I had the pleasure of spending Saturday evening into Sunday at my alma mater’s annual Reunion celebration. Although it is only my 24th year out of college, my three best college friends—with whom I roomed during my sophomore and their junior years—were attending their 25th jubilee. I was also honored to be a guest presenter there and had the pleasure of speaking to a dozen or so women from the class of ’59, one of whom is the mother of a friend here in the Village. I spoke about the Murder 101 series and these wonderful women restored my belief in my own public speaking skills.
Here’s the thing—I bomb with some groups. There have been several presentations I’ve given where I’ve laughed at my own jokes in front of a room of people who looked like they had come to attend the annual Mortuary Science convention. They do not find my jokes funny, my stories amusing, nor me laughing at my own jokes and/or stories at all humorous. I’ve given a few of these lackluster presentations in a row and was starting to lose faith in myself.
But the class of ’59 was a game crowd. This was a group of extremely interested, mystery-loving women. They ate up everything there was to be heard about Alison Bergeron and the books in the series. And they laughed where you were supposed to laugh and even some places where you weren’t. But that’s ok. Rather have laughing than the alternative.
It was a gorgeous weekend here on the East Coast and my alma mater sits on the Hudson River. The Half Moon was sailing past the college just about the time that I was presenting so many reunion goers went out to see it so as not to miss what turned out to be quite a spectacle. (See here for details and some nice pictures of the replica of Henry Hudson’s ship) Being a huge fan of the Hudson—I’ve lived near it my entire life and enjoyed its beauty—I didn’t mind that I had been ditched in favor of the historic flotilla that sailed past the college and toward my home town, where it sailed past Sunday morning. Missed that one, too.
The girls and I spent Saturday afternoon walking around campus, marveling at how little had changed but also at the improvements that had been made. We had some champagne to celebrate our annual weekend together and then a cosmopolitan right before the dinner dance we were to attend that evening. Before heading over to the dining hall, we ventured into the beautiful chapel—where many key scenes from the movie “Doubt” were filmed—and drank in the smell of bees’ wax, floor polish, and incense. It was there that I got a little overwhelmed, thinking about the four of us, the time that had passed, and the struggles we had gone through. When I told my friends what I was thinking, one of the four, my gal Trixie, turned to me and said, “You’re cut off.” (My reputation as a weepy imbiber is legendary among this crew.)
It’s amazing how after a quarter decade it can feel as if no time has passed. At the same time, it can feel like almost twice that time has passed. It’s a weird conundrum. We had a great time at the dinner dance, dancing among graduates going as far back as the class of ’39—ok, maybe they weren’t dancing, but they were there—and meeting new people with whom we shared the bond of being “Mounties” (our college nickname). The camaraderie that existed among women much older than we are impressed me and again, made me weepy. Seeing women who had cultivated the bonds of friendship over the course of thirty, forty, and even fifty years was impressive indeed. We all have different histories and backgrounds but our love of our friends, and the school that brought us together, will keep us together forever.