Today my family and I decided to take a short road trip for some outdoor fun. It turns out I also got a lovely trip down memory lane.
We visited my alma mater, Rosemont College, for its annual Oktoberfest/Fall Weekend event. I have the good fortune of living about a half hour away from campus, so I've attended many events there over the years. Still, while this is far from the first time I've been on campus since graduating a shockingly long time ago now (like, seriously, every time I calculate how long it has been since my days as an undergrad I want to hyperventilate because ohmygoditcan'tbethatlong,canit??????), every time I set foot there, I am, for a few shining moments, 19 again.
The campus is gorgeous. It has always been that way. And though many things about the school have changed since I attended, I hope its beauty and majesty will never change.
|Good Counsel, side view|
I was so excited to take my daughters there. (It wasn't their first time there, either. My husband and I brought them a last year one random afternoon, but this was the first time things were open and bustling.) There's something so precious about sharing such an important piece of my past with them, something that hits me right in the feels.
We parked the car and explored the quiet half of the college. I pointed out the science building, my old residence hall, one of the two academic buildings in which I took most of my classes, and, of course, the center of the college: Rathalla. The girls posed on the bridge, next to buildings, in front of doors, next to the small pond. I happily snapped their photos, sharing anecdotes of things I'd done in those same spots nearly two decades ago.
We walked up the hill to join the festivities on the Green, and the vibe changed from tranquility to a party. It was nice to see so many families enjoying themselves.
|Fun with face paint|
After we strolled along the booths and the girls had their faces painted, I took them to the library. Only a few steps inside I stopped and took a deep breath. "Ah! It smells like...memories." I gleefully toured them through it as though it was a museum. We walked up the spiral staircase -- they LOVED that! I showed them my favorite secret spot where I used to study. I took them to the shelf in the stacks where I stood looking out the window on another day people had congregated on the Green but I'd needed some time to myself to process my emotions. (It was move-in day. My parents had just left and I wasn't ready to meet people quite yet. Haha.) I plucked from the shelf the same book that freaked me out turning its pages in the solitude (The Dore Illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy) and watched as it freaked them out, too. Then we tiptoed down the eerie corridor I'd inched my way down so long ago, as I lowered my voice to haunted-bedtime-story level to narrate our trek. When they were good and spooked, we visited the space-saving book room with the crank bookshelves, then walked through the basement room filled with periodicals in which my English-major-self had spent so much time as an undergrad.
My 9 year old, in particular, was quite taken with the library as a whole. She says she wants to go to Rosemont so it can be her library. She even grilled me on how much free time college students have. Haha. What a conversation! (Though I shouldn't laugh. If there's one thing that shocks me as much as how long it has been since I was in college, it's how old my kids are getting so damned quickly. What is the DEAL with TIME????)
After that, we visited the public safety office (where I met my husband!), bought an overpriced sweater at the bookstore, and snapped a few more photos on the way to our car.
Finally, since we were in town, we drove to Wayne and browsed in the bookstore, had dinner at one of the zillion restaurants, then ended our afternoon eating ice cream cones in the garden of the church where we were married.
|Fall sangria - with apple brandy!|
|Garden of church|
All in all, it was the perfect and beautiful way to spend an afternoon.