Thursday, June 14

1-9-9-2 Wellesley, Rah!

Last weekend I attended my wife's college reunion. This was the first reunion I have attended since we've been together. Things are different at a women's college. I am used to homecoming, football and debauchery. Wellesley, apparently like a lot of New England colleges, has reunion shortly after their graduation and it seems pretty common that the alumni (alumnae, in this case) stay in the dorms - we didn't but Tara wanted to. We, along with 6 other adults and 2 sub 4 year olds, stayed at a friends swank condo in Brookline, MA.

Saturday we drove over to campus and you could feel the excitement in the car. These women were all very excited as they pulled towards and through the gates. Then reality hit, we got out of the cars and were greeted by lightning and claps of thunder. We meandered across campus, greeted at every turn by a cheerful young woman and driver of a limo offering us a ride. Of course, these 92ers were mockingly appalled that someone would think they were old enough to need a ride. In the quad was the big tent filled with returning alum packets and at the end of the tent was a table featuring Wellesley bottled water and cookies. Looking around I was struck by how cute the student workers were as well as how ethnic. Then I looked at Tara and her classmates and saw this is not a recent development. Wellesley seems to have been populated by cute and ethnically diverse students for awhile; this would be further verified at the parade on Sunday. I guess I thought my wife and her friends were an exception to the rule. I was still living with the not-so-attractive, nerdy, northeasterner stereotype that I associate with those northeastern, private, all women's schools. There was a huge picnic lunch which most of us agreed should be the end of the day. The alumnae did some campus shopping and we headed for home.

That night the overwhelming choice for dinner was Boston's North End. I was just along for the ride b/c I'd only been to Boston once b4 and don't know which end is up. We hopped a train, walked down this street that was nothing but Italian restaurants and a Paul Revere statue. We chose a place called Cibo and oh-my-God. This is what italian food is supposed to be. I can't tell you how fantastic I thought the food was. I sampled a couple of different dishes at the table and they were all delicious. I got Penne Arrabiatta b/c a couple of weeks ago I heard it mentioned on the Sopranos. Tony used the phrase to describe his hot-headed bodyguard and my ears always perk up when I hear some extra-cultural reference to Africa or the Middle East, so a pasta dish called Arabian pasta is interesting to me. It was a tomato based sauce with sausage and some red pepper.

Sunday was the main event. We got up early and made our way to campus. The kids were gone and over night we had added the last expected member of the core group who was coming. See, at Wellesley and it might be like this at other institutions but I have never seen it before, each class has a color; there are four colors - red, yellow, green, and purple - that cycle through. In addition to that the classes have a reunion every four years. This year was reunion for the 2's and 7's. Tara is the class of 1992 and their color is red. None of this means much until the parade on Sunday; at that time the classes, dressed in white from head to tow with only their class color and their reunion paraphernalia get in line from youngest to oldest. The paraphernalia is another oddity each class gets a different item for their reunion and I saw all sorts of items from canes, berets, umbrellas to the cheesy red megaphones and red feather boas which rubbed off on everybody's white outfits that the Class of 1992 had. The alumnae then parade from the oldest, who was from the class of 1932 or 1937, to youngest with each class greeted/honored and cheered by all younger classes and lastly the University president who seemed to be having a grand ol time at the end of the parade route. When the class makes it to the president they stop and chant their Rah, or cheer or whatever they call it. 92 was pretty lame. I think Tara and her friends need to talk to the class alum assoc in order to get cooler paraphernalia and recreate their cheer. That being said and as I am one for pomp and ceremony, I thought it was all very cool. As a husband at the reunion of an all women's college I didn't even feel that out of place.

After the ceremony there was shopping and one by one everybody trickled away. Tara, Pauline and I wandered around this stunningly beautiful campus. There is a lot of greenery and native plant landscaping. Comparing it to Sewanee I see Sewanee's campus as an area that has always been and the woods grew up around the campus but Wellesley it seemed was plopped down right in the middle of the woods. On one level those two images seem much the same but in my head, and I apologize for not conveying this mental image very well, despite all of the similarities of architecture and landscaping, I see two distinct campuses.

I expect to have some photos up on flickr in the next few days.
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