As you read this, I’ll be reliving my past at my 50th college reunion. I know people say this all the time, but how in the world could that many years have passed?
I remember so many years ago being a student at Queens College when reunion time would come around each Spring. All those smiling and laughing “elderly” ladies would arrive on campus. With their blue hair and practical (read that as very ugly) shoes, they would walk around the buildings oohing at all the changes and playing remember when. I’ve always been into “cute” shoes and I do remember thinking that I’d NEVER be caught wearing that kind of shoes. We now call this kind of practical footwear, “Omi shoes” after the dear mother in law of a close friend. And we call them that with much love attached.
My college years were happy ones. I came up to North Carolina from a little town in Florida. I was sure that Charlotte was close enough to see the mountains so one of the first things I did was race up to the top of Wallace dorm to the roof to see them. Not even a hill in sight.
The November of my freshman year was 1963 and so many of you will remember the sad day that our President was killed in Dallas. I was on my way to my first big college weekend at Carolina (Chapel Hill). I know my blind date was thrilled that I wanted to sit in the fraternity house and watch TV all weekend.
Another memory was of seeing my first snow. A group of us had taken the bus (we couldn’t have cars our freshman year) to Anderson’s to eat supper. We came out of the restaurant and it was snowing! I immediately opened my umbrella which caused peals of laughter from my more “northern” friends to whom snow was no big thing.
Then spring brought Rush week and all the stress and excitement of meeting so many upperclassmen. And then the happiness of my dearest friends and I all pledging the same sorority. I can still sing the songs – hmm – maybe it’s not too late to order that Tshirt that says, “80% of my brain is song lyrics.” Sadly, we’ve lost a few sisters from our pledge class so it’ll be bittersweet when we all get together and tell some stories.
I remember my first beach trip to the coast that spring too. We went to Myrtle Beach and ate at Oliver’s in Murrells Inlet. It was an old home, we’d heard that it was almost 200 years old. Made of cypress and heart pine, it sat on the edge of the salt marsh and the inland waterway. It was the oldest restaurant in the area. I think it was my first taste of hushpuppies. One strong memory is the feel of salt on my very pink skin, the smell of Noxzema and wearing white jeans. We thought we were so grownup and ready for anything!
My sophomore year in the fall, I got pinned to a very nice boy who was a student at Davidson. He was a couple years older and I did feel proud wearing his pin. But then at our Yule Log ceremony at Christmas, I met the best friend of my roommate’s boyfriend. Follow that? I walked into the dorm and stated – I’ve met the boy I’m going to marry. On my bulletin board in my room, was a page I’d torn from a magazine of a redheaded little boy years before. I then broke up with that sweet boy from Davidson and set about pursuing my future husband. He was not in the least interested and further more, was busy pursuing a sorority sister that semester. Actually he wasn’t really interested until he learned that I lived just 10 miles from a famous race track in Sebring, Florida. He showed up at our house one spring break a year later. And although I could say the rest was history – there is a lot more to the story.
I’m so grateful that my dearest friend from our college days is still a dearest friend and that we talk all the time and it’s just as if all those years have faded away. We laughed this morning questioning whether we’d be wearing some of those “practical”, read that as ugly, shoes during the campus tour. We then decided we were old enough to wear whatever we wanted!
So here I am packing clothes and wondering which shoes will be comfortable enough but not fall into the category of “Omi shoes” to walk all over what is now Queens University.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Happy memory making,