To the Class of 2002

Apropos of absolutely nothing, here’s something I stumbled across in my files today. It’s a note I wrote to the graduating class of the Department of American Culture and Literature at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey in the Spring of 2002, just as I myself was getting ready to wrap my time up there and head for the more Indiana limestoney pastures of Washington, D.C. I don’t remember distributing this, but I’m going to assume it was just a quick email I put together and sent out.

Now that I’m getting ready to leave D.C. for the more golden pilsnery pastures of Milwaukee, WI it seems fitting to reprint this here:

To the graduating class of 2002:

As Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys once sang:

I’d a’ been married thirty years ago
If it hadn’t been for knock-kneed cotton-eyed Joe.

That has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I hope it’s inspiring to you anyway.  And here’s a few other hopes: I hope that your time here at Bilkent hasn’t been easy.  I hope that you feel like you know less about literature and culture than you thought you knew when you started.  I hope all of you get a chance to see America firsthand someday.  I hope all of you stay as idealistic, unselfish, and fresh as you have been in the time I’ve known you.  And I hope we’ll all meet again bye and bye.  Until we do, here’s to a surprising future.  Give ‘em heck, 2002!

Sincerely, yer ever-lovin’
Ryan Jerving

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