Saturday, I woke my family early (how’s 5:30 a.m. for you?), chugged a mug of coffee, and bundled everyone off to my 20th year college reunion at Mount Holyoke.
I applied to Mount Holyoke at the suggestion of my guidance counselor. I didn’t want to go to a women’s college because I went to a girl’s high school for three years and I felt it was time to enter the mainstream and mix in with the other 49%. Still, I applied, got in, and once I visited I was hooked.
I loved it. There’s something about going to a school that’s single sex; it strips all the noise out of your academic life. And it’s fun. Yes, before I ever saw Sex and the City, my girlfriends and I were out on the town(s), having the time of our lives, and coming home at night (or up at brunch) to laugh over it all.
My best friends are the women I met while I was there.
It’s funny; Melisa and I saw Bridesmaids today (hilarious, go now), and despite being crazy-raunchy it gets everything right about women’s friendships. The women I met at college are still getting me through my day-to-day. Some I talk to once a week, some I Skype with, some I keep up with via Facebook. Some I see every couple years and it’s like no time has passed whatsoever.
We drove back to my parents’ house* Saturday afternoon and I immediately started combing through old photos from college. I found a number that I have to keep off-line in order to protect the innocent (dad: “exactly how much did you drink in college?” me: “ummmm, alot.”). The best pix must be in an album in my attic.
Sure, we look different. We’re 20 years older, we’re probably only a little wiser, but still striving to be “uncommon women.”
Four years at Mount Holyoke, and I hadn’t realized that the concept of an “uncommon woman,” popularized by the wonderful MHC alum and playwright Wendy Wasserstein, one that resonates throughout your years at the College, came first from a man. Richard Gettell, President of the College in the 50’s, described her as:
“The uncommon woman is the person who is different from most in that she rises above mediocrity, leads rather than goes along with the crowd, forms her own opinions rather than accepts others’ uncritically, but has her opinions well-grounded on information and thought, not on hasty judgment or prejudice. Who is superior intellectually and morally, but doesn’t rub it in in the presence of others. She is a person who has a zest for life, a drive to accomplish great things, and a sense of responsibility to others. Who is never satisfied with the shoddy, and who is always striving for improvement. She is the person who knows how to think and enjoys doing so, whose curiosity is never-ending and whose horizons are without limit, whatever her future life, whether as a custodian of our highest culture, a molder of the next generation, or an active participant in the busy world’s affairs.”
He added that becoming an uncommon woman was the work of a lifetime, something he hoped that four years at Mount Holyoke would begin.
Every month, I get the Quarterly magazine, and read the class notes. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes. The earliest class notes are all obituaries, but oh, what these women have left behind. They were doctors, lawyers, teachers, philosophers. They were trailblazers. Explorers, in the world and the workplace. They were mothers. Philanthropists. And I’m sure a whole lot more that wouldn’t be printed in a polite publication. They are inspiring.
I can only hope to live up to the legacy of the Mount Holyoke women who came before me. And that I can convince my daughter to go as well.
The weather is forecasted to be rainy all week. Boo!
Sunday: What says love like Shrimp and Soba? Uh, nothing, to my mind.
Monday: We have some very ripe avocados, so I think it’s all about quesadillas or a (you guessed it) burrito.
Tuesday: Orecciette with Roast Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Crispy Bacon and Spinach
Wednesday: Busy evening. Looks like Rotisserie Chicken and Kale Salad(see last week: we get a bit obsessive)
Thursday: Collapse! Order out.
Friday: Halibut Steamed in Foil with Julienned Vegetables
Saturday: Gotta be steak! It’s Memorial Day weekend after all! Let the summer begin!
May your days be rain free and full of friends…
*THANK YOU M&D for: food, sleep, babysitting. XOXO