Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Driving out to Rochester on Thursday evening, I was very nostalgic for the ancient days of college. I went to school with some amazing people. And nothing said more about our campus than the annual, nay, ritualistic, Homecoming gathering. Although some of the traditions have faded with time, my memories keep them bright and alive. There was this incredible myth that the Student Association (our student government organization) was responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the large festival style tent that the alumni office set up each year for the events. The night before Homecoming, the male SA leaders historically staid up and kept watch to keep out vandals.

Whether or not there ever was a defacing of the tent is the stuff of legend. Well, the year that S and I comprised the executive team, we were determined to keep the tradition going. So, despite our lack of male sturdiness (our likely death is by consumption), we found some sleeping bags and settled in for the night. Perhaps needless to say, October nights in upstate NY are not warm. Sometime after midnight we curled into our cocoons and drifted off to sleep, partly out of a need to keep warm, and partly because we, as usual, had worked for umpteen nights without much sleep, getting the senior float ready, settling into our new student offices, etc. Oh yeah, and homework, lots and lots of studying between the two of us. S was getting grad school applications together and I was thinking about jobs. We barely slept that year no matter what week it was.

No, the tent did not get vandalized, nor did we get accosted there on the lawn by the tent. Rather, a few of our male friends came out to check on us, draped our huddled forms in additional blankets and took photos. Nice of them and then not so nice. All you can see in these middle of the night pics is our way curly hair piling out of the top of what looks like a bed made on the wet grass. Two women. In one bed. Need I say more? Not the racy photos gracing the MySpace pages of nearly every one of today's adolescents, but amusing to them and a little less than amusing to us. The photos have reemerged almost annually since then when someone wonders out loud about our friendship. Yes, it was forged on nights like that. And in dance class with Miss Jean tapping out the rhythm to Madonna's "True Blue" at the age of seven, in the art studio for endless hours, and in a few grand schemes of breaking and entering to advance our artistic careers (who needs to break into their own college art studio to do work because it is closed on the Sabbath and at 2AM on a Tuesday?--probably not those who went to art school in Manhattan).

Anyway, as might be imagined, we awoke that Saturday morning with scratchy throats and icky heads and I managed to get bronchitis later that week to show for my "security" detail. Supposedly that year, the Homecoming of 1999, was the last night that anyone sat watch. Maybe because we had fallen asleep on the job, or because that next year they found the budget money to add some security guards to the yearly payroll. Checking the boilers is a full time job.

This year, was much less dramatic, but still fun. There is the early morning 5K, the soccer games, the parade, the afternoon reunions, and a tent where all the student clubs sell items to sustain their meager budgets for the year. Lately, they have added tables for alumni and others who want to share their wares and be a part of a growing roster of socially conscious handicrafts. S and I sold our own handmade items, many of them created from repurposed and vintage materials. Another alum, M, joined us and we shared a great day in the tent!

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