On a sunny August morning in 1985, two station wagons stuffed to the gills left New York and headed down to Bryn Mawr College. My dad and I were in one car; my twin sister and Aunt Peggy were in the other.
I hadn’t planned on going to a women’s college. I had attended an all-girls high school and the very last thing that I wanted was a women’s college. But from the moment that I stepped on the campus, I knew it was the place for me. So, did my twin. And two years later, so did my stepsister.
This time around my twin and I were heading back for our twenty-fifth college reunion. We took one station wagon, my nine-year old niece, and somehow still managed to overpack. We also found ourselves arguing over who was going to wear what. Some things haven’t changed.
We stayed in one of the dorms. Not one that I had lived in during my three years on campus. (I spent my junior year abroad studying in Strasbourg, France.) I forgot much of what it was like to live in a dorm: the musty smell and worn carpets; the closet-sized rooms (palatial by New York housing standards); the beds hard as rocks; the community bathrooms with the skimpiest of shower curtains; and those wonderful corkboards with welcome notes on the doors.
At the top of my to-do list was a visit to the library and my old carrel in the Romance language room. And like old times, I seemed to have a hard time getting to the library. Instead, I made it to the Cloisters and Thomas Great Hall. In Thomas, there is a statue of Athena. Students leave offerings for Athena, hoping she will help them do well on exams. I had a spare piece of chewing gum on me and I couldn’t help but leave an offering—just in case, she might have some influence over my manuscripts on submission. You never know! 🙂
Thomas Great Hall
Both my dad and aunt have passed away since our journey down in August 1985. My dad loved Bryn Mawr. He loved academia. He felt less of an affinity for the tuition bills he paid for the three of us! I recall the morning of Hurricane Gloria he called me to see if I was going to classes. I explained to him that I had a class that morning at Haverford and that the Blue Bus wasn’t running. His response, “You better walk carefully.” Instead of making it to class, I ended up at breakfast in the Campus Center. And guess who else was there? My twin sister.
Going back to the mothership, as one of my classmates described it, felt like going home. We were older, most of us a few pounds heavier, but some things remained the same: our friendships, support for one another, and our love for this amazing institution.
Hilary, me, Sarah Longstaff
I cannot wait till the next reunion. And perhaps down the road, my niece will be joining us for one of her own reunions. Anassa Kata!