Not Nostrums, But Normalcy

There comes a time to take off the mask and remove quarantine drag for a return to those more privileged times when the living was easy. Following the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic after World War I, in a smoke-filled room, presidential candidate Warren Harding opined, “America’s need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy.”

My California grandsons are in Co-Vid 19 bind together with their coast to coast classmates. Weston’s Crossroads School ceremony is cancelled and instead will have a ritualistic video. Jared, his NYU-Tisch School brother remains quarantined at home pursuing virtual classes thousands of miles from Washington Square. Influenced by personal circumstance, here’s my normalcy suggestion for this year’s social distanced graduation day.

J. Press has many ideal gift items honoring alumni or current students to keep campus campfires burning at home. University hoodies, T-shirts and baseball caps remain available “Weekender” items keep the flame ablaze with Madras shirts, seersucker Bermuda shorts, “heyday” Blue Blazers above and beyond adorned with J. Press OCBDs, khaki trousers and repp stripe belts are available for delayed keg celebrations.

In healthier climes my own graduation came fraught with paternal strife. Returning to Hanover for the first time since depositing me in my freshman dorm, the first order of business for Paul Press was a visit to the J. Press showroom he hadn’t seen in four years. I had previously leaned on Jack Kennedy, Dartmouth road-traveler, to keep it between us that I refurbished the slender space with standup bar, poker table and chairs. My exposure was imminent. Dad erupted when he saw the place. “What the hell’s going on here, it looks like a Vegas whorehouse.”

Fatherly pride with his son’s Dartmouth B.A. overcame the showroom post-traumatic stress, even permitting him to overlook my non-J. Press James Campion 1959 class blazer hidden beneath my flowing graduation robe.


Oh, if only for a return to normalcy.




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