, with another even more intriguing project: Pinctada, a novel that has occupied much of my writing time for over a year: it is my fervent wish that I may live long enough–Covid-19 notwithstanding–to finish it. If I am also able to compile my blog posts, that will be like icing on the multilayered, vanilla-butter-cream-iced, marbled cake that has been my life.
I look forward to hearing from you should you wish to stay in touch. The best way to do that is to contact me via the “Contact Jeff Lee Byrem” section at the bottom of the first page of my website: Jeff Lee Byrem Creations.
Here’s offering you my wish that you have a long and happy life.