I’ve heard and even said, “Blast from the past,” in my life but the other night was exactly that

I received a message from a Samuel Schneider, a man I have never had any contact with until then. It read:

Sorry to be weird, but I go to UW-Eau Claire and I found a letter in my friend’s desk that was written to you in the year 1995. It was found in Murray Hall in the room ***. My friends and I were looking for who Brad Bordini is. If this is you we would like to give you all of the stuff we found in the desk. There is also a letter from someone named Bri. If that rings a bell. Thank you.

I had such a flood of thoughts and memories. About 20 years ago I was living in the space they are. I lived with one of my best friends, Brett Wery. Brett was a friend throughout most of my school years. He was hilarious, a kind soul, and a great friend. He also passed away from cancer too many years too early. I began wondering if there was anything from him.

“Bri” is my brother so I naturally wondered what was in the letter he wrote, especially considering we rarely corresponded via mail. Samuel later wrote that there was also sheet music and a kitten calendar. I clarified the sheet music was likely mine (I figured it was probably guitar music for Dave Matthews, Pearl Jam, Oasis, or Counting Crows as these were the bands I gravitated towards). The kitten calendar – definitely not mine…well, maybe not. I tended to do weird things to be funny once in awhile. A 6’6” tall man with hair to his shoulders who played guitar and loved to party having a kitten calendar on his wall would fit my personality a bit. I digress.

I conversed with Samuel and was apprehensive about bothering him. I was pleasantly surprised by how polite and accommodating Samuel was. He agreed to snap and send some pictures of the materials the following day.

The following evening I received a picture of “Bad to the Bone” sheet music, which made me laugh because of the selection and simplicity of the song (it’s about 3 chords for  almost if not the entirety of the song – did I really need sheet music for that?) I scanned the letter from my brother which had no major significance. There was a letter from my friend Kevin, who attended Xavier University. I vaguely remember receiving this so many years ago. Unfortunately, no kitten calendar pictures.

I told Samuel that I appreciated the time and effort he put into sharing this with me. I explained he could dispose of these items, knowing they held no major sentimental value. We tend to hold onto too many “things” and “objects” that we really do not need. He then offered to send them to me. I continue to be amazed at this. Some people may think little of this. This is how I see it.

Here is a young man in college who goes out of his way to find me, takes pictures of things that have nothing to do with his life, and then offers to send me the materials without even mentioning anything about the money it would cost to ship them. I found this amazing. I think it speaks volumes about Samuel’s character. It made me remember how I would have handled that situation (obviously, a little easier with Facebook/Internet nowadays). I smiled and realized there are people in this world willing to go out of their way to do wonderful, kind things.

Had these letters held more nostalgic value I would have been indebted to him. Even though they did not, I realized I still am indebted to him for his character. He reinforced my faith in people choosing to go out of the way to be kind. I am indebted to him for reminding me about those times in college. I had such a flood of memories come to me.

I thought of the “cookie monster” blue chair Brett had in that room that everyone on the floor would fight over. I remember my friend, Chris hanging out in our room, always stealing my food. I remembered laughing with friends after a night out. I remember learning to be a man while away from my family, missing them but also celebrating my growth. I remembered energy of the college campus. I remembered walking the huge hill while on our way to 1212 Graham Street for the Rugby party that I was bartending at.  I remember Eric being nearly abducted by the rugby guys while trying to hide in the Towers. I remember being so excited to have Kurt arrive to visit while we went from party to party. I suppose I also remember studying a bit from time to time. So many more memories flood my mind.

I am so grateful to Samuel for contacting me because it brought me back to so many amazing memories from a younger time. My body has aged some and my mind has grown wiser through the years. I have evolved into my roles as a healer, father, husband, band member, friend, son, and so on. But I will remain always the eager young mind who wanted to learn, connect with people, to be at every party, share every moment of laughter and fun with friends, who thought he could change the world. And I have. Remembering that part of me is like stoking the fire again.

I remember many negative things happening to me throughout the years but I CHOOSE to focus on the positives. This process reminded me from where I came. It reminded me of so many amazing people. It reminded me of how amazing I was then as well, which is a practice in loving the self. I encourage everyone to remember the self in a loving fashion while expelling the insecurities. We all grow into our souls.  

I love that this happened because each of us can be mindful of the past to recharge. We can remember our ambitions. Regardless of age, we can look at what we have accomplished and what we still want and maybe need to do. We remain as young as our minds choose to be. Therefore, I sit today and try to think of what I want to accomplish in the next 20 years. I smile as I realize what I have already done. It reminds me I can do whatever I choose to do. Ask yourself, what will you do in the next 20 years? In 5 years? Better yet, what will you do today that you can look back on in 20 years that will bring a smile to your faces.

Thank you, Samuel Schneider and friends. Best wishes for today and the next 20 years and on! Go Bluegolds!