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Fifteen years. Where did they go?

I can remember scenes from 15 years ago better than I can remember last Monday. I can remember happy times: I remember with fondness when my parents were married and my family was still a nuclear family; when my grandparents were alive; my old college room; my old car; how good it felt when my fraternity won top honors for grades and sports; my sister getting ready for her senior prom; my old girlfriend and the realization that we’d be breaking up after two years together; my wide-eyed buddies and I preparing to graduate and get out into the world. To crib a line from old Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic, “I can still smell the fresh paint.”

Then I read a draft of our story “King of 3-D” (page 28), a well-written update on James Cameron’s 3-D re-release of Titanic to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the film’s debut, and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the disaster that occurred on April 15, 1912. To say the least, I had a very personal watershed moment. In the amount of time that has elapsed since Titanic premiered on the big screen in 1997, virtually everything in my life has changed. The family is divided; three of my grandparents have passed on; the old college room has been demolished and rebuilt; my old car died; I don’t know how the fraternity fares academically or athletically anymore; my sister, now a doctor, is married and living in Seattle; rumor has it that my old girlfriend is a divorce lawyer in Chicago; my buddies are scattered all over the world, and we don’t talk nearly as much as I wish we would; and the smartest and most athletic one among us, Luke Woodward, went to heaven in 2003, three months before he was scheduled to graduate, with honors, from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

Courtesy the Woodward Family
In Memory of
Lucas McKinley Woodward
Owensboro, Kentucky

Miss you, brother

Fifteen years. Where did they go?

All of this reflection can’t be healthy. When you dig up the past, sometimes you just get dirty. Many milestones have been recorded since my parents, my sister and I watched in a Tucson, Ariz., movie theater as Leonardo DiCaprio proclaimed himself the king of the world. I’m a husband now. I’m a father, twice over. I’m doing my dream job for one of the best companies in the world — a company that one would be foolhardy to count out. I live in Texas, of all places. And I love it here.

But my mind wanders as I read this issue. I remember when our cover subject, Hollywood starlet and acting powerhouse Elizabeth Banks (page 36), was cutting her teeth on a dark comedy called Surrender Dorothy. Our story on St. Louis (page 26) reminds me of the memories I have of living there with my then girlfriend/now wife on Delmar Boulevard, penniless but so very happy. And the Q&A with Tommy Lasorda? (page 24) brings me back to my childhood and watching L.A. Dodgers games on TV, cheering on Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Sax, and waiting for Lasorda to erupt from the dugout and give an ump an earful.

Twitter.com/LukeWoodwardTCThe Goodfellows Club/Luke Woodward Tennis Classic is from June 8–10 in Owensboro, Ky. For more information,email janie.walther@omhs.org

Take a moment to reflect on your own life, on your own milestones and shortfalls — on your memories of people and places from 15 years ago — as you read this issue of American Way. For although navel-gazing isn’t the healthiest of pastimes, ignoring where we came from makes us no better off than the navigator on the Titanic; to block out what’s happened since Jack saved Rose in every way a person can be saved is to become a captain on our own ship of fools.

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Adam Pitluk