Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back to School, Returning for a Retirement Party

As if this time of year isn't busy enough as it is, about a month ago I got an e-mail from the alma mater that they were have a celebration in honor of 15 retiring professors, including my beloved English professor Dr. Marion Perret.

The list also included a few other familiar names, so I reached out to some of the girls to see who could quickly come to town to join me at the 'Ville. It seemed especially important to try and get up to the school, since we all missed the party solely in honor of Dr. Perret that was held last year. Even though it would have been a blast to have a mini reunion, it was just impossible to get travel, teaching, soccer, softball, orchestra rehearsal, and, in some cases, real estate showings, schedules to coordinate, so I had to go up and "represent" the classes of 1993 and 1994 by myself. (Ouch, the math hurts.)

I took a personal day so I didn't have to rush around quite so much (ha! though I did), and figured out the whole ZipCar rental thing (which I now LOVE!) and did some much needed grocery and retail stocking up. (Grocery shopping is SO much easier when you have a vehicle.) Somehow I forgot the one important detail of my timeline - leaving enough time to back, find a parking space, change, and then get on the highway on a Friday night, during rush hour, but I still managed to get to the College on time to see it at dusk.

What you can't see from my iTouch photos (the regular camera wouldn't fit in my clutch with everything else), is the true beauty of the place at dusk. You can't see the red-tailed hawk perched up on the cross on the chapel, or see the glow off all the maple trees, or the glimmer on the quad in front of Reid Hall aka The Castle.

You would think I wouldn't have forgotten the impressiveness of the East Room, but I had. It was crowded with friends, alumni, professors, family, and tables with photos and remembrance books. Thank goodness for name tags, but I was still easily identified by some good professors regardless of the passage of time. Aside from some slight physical differences (grey hair, stooping, stockiness, "laughlines") we all pretty much look the same. (Though some aging English professors should probably have gotten rid of the pony tails BEFORE the 1990s, I'm just saying, and now it's 2013? Yikes.)

After the brief cocktail party, I wandered a bit through the building before Security shooed us out. I ran up to the second floor to look out the balcony over the East Room, walked down the hall to where the Castle and the additions came together,
and realized, as I ran my hand down this bannister on the left, that this was the sensation, and these were some of the stairs and halls, that feature in some of my dreams. 20 years later, I can still feel those polished wooden bannisters under my palms. That's so strange, right?

I took some other photos to send to the girls. Like the one above on the right, of the pathway back to the dorms from near the cafeteria. Some of those trees were saplings, or not there, when we were there. This building below didn't exist when we were there.

Once upon a time, when I was a work-study student in Development, I had the privilege of exploring the offices at the top of this Castle. And not offices that looked out the three windows at the top you can see, but also the secret office tucked until the ramparts. If you look closely, you can see the two windows that were in the locked, almost forgotten office of one of the prior owners of the Castle. Those were fun years. I'm trying to pay it forward, even now.
 Good night alma mater. 
Thank you and farewell to the 15 faculty members with over 500+ years of service who have retired.
 Wishing for wisteria

And finally, the most important reason for the trip back in time ... to find, hug, and get the updated contacts for Dr. Marion Perret. What a lady.

l: Part of the slide show at the reception. r: Kari and Dr. P with the knight in shining armor, St. George that we found for Dr. P and polished up as a gift for her when we graduated in 1994.

Hey Kari, Dr. P still has St. George with her. Isn't that sweet? But please, no comments about the quality of this photo. You are lucky there is one at all. The things I do for friends.

Thanks for everything Dr. P. There are almost no words.

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