Yet again I am on an airplane Wednesday morning before the crack of dawn, headed to the east coast for my 50th college reunion. I think this is my fifth trip since going to Panama in February, and I’m happy to be staying in Seattle for the rest of the summer. Seattle summer weather is gorgeous, and every time I go away it’s always nicer here than at my destination.
My college class was tiny: 126 young women, and 100 of us are still alive. Fifty are coming, or signed up to come, which seems like a pretty good turnout. The reunion is minimalist compared to something like the University of Rochester — where I got my doctoral degree — which is three days long and attracts top line speakers. They usually have to do a lottery for seats at the keynote. At the College of St. Elizabeth, the event is lower-key, starts with a cocktail party and barbecue on Friday night, and ends with Mass on Saturday at 4:30pm, for those who are still practicing Catholics. The president gives an update on how things are going. Classes get together to reminisce. There is a luncheon for all attendees. Our 50th reunion class has its own dinner Saturday night, which will extend things somewhat. Mostly spouses don’t come, even though they are welcome.
Some classmates are returning for the first time since graduation; a 50th is like that. People see it as a marker of sorts, even if they haven’t stayed in contact with the College.
I packed my clothing with some care; I don’t want to look like a schlub. I remember a previous reunion, when one of my friends from a class two years behind us came carefully dressed in her Episcopal priest dark jacket and white clerical collar — plus a straw hat with a jaunty flower. Traditional Catholics don’t look kindly on renegades who cross over to the dark side to be ordained, which they can’t be in their own church. She caused a stir, and she told me coming back in full-on priestly attire was intentional. I’m hoping someone similarly unconventional shows up this year.
I don’t have any real expectations other than seeing people and haunting a bar stool at Rod’s.
Tune in over the weekend — if anything spectacularly fun happens, you’ll be the first to know.