So I am here on Memorial Day weekend to take my son to dinner since he doesn’t want to come home. I can’t blame him, long train ride, his friends are at school, his mom is gone and he has finals in a week. So I will give him a pass. But after two years of coming to Kalamazoo College, kzoo.edu (if anyone cares) where his mom and I met and but for that, I wouldn’t be here seeing him now, I can sit here, on the quad, looking old and maybe a little creepy as the kids try to figure out who I am. So I can write a few things
First, I like how nothing has changed. Overlooking the campus, on the outside, it is exactly the same. Maybe a few coats of paint, some brick repeat, but god, exactly the same. I’m sitting a picnic table I sat at almost 30 years ago. Of course back then the idea of owning a computer was shocking, let alone sitting here doing this. The kids look mostly the same, of course I am sure they hate being thought of as kids, I know I did then, even though looking back I was. They all look smart, a little deer in the headlights, not knowing what life has in store for them, good bad or indifferent. But it is all there in front of them, but of course they can’t see that. Maybe they shouldn’t, who knows, but you do feel like beating them about the head to tell them to enjoy, that these will be their formative years, forget kindergarten or high school, it’s this.
For me, even though mom and I did not make the whole marriage thing last forever, we still come up here, together or separate and have nothing but good memories, some of which we impart to Alex, some of which are best left unsaid, a decision we made at the first visit his senior year. But this as where we learned to think, to form what we thought were smart ideas, to sit around and think we were changing the world, even if we weren’t. Shouldn’t everyone think that for a brief time. We look at him now, and his sister soon to be off on her own somewhere far away, and think how these experiences now shape them, and really make the last formation of who they are.
What we are really happy about is to see him, and again, hopefully his sister in a year. find a place they can call home. That when they come back 5-10-30 years down the road, it will feel like walking into a childhood bedroom: comfort, security, memories and ideas of what was, could have been or should have been. It’s a rare thing to find a place, school or otherwise, that imparts these feelings to you. I’m glad it was for me and is for him.
The sun shines on the quad like it did spring of 1987. Hopefully in spring of 2047, it will still do that.
Kalamazoo College Class of 1987 and I guess beyond