Ivy Day, originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.

we just returned from my 10 year reunion at smith college. we had a really nice time, despite the near-constant rain and missing some friends we'd hoped to see. it always feels like going home, because despite having lived there only four years, those were some years with great impact on my life.

it is always strange going back, every little detail jumps out and suddenly i find i can remember everything, things i hadn't thought about in years. i remember the feeling of walking up the hill from downtown to campus, down to the uneven spot in the sidewalk near a certain lamppost. every little path on campus, the squeak of the door to the stairwell in burton (the math building), my favorite tree in front of my old house, the 2 a.m. clang of the radiators in the house rooms. i did forget the names of some of the houses and streets, but found that i knew my way around as it leaked out of my subconscious, including that sneaky shortcut back to the interstate on the way out of town. everywhere were familiar faces, it's strange how everyone looks basically the same after a decade. i also met some people that i didn't know while in college, thereby ever expanding my smith experience. :)

the whole trip was a flood of emotions, remembering my time at smith (which was fraught with emotions in so many different ways over the years), but also comparing my life now to the life i predicted for myself at the time (more of a sense than an actual plan in my case). i love my life, that's not what i'm saying. but it was odd to face the disconnect between my life and the life of my peers there, given that we share so many values and strengths. being a stay at home mom feels normal to me and my friends here, and works for my life, but is a very uncommon choice among my smith cohort (i'm sure there are plenty of stay-at-home-moms among my class, but no one i spoke to at reunion was staying at home -- not one other person -- despite the relatively large number of kids represented). all of this was confounded by listening to the inspiring speech by gloria steinem (click for full text) -- it made me cry and cheer, and above all, feel recognized for my choices, which wasn't always the case among feminism's second wave. there will be no equality until it can coexist with mothering, since that's not going away any time soon, so one of the keys is to fight for things like paid family leave and decent pay for childcare workers. anyway, my thoughts on all of that are still swirling around, but i've been thinking about these things a lot lately. (not in judgement of myself or others, more with a sense of looking curiously at my own life as a detached observer.)

all of that is a bit tangential to the core of reunion, but i think since ivy day and illumination night were rained out, I spent more time in my head remembering and pondering than I did at various activities. i'm disappointed since eva would have loved seeing the 10,000 or so paper lanterns all over campus (she even enjoyed the blue security lights, so just imagine!), and she would have been so cute in the parade, all of us in white from the '42 alumnae to the current seniors. oh well, there's no predicting spring weather in new england. we'll see if she wants to go next time when she's seven.


Eliza said...

Hey there! It's really interesting reading another Smithie's ruminations on reunion. (You had more to say that I did.) Strangely, I found your blog through a search engine that had also linked to my Smith reunion post. I wish we'd chatted more. Maybe in 5 years??

Kristy said...

Yes, I seem to have a lot to say about everything -- but more often than not it's talking more than insight. Reunion just brings up all sorts of thoughts, I guess. I kept meaning to come chat more, but the time got away from me (chasing a toddler didn't help with that, either). And no fair, I can't find your blog, my searching skills are letting me down... :)

Eliza said...

here you go!

I have no idea why it's not on my profile and I can't seem to add it. Hey, can I tag you with the blog chain letter/"7 Things About Me" post on to you? You can see what it is on my blog but I can link to your site as well.

Eliza said...

I've now tagged you. I hope you don't mind!! I've posted the guidelines on my blog. xo.