I never quite planned it, but somehow I managed to go back for every one of my Wellesley reunions so far: first at five years, then ten, then fifteen, and now twenty! Living close by helped, though this was the first year we stayed in the dorms in order to avoid commuting out all three days. We took the 4:36 commuter rail out on Friday afternoon, meeting up with Carrie from Philadelphia and her daughter Raina, just a year older than Samantha, on the train, and we stayed until 2:30 on Sunday, waving goodbye to Isabel at the Munger back door. It was a fantastic weekend! Next time, twenty five! All our classmates who stayed away this time (they know who they are) better join us then for sure.
Friday night dinner on the Hazard quad in a tent. What was up with the water? It tasted like dirt + chemicals. It was not great. The kids ran around and played on the lawn, though, and we visited with Lillian and Shelley, who actually had run into Robert at a quantitative finance conference before. Lillian informed the table that Robert was "famous" in quant circles. He beamed.
From there it was over to the Lulu firepit for s'mores. Helen grabbed at a marshmallow and was in heaven. Marcus played with fire for over an hour. Samantha ran around on a different lawn with Raina and a couple other girls long after dark.
We had two double rooms in Pomeroy, along with the class of '82 (purple, and, obviously, older than us), but once I decided that the hot, airless rooms with nature sounds (birds chirping at 3:00 in the morning...) and hard vinyl-covered mattresses were really just like camping, only with less dirt and fewer bugs, I was able to trick myself into sleeping soundly. We slept on these beds in college? For four years? Comfortably? No idea how that happened. Samantha slept in her own bed, and Helen and I shared, but in the morning we switched to cuddle a little.
Breakfast in the dining halls! Robert went down first and brought something back and handed it to Samantha. I looked at it curiously. "What's that?" I asked. "Sausage," he said, as though it were obvious. It wasn't obvious. When Samantha was ready and we went to the dining hall, I remembered that Pom was the kosher dining hall. Hello, fried oat and soy patty. It was quite pleasant when you thought of it that way. Samantha was thrilled by the dorms and the dining halls: "This is where the STUDENTS sleep!" she said. "And in the morning when they wake up, they do their homework on these EXACT desks!" Then, over breakfast: "Mommy, I think they tried to have something that EVERYBODY likes here for breakfast!"
After breakfast Robert took Samantha to the library for a kids' storyhour, and I took Marcus on a walk to the Science Center and on a Harry Potter tour of the greenhouses.
He loved the wand wood display, as it involved reading, Harry Potter, and sticks, several of his long-abiding interests.
The scavenger hunt was neat, too--he liked seeing mandrake roots, and read carefully to find every plant. Along the way he also saw coconut palms and pomegranate trees, which was pretty exciting.
When Samantha joined us, she got very into decorating a sachet for her "potion" and then carefully choosing the perfect mixture of peppermint, hibiscus, and lavendar to make a little bag of potpourri for her sock drawer.
Then Robert took Samantha over to the boathouse and to walk near the lake, and Marcus and I went with Isabel and Alison, her husband Jay, and their son Griffin through the academic quad. Marcus and Griffin had met for the first time the night before for about a minute and thirty seconds on the path as we were going and Alison was coming, but they really hit it off, and today were like old friends.
In the Poli Sci library, while the boys drew on the chalkboard (um, unfortunately we couldn't find an eraser when they were done...) we dug out Hillary's senior thesis just for fun.
Then we walked through the newly-renovated art wing, where Marcus was impressed with someone else's drawings on a chalkboard--note that the drawing above was not his.
Posing with Galenstone Tower in the background--we heard the carillon for much of the day, but didn't have a chance to get up there for a tour. Next time!
After lunch, Marcus, Samantha, Griffin, Raina, and about 20 other of their closest friends went to the kids' camp set up on Severance Green. It was really well run, and everyone had fun--there was duck-duck-goose and arts and crafts, a magician, a bouncy house, and high-powered running games with balls. While they played, we went to a lecture by Ray Starr (Latin 101! I loved that class!) on fathers, daughters, and familial law in ancient Rome, and then I walked through an academic open house in Pendleton. We picked the kids up and hung out on the lawn for awhile, watching them roll down the hill (we did tick checks before bed), and then just relaxed for awhile together enjoying the nice day.
There was also an evening kids' camp in the gym, and we dropped Marcus and Samantha off around 5:30 and headed over to our class's tent, this time on the chapel lawn, for dinner. In the gym they had one room with art activities and movies ("We saw a REALLY funny movie about a squirrel!" Samantha said later) and one with two bouncy houses and some more games, and they served the kids dinner and snacks.
We had a vacation, practically, with only Helen with us at dinner, and we visited with Isabel and chatted with some other alums at our table. We enjoyed the photo booth, too! Around 9:30, we picked the big kids up, both of them perfectly content all evening (we heard there were some parents who had been summoned to pick kids up earlier, as some 3-4 year olds were flagging, but ours were fine). Everyone got a good night's sleep, because Sunday was a busy day.
I was at the chapel at 8:30 for the reunion choir rehearsal ("Lift Up Thine Eyes" from Elijah) and then the multifaith service started at 9:15. I love singing in the reunion choir--it's great to sing with people who care about singing, first of all, and it's exhilerating to come together, learn a new piece, and perform it in a short space of time, but it's also fun to see the same alums every five years, as we all come back to the choir. After the service, it was time for the parade, so the classes divided themselves along College Road.
Samantha, Raina, and four other little girls, all daughters of my classmates, together held our class banner at the side of the road as the older alums came by, and then marched with it at the front of our class procession in the parade. The older alums were absolutely charmed by them. Many snapped pictures, others stopped and high-fived them, and many gave advice: "Girls can do anything! Never forget that!" or "You are smart and you are strong, never let anyone tell you anything else!" and of course, "Come to Wellesley! We'll see you back here in 10 years!" We figured out that all the girls carrying the banner would be classes of 2032-2034, so who knows, maybe they'll meet up again when they're on campus as students.
After the parade, Robert picked Samantha up and he and Jay took Griffin, Marcus, and Samantha out in a canoe (and then later just Samantha in a paddle boat) while we did step-singing at the Alumnae Hall outdoor amphitheatre. The 50th reunion class songmistress who led the singing was great--very energetic, and very funny. Helen managed to sleep through the entire parade and the entire step-singing.
After step-singing, we went back to the Munger terrace for lunch and said goodbyes as people peeled off to drive or fly home. I finally got a picture with Liz, just before we left, and we all promised to see each other again five years from now--or sooner, if we can do a Boston or Rhode Island or Philly meet-up with Alison, and a Seattle meet-up with Isabel.
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