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The summer of 1943 at Exeter was as happy a time as I ever had in my life.
– John Knowles
Exeter was, I suspect, more crucial in my life than in the lives of most members of my class, and conceivably, than in the lives of almost anyone else who ever attended the school.
There are simply more young people than there ever were. You get this feeling of strength. Also, large numbers can be a drawback, making it difficult to lose one’s anonymity.
Teenagers today are more free to be themselves and to accept themselves.
Young people in my generation were sort of in lockstep, and it wasn’t just the ’40s, either. In the ’30s and in the ’50s it was the same. No one ever dropped out unless he got sick or got kicked out.
Looking back, I think we were all quite mature, surprisingly responsible. In earlier wars, boys of our age had just gone off to raise hell or enlist or both, but we stayed dutifully at our desks doing tomorrow’s homework.
The best teaching I ever experienced was at Exeter. Yale was a distinct letdown afterward.
My father was in the coal business in West Virginia. Both dad and mother were, however, originally from Massachusetts; New England, to them, meant the place to go if you really wanted an education.