This was refamiliarization day. The college is a lot bigger. Stuff has changed—hard to believe, I know—since the late ’60s and early ’70s. So there was a certain amount of wandering about in amazement. (And there was this: turn a corner, and here is a space or a corridor or a doorway that had been utterly familiar during an intense part of our lives, but that we hadn’t seen or thought of in almost half a century. Boom. Right back to our college job, or English seminars, or evenings studying in a personal favorite quiet space. Or evenings goofing off when we should have been studying.)
Four of us had lived in the same house as seniors—for all of us, one of the best years of our lives—and we met up to wander over, chatted up some current residents and spent a half-hour poking around the place, loudly noting all the changes. The grandfather clock has migrated from the entrance hall to the living room. The first room on the right has been made into a small common sitting room. The attic, which we had called “the tunnel,” where the south window was never closed (“frigid” doesn’t begin to convey the winter temps), and where most of us slept in barracks-like squalor, is now a brightly-painted study-bedroom room for one or two, and actually looks fit for human habitation. The kitchen is well-equipped, bright, and probably even hygienic. There are facilities to wash and dry clothes. Amazing! Of course, the place is co-ed now, and that might have something to do with its civilized look and feel.
The two pairs of us who shared the same room one year after the other, met the current resident and decided that the space actually was pretty much the same, but that we almost certainly had had more fun in it. We (more accurately, our nearly hysterical partners, some of whom had had virtually no idea about the place) eventually found our photos among the hundred-plus group pix hanging on the walls. I believe the hilarity had to do mostly with our clothes and our hair, but admit it may have been enhanced by the supercool attitudes we were trying to project. Of course, we are super cool. Believe me.
That’s a puppy under my sweater. I was keeping it warm. Really.
We eventually headed for the early seating at a community dinner out in the gorgeous autumnal Vermont countryside. Think church supper and you have the idea. Turkey with all the fixin’s and terrific home-made pies and cider. We filled one of the long tables and continued to learn more about each other’s others. I’m not adequately conveying how enjoyable all this was.
Sunday was running day. More on that coming up.