Thursday, May 22, 2008

The kids go to college, while the lawyers go to Disneyworld

My 20th college reunion was this past weekend. When I first started hearing about it a few months ago, I thought that I would really like to go. I had not been back to Wheaton since the day I collected my diploma, and I was interested in seeing what they had done with the place. Also, Dela's death last year made me think about how long it had been since I had seen the friends that were so important to me when I was in college. We had all been so close and had enjoyed a great four years together. It was sad that we had allowed so much time to go by without seeing each other. So I decided I wanted to go.

Then life got in the way. Rich advised me that the firm was going to have a retreat that weekend in Orlando, Florida, and that he had to go. So I decided that I couldn't go to reunion.

Then Jen sent around an email: Who's going to reunion? And I thought, why can't I go? So I'll have kids with me. So what? They'll enjoy it. And so the joke started: the lawyers are going to Disney, but the KIDS are going to COLLEGE.

The weather was not very cooperative on Friday. As Jen, Nancy, Shela, and the kids and I scurried from building to building trying not to get too wet, we forgot to take pictures. We attended a lecture in the science center, played some air hockey in the campus center, settled in to our dorm room in Meadows North (which was as dreary as I remember). Then we had a nice dinner (the food was always good at Wheaton) and went to the Chapel to hear the traditional pre-graduation concert of all the school's a capella singing groups. All in the pouring rain.

But Saturday turned out to be very nice, and I finally remembered to get out my camera. The kids and I were the only ones just hanging around on Saturday--Jen and Nancy had commitments and Shela was attending the graduation. We wandered, found a letterbox in the Wheaton woods,
and enjoyed the library. Mathboy loved the library. I don't think he realized libraries could be that big. We walked through the vast underground stacks, found him an encyclopedia of mammals to look through, and settled him down in one of the comfy chairs in the library tower under the skylights, and he was happy. I think Mathboy is going to like college, when he gets there, don't you?
Then we went to the bookstore. Mathboy was disappointed that they seemed to be out of actual college textbooks at the time (end of the year, sweetie, ya know?), but we got some nice souvenirs. Any Wheaton paraphernalia I had during my college years--and I will admit that there was a lot--is all gone at this point. I needed some new stuff. We also got some reading material for the kids, since they went through most of what we brought on Friday, and since we couldn't carry that encyclopedia of mammals around campus with us. :o)

On Sunday, we remembered to take some pictures of us. Here is one of me, Nancy and Jen, taken by either Mathboy or Catgirl--I am not sure.
I don't know why I am the only one not smiling. Maybe my lack of confidence in my kid's photographic skills? Oops.

Then the kids decided to go relax in the campus center. Here they are, with Jen's younger daughter. I think they've settled in pretty well, don't you?
It was wonderful to see everyone this weekend! I enjoyed meeting Jen's daughter, Nancy's husband and Shela's friend (now fiance!) Ron. I loved showing Wheaton off to my kids. It looked so wonderful. The school has made some very nice cosmetic improvements in the 20 years since I left, and I can confidently say that I am proud of it. The new athletic center is huge and very impressive, but it may have been the little things--like the new brick pathways everywhere and the outdoor tables, chairs and benches all over--that made the strongest impression on us. They made the campus seem so friendly, inviting, and just pretty.

I know that we students were all upset when the college first decided to go co-ed. But if that decision enabled the school to remain selective and keep the friendly atmosphere that I felt this weekend--as well as continue to bring in enough money to keep the school in the lovely condition I saw this weekend--then I think we all should concede that the decision was a good one. Yes, it would have been nice if it could have remained a women's college, but it was more important that it remain a good college.

Here is one last shot I took of Peacock Pond, as we were getting ready to leave. Even Chase Dining Hall, which is not one of the most beautiful sights on campus, looked really nice this weekend. On Saturday night, the wall around the pond was lined with luminaries, and there was a bonfire on a platform in the middle of the pond.
Wheaton College Pond
So the kids went to college, and they liked it. You are probably not surprised to hear that Mathboy was entranced with the idea of a school that you don't have to leave (all school all the time? yay!). But even Cat Daughter was intrigued by the idea. She asked what we did all the time, and I said that if we did not have class and we had done our studying we pretty much had fun. That impressed her.

No comments: