Almost immediately upon graduating from The Peddie School, and certainly in the years following, I felt a stronger connection to my days on campus than when I was there. I wanted to redeem myself for the havoc I wreaked as a student. It took leaving to realize that I was part of a long line, and part of the fabric that made the institution what it was. In short, Peddie wasn’t my place to change. It exists with or without me.
I boarded in Hightstown for three years until 1971, a period that was part of a turbulent era, socially and politically. As a teenager, I wanted more – I wanted the next thing rather than what my fore-bearers had or cared about. Tradition meant little to me. I wanted to change everything if for no other reason than it’s what the next generation does.
I’m trying to live now as I did just after I left Peddie. For the last decade or almost so, I’ve looked back on my life, at conversations or rooms I’m in now, and the things that touch me, and try to keep an open mind about my part in them. In many ways, none of it is mine to change. My lesson from Peddie is this: I don’t make the experience. The experience makes me.