Twenty five years.
Much happens in a quarter century.
In 1986, I was a first-year attorney, learning my craft, beginning to understand the elusive concept of “the law.” I had moved to Miami from New York the prior June after graduating from NYU. For the first time in two decades I had no classes to attend. I was a grown-up working in a grown-up world – or at least pretending to be.
Patricia moved to Miami in early summer and enrolled in the MBA program at UM. Our wedding was scheduled for December, two days after Christmas. We bought our first house, a pre-construction, zero-property line dollhouse, designed with the look of New England in a small, un-gated community called “Hampshire Homes.” We awaited our nuptials, and completion of our home’s construction, in a small, second-story apartment in a lesser part of Coral Gables.
I was an avid sports follower back then – much more passionate than I am today. I was particularly enamored of the Mets, and 1986 was a great year to be a Mets fan.
They were the best and most colorful team in baseball, a collection of characters with nicknames such as Mookie, Nails, Mex and The Kid. While first baseman Keith Hernandez and catcher Gary Carter were the leaders of the team, veteran all-stars with an affinity for the media, the future of the franchise was in the hands of two young players approaching superstar status. It was universally assumed that Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were launching what would assuredly be Hall-of-Fame careers. They were young, tall, athletic and very talented. Their future appeared boundless.
The Mets dominated the National League East, winning a major league high 108 games, and finishing 21.5 games ahead of the runner-up Phillies. After edging the Houston Astros in an exciting six games in the National League Championship Series, the team squared off against the Boston Red Sox and their own assured future Hall-of-Famer, Roger Clemens, in what would be acknowledged as one of the best World Series ever played.
Game six was the classic. Trailing by two runs with two out in the tenth inning, and two strikes on Gary Carter, the Mets staged an improbable comeback, highlighted by Mookie Wilson’s slow roller through the legs of Bill Buckner that allowed the winning run to score. I watched the entire rally on a small bedroom black and white set, while Patricia studied for an exam in the living room. My hand rested on the on/off button during the entire bottom half of the tenth inning. I resolved to stay with the game through its conclusion, but had no intention of watching the Red Sox celebrate after the final out. The final out never came, my fingers left the on/off button when I leapt into the air as Ray Knight crossed home with the winning run. There was then no doubt that the Mets would win the Series, and the Curse of the Bambino, which had plagued the Sox for more than sixty years, since the team sold soon-to-be immortal Babe Ruth to the hated Yankees, would again become the subject of sporting conversation.
I look back at our wedding photos from that December and can not believe how young we looked. Many of the faces on those photos have disappeared, taken by age, illness or distance. Much happens in a quarter century.
Patricia and I are celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary this December. The intervening years saw us celebrate the birth of our twins, mourn the loss of Patricia’s father, and survive the devastation of Hurricane Andrew. Through it all our love and commitment for each other has endured. When I look at her, I still see the girl with whom I fell in love.
The Mets have not won another championship. Sure Hall-of-Famers Gooden and Strawberry saw their careers derailed by drugs and alcohol. Roger Clemens stands accused of lying to Congress concerning his use of performance-enhancing drugs. He will likely be boycotted by Hall-of-Fame voters. The Red Sox forever put to rest the Curse of the Bambino, winning two championships after the millennium, and leaving the Chicago Cubs alone in lamenting their own Curse of the Billy Goat. “The Kid,” Gary Carter, is fighting for his life, trying to overcome a series of brain tumors.
My office near the center of the Gables overlooks a small movie theater featuring foreign and independent films. It is a recent addition to our neighborhood and brings to mind the days of my youth in New York, before multiplexes spawned and standing in line for a movie was a regular weekend event.
I am no longer the bright-eyed novice embarking on a legal career. I am instead a partner in a firm of fourteen that bears my name, charged with management of people and cases. I like to think of myself as I once was, but the reality is that change comes to all, and we either embrace it or mourn an unattainable past.