36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Welcome to 36 years ago


Hello and welcome to 36yearsago.com. My name is John.

You may contact me via email at john@36yearsago.com.

My first real-world journey. Today, 36 years ago on August 3, 1971, I began my first real-world journey after graduation from college. I won a Rotary Club International fellowship to study abroad for one year. As I remember, it was perhaps one of the best years of my life.

Young, age 22, full of dreams and hope, and wanting to make my mark on the world, I stumbled onto a plane flying into a new, strange, world. Not knowing what to expect, I was eager with anticipation and full of excitement. A year of fun, hard work, new adventures and intrigue.

A year with many “firsts”

• First time on a plane.
• First time outside of NJ, NY, PA, and VT.
• First time in a country where English was not the main language.
• First time in Austria, East & West Germany, France, and Poland.
• First love.
• First year I didn’t have to work (after age 12 or so). That’s a BIG one.
• First graduate study and fellowship.
• First real train ride (non-commuter).
• First time face-to-face with communism.
• First year totally immersed in my love and my career—music.
• First purchase of a French Horn.
• First-time performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 on Wagner Tuba in the Vienna Musikverein concert hall.
• First time I saw my mother's birthplace (Poland).
• First pop song ever written (corny).
• First "musique concrete" composition (avant garde).
• First time I met Leonard Bernstein (got his autograph).
• First earthquake (Bernstein-Mahler concert).
• First time skiing outside of NJ, NY, and VT.
• First time standing naked in front of a girl outside of a sauna.

Oh, many others, including

• First time I kept a journal (called a diary in those days).

1971 Journal page 1
1971 Journal. I found my 1971 journal tucked away in plastic bags in the attic. When I opened it and read a few pages, I knew that I wanted to share those experiences with you.

Join me. Join me as I post my musings as a young, idealistic, live-in-world-peace, nice kid who was on his first ride of his life (at that time I didn’t know it).

Here is what I looked like as I was graduating in 1971.

MSC Yearbook Pic 1971_k
This is my college yearbook picture. I don't look like this anymore. I look—err, older. Err, fatter—always fighting the battle of the belly. Let's see what else happens as you age? Hair starts to grow everywhere you don't want it, and you lose it in places you do want it—bald spot. Looking back today, I think I was ok looking—but at that young age of 22, I thought I was not good looking. Interesting. I think this is common among young kids. Be confident, you're all good looking. You're all special. At any rate, take lots of pictures so you can remember your youth and your good looks.

Here's the good news, I feel like I just graduated college yesterday.
I don't feel old. That's a good thing.

Journal scans. I may post a few scans of my actual journal for those taking up the challenge of reading my handwriting along with a transcript of the scans. Then I’ll comment from the perspective of being 36 years older, but perhaps not 36 years wiser.

I have a new saying—

“It’s never too late to start.” If you’re an oldster like me.
“It’s never too early to start.” When you’re young, don’t be afraid to take those first steps on your journey.

You can apply this to keeping a journal of your ideas, writing your first novel or song, starting a new business or becoming a Web 2.0 entrepreneur, and in general, losing your fear of trying to follow your dreams.

Photo scans. I finally received over 600 scanned images from 35mm film slides I had taken that year. I hope to populate a few photos into the journal as I move forward.



For now, for the sake of privacy, I will only be using first names.

P.S. I am doing this rather quickly and will probably edit some of these early posts. Afterwards, I’ll try to maintain the spontaneity of my reactions to my antics of 36-years-ago youth.

RapidWeaver & Realmac software. This site is created with the wonderful software, RapidWeaver, from the good folks at Realmac Software. If you have an interest in blogging, check them out.