Graduation Weekend


Recently, I left town to attend my daughter’s college graduation. A milestone in her life and mine.

Luckily, despite all my parenting, she did everything right. For starters, she studied way harder than I ever did when I was a student. Applying herself, strategically planning her course schedule, focusing on everything she needed to do for her Economics major, and participating in extra-curricular activities, including becoming co-president of the Undergraduate Economics Society. And of course, last summer she did a study abroad program in Barcelona.

Whereas, I can’t tell you how many classes I cut during my four years in college. Nor, how many all-nighter’s I pulled–sometimes studying, and sometimes just to play countless rounds of Bid Wisp. Lord knows how many times I just managed to scrape by. Physics 101 is a prime example of this.

Frankly, it’s a miracle I graduated at all, leaving college with no plan except the knowledge that I liked to write. And, because of that, I went on to pursue a Master’s in Journalism. Anything to avoid entering the workplace, right? Meanwhile, my daughter graduated knowing she had long ago lined up a job in her field.

I’m sure you can imagine just how proud I am of her and all her accomplishments.

Well, it rained the weekend of her graduation. And, sometimes it just poured. Practically the entire time, if you ask me. Despite the inclement weather, we made the most of it, and had a grand time. And, if there’s anything you know about me by now, it’s my delight in taking pictures. Here’s a sampling of graduation weekend:


The skies were gray and everything was damp. I think the following photos pretty much capture it. But they also capture the lush beauty of the campus. How serene and bejeweled by nature it appears. So peaceful it was to amble through its many paths, and so much splendor to take in.


One look at this building and you know where the expression, the halls of ivy, came from:DSCN7118




It rained while we waited for the students to take their seats, but once they did, the rain miraculously stopped and didn’t resume until the ceremony was over.DSCN7179

A sea of purple. Can you spot my daughter? Hint: She’s smiling at me.


I got a chuckle out of seeing the school photographer, who appeared out of place in his shorts.DSCN7235

And one more. I couldn’t help myself in taking this last photo. After all, I absolutely adore seeing the natural beauty of flowers!DSCN7325

In case you’re interested, I’ve attached a video of the keynote speaker, Mikail Baryshnikov. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what a renowned dancer would have to say to graduates, but it was a good speech and gave us all lots to consider.

The Road Taken: Where it Begins

Chapter 7:  After the chocolate peanut butter pie incident, I’m sure you’re thinking, what kind of a guy is G? Why didn’t he ever stand up for me against the housemates? Well, he did in his own way, believe it or not. But before we go any further, it’s only right to take a step back and explain how it all began.  The first time I met G and the first kiss, as disastrous as it was. It’s a story that begins with fingernails. Or the lack of them.

It starts, not with a bang but with a whimper. Ours is not a story of love at first sight, or even second.  It is a story about fingernails that weren’t there. Long fingers with flat, stubby tips and nails chewed to the quick, leaving unsightly exposed nail beds. I’m not talking about my fingers. These were G’s, and I was horrified at the sight.

My college dorm. G's was across the way.

I met G in May, on the very last weekend of my college sophomore year. He was a freshman. I had a number of guy friends on campus, some of whom I’d dated, but G wasn’t among them. There was an heir to a couple of well-known amusement parks. Bryan, an African American who would stand outside my dorm window, shouting “Stella!” as if he was Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire. There was Juan, a Puerto Rican returning student, older than the rest of us, who sold pot and cut hair on the side.  And, there was Doug, a stunning boy with long lashes and soulful eyes, who loved Joni Mitchell’s music as much as I did.  We fell head over heels for each other during an all-night make out session, while listening to the Court and Spark album.

I didn’t know G, but I knew his roommate, Jon, on whom I had a deep crush. The two lived in a dorm in the same quad as mine, on the other side of a pond.  I’d often hang with Jon and his cronies, joining them at meals in the dining hall, and if G was there, too, I couldn’t say I’d noticed.

On the Friday before summer break, Jon and I were having dinner together in the dining hall, chatting about our summer plans. Mine were still up in the air and I hinted that I was considering returning to school early.  I kept gazing flirtatiously into Jon’s brown eyes, taking in his swarthy good looks while hoping he’d get the message that I was hot for him. Which is when, G plunked his tray down on the table.

“Anyone sitting here?” he asked with an exuberant grin on his face.

I looked up at this interloper, who was towering over our table, wracking my brain for a polite way to say, buzz off. He had thick, wire-rimmed glasses, long stringy hair and a full-fledged shnoz. At 6’4”, he was tall, thin and gangly.   As Jon introduced us, my line of vision went directly to his fingers. A feeling of instant repulsion came over me.  I wanted to ask, “What in blazes happened to your fingernails?” But instead, I looked away, feeling annoyed and disappointed that my alone time with Jon had vanished.

Pretty soon others joined our table, including Candace, a freshman from my modern dance class, who was lithe with long auburn hair that looked like something out of a Breck Shampoo ad. It seemed to me, Candace clearly had her eye on Jon.  After dinner, I tried to get Jon’s attention, but that was next to impossible, thanks to Candace.  We left the dining hall and walked to a nearby wooded area, where a couple of joints were passed around.  Soon our foursome paired off, when Candace grabbed Jon’s elbow, leading him deeper into the woods.

I felt as if we were reenacting A Midsummer’s Night Dream. You know, where Lysander thinks he’s in love with Helena and Helena is in love with Demetrius who is in love with—well, you get the picture. It’s all very confusing. Let’s just say that I ended up walking with G, who somehow didn’t mind this turn of events.

One thing I quickly noticed was that G was incredibly smart and witty. As we walked, he was quite effervescent and friendly, finding the humor in just about anything.  As we wandered through the woods I found myself laughing, even bursting into uncontrollable giggles, and getting all teary from our banter. We ended up in the chapel fields, an expansive section of campus where there were three non-denominational places of worship. There, we lay on the grass, looking up at the stars. The solitude felt peaceful. In the silence of the night it occurred to me, that if it wasn’t for my wanton feelings for Jon–and G’s seemingly lack of fingernails–I could easily find myself liking him.

We lingered contentedly in the still of the grass, when, out of nowhere, G’s nail-less fingers swooped down on me, like alien creatures landing from Mars. Pressing me into the ground, G leaned down to kiss me. Aack! I wasn’t ready for this.

I pushed him off and bolted upright.  “Gotta go!” I blurted, as if I had just been contaminated with the killer virus and needed to find the antidote.  “Have a good summer!”

I ran to my dorm room and slammed the door shut.  Relief washed over me. It was almost dawn. In a few hours, my parents would be arriving to take me home for the summer, and I wouldn’t run into G again until September.

And by October, we’d be declaring our undying love for each other.

Missed a chapter? You can read the entire series, by visiting the page, titled, The Road Taken.