About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Reflections on a College Reunion

Colby College Chapel
Waterville, Maine
I have just returned from an extended Colby College reunion.  There was a disconnect I couldn't grasp between the date of my graduation, June '65,  and the years that have intervened since.  There was another disconnect between the faces I remembered and the faces smiling at me over the weekend. Thank goodness for name tags!
Colby classes '63 and '65

I wanted to reconnect with those who'd shared four very impressionable years with me...the years we morphed out of childhood and wiggled into adulthood.

New buildings scattered along the dazzling, closely-trimmed grass were unfamiliar to us. New wings on the art museum housing remarkable multi-million-dollar collections were unfamiliar. The downtown area where our drinking hangouts had been demolished was unfamiliar. Our collective memories were not.

We'd lived together through the turbulent sixties.We remembered a wall erected in Berlin and missiles in Cuba aimed at possible targets like New Orleans, Houston, Miami, Cape Canaveral.. We remembered the exact spot on campus where we heard the news of President Kennedy's assassination. We remembered those who left to march in Washington, D.C., and Selma. And we remembered those who left to be "advisors" in Viet Nam, a place we hadn't been able to identify on a world map.

Our newspaper editor-in-chief,
Jan Parsons, leads us in the parade
We'd selected Maine as the location for our college years, where winters got down to forty degrees below zero.  We bundled up and RAN through tunnels of snow between classrooms, library, and dorms. The inside of our noses froze anyway.  The women (not the men) had curfews with housemothers and we all had Saturday morning classes. And comprehensive exams. If a woman broke curfew, she was called up before the Judiciary Board for a warning or probation -like my freshman roommate - depending on how many times she had climbed in a window. If you skipped more than three Saturday classes, any grade above a "C" was out of the question... even if you were on the football team and had to travel on Saturdays.  And if you didn't pass a comprehensive exam at the end of senior year that covered all four years in your major, you made a dreaded call to your parents to inform them you wouldn't be graduating this year.

Colby, a liberal arts college, required courses in English, the sciences, languages, and the arts to graduate. Even the scientists among us had to write essays coherently.  We were a small freshman class - only 346 . Around one hundred ten of us returned - survivors who'd tried to influence change.  Isn't that what all graduates try to do?
With new Colby President David Greene

At the reunion there were no facelifts among us, nor designer jewelry. We wore jeans, sweatshirts, and jackets against the stiff wind of early June.  We didn't talk much about our professional careers or accolades, although there were some who'd become household names and some who were still engaged in their fields. There was talk of hip and knee replacements, heart bypasses, and cataract surgery. And world travel and hobbies that had become obsessions.  And involvement in the community.  But mostly we talked.of kids and grand kids and how far away they lived from us. And professors who'd influenced us and coaches who'd gone on to glory and fraternity parties before Colby banned them and long-term marriages among us. And deaths.

Only a few tried to relive the glory days in a time warp, last to leave class headquarters with a drink in hand, heading downtown to postpone morning.  A few searched out the bands playing on campus to work off their dinner.  Most of us were happy to read in bed.

My reconnections would continue - during another reunion day; during a visit to a classmate's home on an island "down east"; through emails, letters, and get-togethers.  

Sometimes a look back at what shaped us is a good thing.