Memories: The Duke of Earl

This stage of life seems to offer up dusty memories as if to ask, “Does this still matter?” Like familiar but long since dormant items in the attic, you wonder about the connection in the present. While back in New York for the holidays, many memories of a young boy in the Bronx alighted. Random—so it seemed.

mika-baumeister-rV9m9-a5_mE-unsplash attic

I remember roaming the streets of the neighborhood and crossing paths with a guy named John. He was older, bearded with long wild hair. He looked like a rock star. But the shirt he often wore shines brighter in memory than his face. The well-worn, blue T-shirt shouted, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” It was the 60s and it didn’t make sense in this young mind. Both my parents were over 30.

John had an amazing arm and could throw a football a mile. But he’d rather just hang out on the street corner or on someone’s stoop. And late at night it was not uncommon to hear him out on the street with his guitar singing “Duke of Earl.” He had a great voice. One night, when I was in bed, I heard my father asking him to move it along because the kids were asleep. Maybe that’s why he wore the shirt.

Now, I hear that 50 is the new 30. Magically, twenty more years are forgiven and lots more people are trustworthy. I hope John is walking the Dukedom. My guess is he’s pushing 75. But, 75 is the new 60, I think. Hmm. Wonder if I can trust the Duke of Earl. Regardless, we seem to outgrow our garments one way or another.


Photo Credit: Mika Baumeister (

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About Dr. John Panepinto

Direction. Execution. Evolution. Each day can be an expression of living with purpose and focusing on what matters most. My sites share this theme of vision, living in our most important roles and responsibilities from imagination and creativity in a simple, practical way. I am committed to educating and serving, founded in principles of development, that people can use and practice in their every day lives.