I had such fun at my fifth reunion, with Asma and Lara and Robert, that I was getting giddy at the thought of my upcoming tenth reunion. Despite that excitement, however, all of my friends and I admitted--at various points up to and during the reunion--to having had slight misgivings over the stress of coming back. No one's life is exactly what she imagined when we were all in college together, which I guess is kind of the point for me--I loved hearing what everyone had been up to since the last time we saw each other, regardless of what it was. Some things, of course, didn't change at all--the campus is still idyllic (as you can see from this picture of the remains of the old College Hall behind Tower Court, on the banks of Lake Waban), but more importantly, our friendships are still the kind that let us pick back up wherever we all are and start talking and laughing like always.
Just in the last year, Wellesley opened a brand-new building, the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center, in the midst of a completely reconceived, newly landscaped corner of campus. One of our first stops on Friday was to check out the building. As Robert always jokes, I generally believe that all change is for the worse, but the new campus center absolutely proved me wrong (at least this time). It's a gorgeous building, inside and out, filled with furniture I am desperately in love with and painted the most beautiful shades of primary colors.
There I am at the right, sitting in the very first chair I saw upon entering the building. No, I'm not part of the class of 1957 (although, as a fellow green class, they do hold a spot in my heart)--the plasma screen above me kept changing among all of the classes at reunion, offering welcoming messages and class cheers in everyone's colors. I did wear my class color for the day, though, which a few people actually noticed and commented on.
At left, you see me hugging the campus mail mailbox inside the Lulu (as we hear students call it fondly). First of all, I do love that shade of yellow, and secondly, its position--right next to a "real" blue USPS mailbox--is very convenient, but most of all I love the fact that there's a large, sturdy, locked box for campus mail--I always get scared, on my own campus, of putting private letters to deans and students in the falling-apart cardboard box that is the campus mail mailbox in my own office building. This yellow beauty--well, I would find extra excuses for campus mail if I had this thing near me. I have to say, it almost made up for the fact that now all student mailboxes (and all package deliveries) are in the Lulu, as opposed to in the old mailrooms in each dorm. I'm not quite adjusted yet to the fact that students of today have to walk to another building to get their mail each day, or that package bells is a thing of the past.
On a sidenote, I guess
that this feeling--on a different scale--is the same that the older classes
must have when lamenting lost traditions. It was great to see all the older
women (and great to know we weren't the youngest alums here--that young and
crazy class of 2002 was behind us!). Everyone was impressed by the ten members
of the class of 1932 who were here celebrating their 75th reunion--amazing!
Robert said there should be prizes for oldest class to attend and oldest class
to walk in on their own power, since the number of canes, walkers, and wheelchairs
did go up dramatically depending on which section of the campus you were on.
Above left, Robert, Alex, and Isabel sit on some blue chairs upstairs in the campus center; we all made it our mission to sit in every different kind of chair we saw, and though everyone had her own favorite, all of the chairs were really extremely comfortable. The total lack of comfy chairs and lounges and couches was something I never quite got over at my current university--where do students sit to talk, laugh, or sleep? I just don't understand.
Above center, Isabel, Allison, and I pose in front of a red magnetic wall outside the new campus pub in the basement of the Lulu. We were all a little miffed that the pub is no longer called Molly's, but rather Punch's Ally. Wellesley had never had a campus pub until our class, and Molly Campbell, a then-dean, brought it to campus my senior year on the top floor of the old student center. So, for history's sake, why couldn't they have kept the old name? We don't know, but the wall full of magnetic poetry (we're hiding most of it, I think) was lovely anyway, and the flat-screen TVs in the pub are definitely an upgrade.
Above right, Robert, Isabel, and I sit on some other chairs--I don't remember the color!
After the very long step-singing on Friday (which apparently, on Reunion, happens in the chapel rather than on the chapel steps), the buggy dinner on that giant white whale of a tent on Severance Green, and our class happy hour in Pomeroy--where, randomly, Robert ran into an old Hunter friend, who had since married a Wellesley woman--we were all ready for some off-campus fun on Saturday. It poured at Wellesley that morning, while in Boston it was pleasant and just mildly foggy, but Allison, her husband Jay, Isabel, Alex, and her partner Courtney all trekked into Boston and met at our apartment in the early afternoon. We took a couple pictures, watched some of the 30-second bunnies on a big screen, and then walked over to the excellent Choco Choco House for Boston's best truffles.
Then, eating our chocolates in a very light misting drizzle, we walked around the South End in the remnants of Boston's Gay Pride parade. Allison and Jay left to drive back to Rhode Island, but the rest of us walked through the Prudential Mall to Newbury Street, and then found ourselves--seemingly!--back at Wellesley (at least if you believe this sign inside the large Newbury Street Nike store, hyping Wellesley's famed role in the Boston Marathon). When we hit the Gardens, we turned around and hopped in a cab back to our house and to Alex's car, so people could make it back to Wellesley in time for the class dinner.
On Sunday, one of the final events of the reunion weekend is a parade in which the classes process around the campus to Alumnae Hall (which is, incidentally, the building where Robert and I met that September 7th 14 years ago). The classes go in order from oldest to youngest, so the cheering crowd got a little thin for our year. Each class is supposed to wear white and a class accent in her color--our class got $5 green parasols, and several members of other classes (some of whom got stuck with, at best, conflictedly feminist aprons in their class color) told me how much they loved our parasols, and what a neat idea they were. The older classes ride in vintage cars, and Diana Chapman Walsh--the outgoing president, who came in originally with my class as first-years together--gave a running commentary and cheer over a megaphone during the whole thing. I'm all the way on the right in this picture, in jeans and a white top, with Alex (in the blue-and-white stripes) next to me.
After the parade was the Alumnae Association meeting, which we skipped out on--Alex and Courtney went to go pack their things, and Robert and I hung out in the pool room in the Lulu along with some Wellesley husbands and children who were also uninterested in the meeting. We all met up again for a picnic lunch on the Lulu terrace, and then we dispersed for the weekend.
Here are some of the observations and resolutions we made over the weekend:
At right, you see Robert relaxing on a soft hot pink suede sectional in--where else?--the Lulu at the end of the day, before driving Isabel and me back into Boston. Unlike most of the other husbands, significant others, and partners at the reunion, Robert was actually recognized by a few of my classmates--Asma always said he was practically a member of our class, after all!
We'll be back!
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