Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

The Last Of The Simple Times

It started out with a simple post coming across my news feed. “Missing the gang!!!!” It was posted by a friend from decades ago, reconnected through social media. I initially responded with a “thumbs up” just to let her know, that as I was not sure what “gang” she was referring to, there was a gang that we were a part of, and her post had reminded me of them all.

In fact, of that gang that I refer to, I have reconnected with nearly everyone from the days that started my life and hobby as a disc jockey, beginning on college radio. I cannot help when I see posts from them, but immediately click back to 1984 when it all started. It has been amazing to see all of the different directions our lives have taken. We are all forty years older now, yikes, sorry for that reminder. It does not take long, for us to remember what we were all like together back then.

And then comments began being posted. They were from the other jocks in our group. I still do not know what the meaning was behind the post, but clearly, others felt similarly. Suddenly, I found my mind going back to the mid 1980’s, hanging out in one of the two studios, or partying on a weekend. Great friends. Simple.

I do not know much what each of my friends had experienced in the years after that. I see our heavy metal guy extremely (and gracefully) looking grandfatherly, another is in another country on the other side of the world, one is “trapped” in a much earlier time enjoying revolutionary re-enactments, and the stories go on.

Most if not all, are aware of the health issues that I have struggled with, but are also aware of where I am in life, with two beautiful daughters who mean the world to me. While my daughters have seen me DJ live in the past, they still have a hard time grasping my voice coming from the radio long ago.

But one of the questions that often comes up on my cancer/survivor pages, “do you remember life before cancer?” And I actually do. I am not even referring to the fact that I was engaged to be married, having a great time, partying and travelling, looking toward a future. I do not consider this part of my life “before cancer,” because it was during this time, the rug got pulled out from underneath me.

No, it was during my years at WXLV, 90.3fm, on the campus of Lehigh County Community College in Schnecksville, PA (that was the entire tagline as I recall), where not only my life as a DJ began, but where I met and made some great friendships, friendships that I know, just as happened a few years ago with one of those fellow jocks, a reunion with any of them, would bring back nothing but good memories. To me, these are friends that, sure, we would acknowledge and sorrow or crisis we may have faced, but what we shared with each other back then, we would be right back to supporting each other with that same level of friendship back in 1984.

I am not denying where we are right now in 2021. But I am saying that the time back in 1984, a simpler time, and being able to reflect and remember those in my life at that time, reminds me, that who I was back then, still exists, because I can still see it.

Craig, Roxanne, Matt, Dan, Mickey, Jack, Brian, you all remind me of that simpler time, my life before cancer. Something that will always be important to me.

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