Thursday, September 24, 2015

Glory Days

Glory days - well, they'll pass you by
Glory days - in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days.  

                                         - - Bruce Springsteen

Tomorrow, I will be heading north, to relive, for a few hours, the glory days of my youth, the four years I spent living and learning at a small women's college in western Massachusetts. It has been thirty-four years since I saw the campus this time of year - just as autumn is beginning to make its mark on the landscape. The campus is at its most beautiful when the reds, golds and oranges begin to blaze and bloom.

I had not intended to attend this mini-reunion. I made up many excuses. I told myself that I had other plans, that it is a long ride and with four recalls on my car (I kid you not - never buy a Ford), it seemed inadvisable. I didn't know who was going. I did not have a roommate. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But posts about the event kept cropping up on Facebook. Our class officers kept sending e-mails. Friends sent me messages, asking if I was going. Then, I received an email from a classmate I had not seen in an eternity.

I changed my plans. I filled out the form. I wrote the check.

And a little spark of excitement was born.

It has been nearly 35 years since I graduated from college, but those four years are part of everything I am. Those four years forged my personality, my ambitions, my friendships, my interests and my activities. It introduced me to traditions and ideas that are forever a part of my memory. Things have changed at my college (and I am not happy about those changes), but the essential spirit remains - friendship, sisterhood, connection.  

Although only a small group of the 500 of us who graduated on that rainy Sunday afternoon in May 1982 are attending, we will be many in spirit, reliving past glory, sharing current news and celebrating the impossible fact that we have attained the age of "double nickles." Although I am sure there were days during those four years that we prefer to forget, it seems that only the good times linger in our memories,.

In a small garden outside the gorgeous old administration building, named for our founder, there is a sundial that I photographed at our last reunion in 2012. On it are the words we should all live by: I count none but bright hours.

The hours and days and weeks and months I spent at Mount Holyoke College in S. Hadley, Massachusetts, were most bright, most bright indeed.
So from east and from west now we gather,
And united in firm love to thee,
All years are as one and their loyal pledge,
Mount Holyoke forever shall be,
Mount Holyoke forever shall be.

                       -- Mount Holyoke College Alma Mater