Skip to content

Purple Rain

August 21, 2014

Thirty (30) years ago this month, I went away to college.  In my mind, how time has flown. And, it’s been a long time since I looked like this.

Me the morning I left for college

Following my graduation from Marist High School in Chicago, I chose to go to Lewis University – a private, Catholic university about 30 miles from my home.  I lived on campus.  It was the first time I had lived away from home.

I believe I was the first member of my extended family to go to and complete college. (At least I’m pretty certain that I was the first to earn a Masters degree – an MBA from Lewis University.)  College degrees are pretty common by today’s standards, but back then it was a privilege, and not a common thing, at least in my family’s experience. And I took the opportunity, and my studies, very seriously.

That morning thirty years ago, my family drove me to school, helped me move my things into my room, visited a while, and then left.  I had a nice roommate, but otherwise, once my family left me that day, I was on my own for the first time.

My brother Michael, my dad, my mom, me and my cousin Jimmy (my grandmother Gladys took the picture and was there too)


My brother Michael, my dad and me


The very first morning of classes, I was standing outside my first class, and looked to my left.   There stood the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.  I was smitten at first sight of her.  We were in that first class together.   I soon got to talking to the girl and loved everything I learned about her.  It felt like it was meant to be.  I asked her out to a movie they were showing on campus.  She accepted.  We held hands through the movie.  I didn’t feel so alone.

On Thursday nights there were dances at the Student Union hall with either live music or DJs playing popular music of the day.  That summer of 1984, Prince’s album Purple Rain had come out and the songs from that album, including the title track, were playing everywhere, including at the dances.  The powerful chords and emotionally sung lyrics were played loudly as young men and women listened and danced, including one slow dance to Purple Rain between me and the most beautiful young woman in the world.

I was in love.

And I followed that girl around for weeks so I could see her every chance I got.

Sadly, the girl I was in love with did not seem to reciprocate the feelings of love I had for her.

Really, what did I know of love at that point in my life.

I dealt with anxiety attacks and depression for the following months.  I held out hopes and imaginary story lines that some day I would get that girl back.  It fueled much of what I did in the following years.  In subsequent months I began weightlifting and put on 30 lbs. of muscle on that slim frame you see in the photos above.  I became active in Student Government.   I played intramural sports, playing on two football champion teams including leading one at quarterback. I wrote and led the production efforts of College for Playin’.  I became a Resident Assistant and later a Residence Hall Director in the dormitories.  I started a Spirit committee in Student Government for which I received an award as Student Government Senator of the Year.  I ran for Student Government President (I lost).  I became a BMOC – a “big man on campus” – and acted as if I owned that school and took great pride and ownership in everything I did there.

Most importantly, I made some of the best friends I will ever have in life there in those college years.

I did NOT win that girl back.  She went on to marry someone else after college.

But, the friends I made back then….Patrick, Vernon, Susie, Eddie,  Coz,  Jerry, Kim, Jim, Keith,  Bill, Dawn, Jean,  Betsy, Mary Ellen, Joanne, Steve,  Sandy, Billy…and so many others too numerous to mention them all…are some of the best people I could hope to have as friends.

The 25 years since graduating from college have been an adventure…at times a painful one.  I was married, had three kids, and was divorced in the most painful part of it all. I worked in the insurance field for many years, rising to Assistant Vice President at one company, before experiencing a post-divorce bout with job loss, underemployment (I was a janitor cleaning out the bottoms of garbage cans at one point) and unemployment.  That’s where life finds me now.


Purple Rain can still trigger my memories and emotions of that time during my freshman year 30 years ago whenever I hear it.

I always wondered if there was a meaning to the song Purple Rain.  I looked it up on the internet and read an article that said that according to, Prince was asked about what he meant by “purple rain” and his reply was “the meaning is there if you look for it”.  Mysterious as usual, Prince.  I also read that he said “When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple.  Purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/God guide you through the purple rain.”

Losing the love I thought that I had found in college felt like the end of the world and was very painful.  But I put my faith in God to guide me through those days of purple rain, made many friends, and became a stronger person because of it.

Losing the love of my spouse later in life also felt like the end of the world, and was far more painful. But I’d been through that before, and knew how to survive it, carry on, and become a stronger person because of my faith and trust in God.  And this time I found many friends, angels really, to help guide me through the purple rain and get me through those storms I faced.

Throughout it all – all the passion, the love, the heartbreak, the pleasures, the pain, the joys, the successes, the failures, the togetherness, the lonesomeness, the storms and the rainbows – I only wanted to love and to be loved, and not feel so alone through it all.   And, I don’t feel so alone in it all anymore.  I do have many good  friends that I love and love me.  And I know that God is with me in the storms, guiding me through them, cascading down His love like a waterfall, and leading me through the purple rain to the Light of hope in tomorrow.

Prince was right.  The meaning IS there if you look for it. And I found it. And His love. Again.

So if you should find me laughing in the purple rain of life, you’ll know why, and how I do it. And maybe join me laughing in it too. God is so in love with us.



No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Ed n Les Possibilities

"For Somethin' Nice!"

Beautiful Life with Cancer

Discovering the Gift

Ed Novick Comics

Because 'Ed Novick Strips' Sounded TOO Funny

Ed Novick's Blog

Genius...sheer GENIUS!


There's A Hero In Every Man

Unintelligent Arguments

My blog is a satire for all with stories, adventures, and opinions based on facts with minimal evidence and maximum wit. In short, a chronicle of my life. I hope you enjoy perusing my random banter, hilarious adventures, short stories with imaginative characters and hidden meanings, my unique wit, interests in pop culture and oddball opinions.

Fitted Feet

The Good News of Peace

%d bloggers like this: