Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Go Back

It was the best of times, it was the worst of - nope, really it was just the best of times.

I had the greatest time in college. From playing silly jokes on each other in Dorsey Hall freshman year, to running up and down between dorm rooms and getting ready, drinks in hand in Richard Hall sophomore year, to living like "adults" in our off-campus house junior and senior year, we had a blast. There were sorority dances and parties like Harley Party in pleather skirts, luaus in leis, and senior wills at Top Deck, late night munchies at La Bamba or Bagel and Deli, dancing the night away at the Delta Chi house or First Run, post-midnight talks with the best of girlfriends on our front porch, spring breaks in the Bahamas, Ft Lauderdale and Key West, ringing in the new millennium in Windsor, and walks along Slant Walk on crisp fall days - the memories are endless.

I was ready to move on my senior year. I was sick of being poor and growing a little tired of the stifled small town of Oxford, Ohio. I guess I was just ready to be a full-fledged adult and make my way in the world. Oh, the naivete!

What would I tell that naive, young college girl now with the wisdom I've gained in the last 10 years?
-I'd love to tell her to savor every moment of female friendship. There will never be a time to live in a small house with your very best friends in the world again. Jobs, distance, husbands and kids change everything and it's impossible to enjoy those same close bonds again with all the other priorities weighing on your life. Those late morning curled on the couches in pajamas together spent rehashing the wild fun had the night before will end and be replaced by too-early wakeups from a crying baby in the next room and bleary-eyed diaper changes. Savor those special moments of girl-time!
-I'd love to tell her that a good man WILL appear in her life and how silly she is for wasting time worrying about all those little flings along the way. Enjoy those flings and have fun and try different people on to see how they fit, but the one meant for you will come along when the time is right, and not one minute sooner.

-I'd tell her to learn for fun and actually to absorb what you learn, not just study for an exam to pass and then move onto the next class.
-I'd tell her to enjoy every single moment that college has to offer - go to more campus plays or concerts, cheer at more hockey games, wear your college gear and be a big dork at Saturday afternoon football games. There won't be opportunities for easily accessible hockey and football games after college.

-I'd encourage her to appreciate her parents more, who made the entire 4 years possible, through all their hard work and sacrifice and saving so she could have the fun and crazy life experience that is college. So she could backpack through Europe in the summer between sophomore and junio year and drink margaritas with her girlfriends on Saturday nights and dance in fraternity houses and, oh yeah, learn a little something educational along the way too.

But even if I could, I'm not sure I'd tell her any of this. Every tear shed, every lesson learned, every heartache and mistake will lead her to the life she's meant to have. To a wonderful husband, to the most amazing child any woman could dream of, and to a very loved life!

Well believe it or not, I have been out of college for 10 years now. I hadn't been back to campus in about 8, so I was really excited to heard back for the reunion and to show Barrett and Tim the sights of all Momma's old escapades. Unfortunately, Barrett came down with a fever right before the trip so the two of them stayed behind while I made the trip down. So B will have to wait a little while longer before he sees his future college. I was sad not to have the family with me, but then again, it did make it a lot easier to get around and stay out late.

me and Katie, college housemates
The house on 210 E Vine where we 4 girls lived for 2 years. Lots of silly arguments, laughter and fun times were had in this house. See the window on the upper left? That was mine and Katie's room senior year. And the lower right window? I had to climb through it one late night after getting locked out - I managed to lose a shoe in the process and never did find it. Mysterious...

Katie and Michele in front of our house

We were frequent patrons of a fine establishment called CJ's. You know it's a fine establishment when the doorway is in an alley and the bathroom floors are perpetually sticky. However, it was a 21+ bar so very exclusive. I was such a frequent patron that I earned the distinguished honor of having my name written on the wall. Which to this day, 10 years later, is still there. My parents are proud. We walked in there, held our noses and tried not to touch anything, admired my name, and left.

With the housemates at Stadium, another bar we used to frequent to hear live bands. I was gaga over one particular band and we'd crowd up to see them like groupies. A little different experience this time, with a big pregnant belly and sipping my Sprite!

Michele and I ate dinner Friday night at the restaurant formerly-known-as Attractions and behind us was a table filled with a group of women. I looked at them and thought they must be in the class 5 or 10 years older than ours. To my surprise, they showed up at our class's party at Stadium a few hours later. Doh! So that means either that I'm delusional with how young we look or that we just look really good for our age! I'd like to think it's the second one!

My biggest observations of the weekend are that
1) Oxford has cleaned up a lot since we were there! The bar bathrooms were a lot nicer and the town in general seemed less run-down (although the student houses and frat houses looked even worse, if that's possible!)
2) We paid too much in tuition 10 years ago because there are some gorgeous new buildings on campus. There's a new business building that is beautiful and would have made sitting in accounting or finance classes a little more enjoyable:

Loved seeing the parade of classes and the aging of both the alumni and their families! Our class was filled with people pushing strollers.
And to top it all off, the quote that strikes a pang in my heart of longing for Miami every time I hear it....

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