If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
‘Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

Driving to Lincoln the other evening, Jim Croce’s famous ballad was on the radio. I was on my way to give a talk at my old sorority and as I drove, the years dropped away. I am not one given to thinking about the past. I tend to dwell more in the future, but I had been asked to talk to the young women and my mind drifted to the days 41 years ago when I lived in the sorority house. It was spring semester 1974 and it was a glorious time. Time in a Bottle spent two weeks as the #1 hit in the nation that January. I met my husband that semester. I still have a picture of me in my high-waisted bell bottom jeans and him with shoulder length hair and a moustache. I remember staying up all night with him and photographing the sunrise on O Street and heading off to my 8:00 geology class.

All things were possible. I had dreams of becoming one of Nader’s Raiders (google it), and I was going to change the world. Title IX was getting implemented and the future for women seemed brighter than ever. Silliness also abounded as evidenced the night hundreds of students gathered on 16th St outside my sorority cheering on the “streakers” who were popping up on campuses everywhere. The Vietnam War was winding down (my male peers got draft numbers but none were called). Watergate was the daily soap opera playing in the student union. My mother was healthy for the first time in two years and I hoped for the best. I was blissfully unaware that within 15 months she would be dead from cancer and that we would be playing Time in a Bottle at her funeral.

As the girls showed me around the re-modeled house, I noticed that the “phone room” was now a powder room. I told them that we all had assigned phone duty. On weekend nights there would be two girls: one to take calls from any girl who needed assistance and one to drive to pick her up. All of us remembered to put a dime in our shoe before we went out for the evening in case we needed to use a payphone to call for assistance. Our primitive defense against “rape culture.” No such thing as cell phones.

As I told them stories of 40 years ago, I was struck by how much had not changed though. These girls are intelligent, beautiful, committed and their eyes are looking ahead. They have more opportunities than we had but they still face challenges: how to find life’s work that is fulfilling, how to knit personal and professional life together, how to find an authentic voice.

Driving back to Omaha, I felt that I had a lot in common with these girls. I too am on the brink of a new and unknown future. Leaving corporate America after 30 years and launching my own coaching/consulting business is exciting and a bit scary. It was nice, for an evening, to briefly let time out of the bottle. Thanks girls!