COMMENCEMENT AND REUNION EDITION
I'll be driving on Friday morning -- along with a zillion other families -- up to New England for a graduation/reunion weekend. I expect the traffic to be prodigious, but the experience of returning to a place of wonderful memories to make all the drudgeries of the road trip unimportant.
This week I want to focus on college as a focus of my gratitude.
1) What I have learned, and more mysteriously, what I've kept in my tiny head, is due to my prized (and privileged, I know, I know) education. Sometimes it's a crossword puzzle question that took me no seconds at all to know the word, other times it's passing a group of people speaking French and understanding what they are saying. Or knowing the differences between Manet and Monet. Or having read so much Philip Roth, that his loss feels personal. I probably say, "Thank you, education" to myself three or four times a week. #ButImStrangeThatWay Also, thank you Mom and Dad. It was the best thing you ever gave me.
2) New England. I am a born and bred New Yorker, but I identify (or should I say "self identify") as a partial New Englander. I love the trees, the coast, the food, the clothes, the people, the campuses, and the ethos of New England. Between living on and off in Connecticut, spending many summers in Massachusetts, and having attended college in Rhode Island, I feel very happy to luxuriate in the bosom of Yankeeness.
3) Feeling old and feeling young. I'm going to have both those reactions this weekend. I know because I felt them five years ago at my last reunion. So grateful women get to keep their hair (for the most part), though that's just fair, if you ask me. I may only feel young compared to the grandparents and other codgers who march or roll in the grand procession on Sunday, but being back at school always makes me feel like a 19 year old kid. Or maybe a 30 year old kid; see below.
At my 10th reunion. (I still wear that shirt.)
4) The thing about old friends -- old friends that you stay friends with -- they are the most precious, I find. You knew us when we were forming. You remember that time over vacation. You remember my dad. We shared history notes or a dorm room, or went to a concert together, or you held my ponytail when I drank too much, or I held yours.
A lot of my college friends are people I've been in irregular touch with. Nevertheless, they are the reason I visit Facebook. (Not to read ads for Rothy's shoes or Hanacure skin masks, shockingly.) I am looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces all weekend.
Class of 1966
5) Have I mentioned that Robert Mueller went to college? He was a member of Princeton's class of 1966, and though Princeton has its own traditions of annual Reunions (unlike most other institutions' practice of meeting every five years), Special Counsel Mueller will probably be too busy this May 31 to attend his class's festivities.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!