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Looking at Old Photos Fifty Years after Commencement:
For Dennis Berg

"Because valedictory means 'farewell.'"

"Here's looking at you, kid." -- Bogie to Bergman.

"Commencement is not the end of school. It is the beginning of life."


I had forgot the world back then
was greyly black-and-white.

When Paladin still owned a gun to travel with,
when Sergeant Friday wanted just the facts,
when Dinah Shore blew kisses
from a brand-new, two-tone car

-- both tones were grey in the U.S.A.
as we saw it from our Chevrolet --

even when John Wayne went charging
from then into a black and white eternity,
onto the sands of drab Cape Fear,
and up the slopes of the Sierra Madre
where only Maltese falcons soar,
slowly,
slowly,
in the mild grey yonder,

Even on Ed Sullivan Sunday nights
and even more on Uncle Miltie Wednesdays,

And even when old Cronkite spread the news
and tried to make us see that
that's the way it was --

well, I have just seen the old dim images
from when we were commencing to commence.

I had forgot the world back then
was Casablanca black and white.

I would have sworn there was some color then.

Warren F. O'Rourke
Birmingham, Alabama
April 22, 2007