Sunday, April 15, 2007

Alma mater plays into memory making

It was alumni weekend at my college alma mater this weekend. 125 years! My class of 1977 was one of the honored classes (30...). My first boss (head of the library) was celebrating his 70th! That's a lot of years at one place!

I only attended church and the play on Saturday night (King Lear), but I enjoyed everything about the festivities. So many people to reconnect with! So many layers of age to peer through to find the young people we once were...

The two alumni of the year were people I have connections with. The oldest, class of 1951, was a very good friend of my fathers from high school on. While they were citing all his achievements, I was remembering the stories of pranks and other good times I'd heard from my dad.

The other honoree was a member of my own class and had been the RA on our hall the year my sister and I lived in the dorm. Her litany of achievements was lengthy and impressive. She's accomplished many things in the 30 years since she graduated. Made me start thinking about what I've done with my own life in those same 30 years. The list wouldn't be as long, and the achievements wouldn't be as startling (there were a lot of "first women," "first African American," and "first African American woman" accolades in it), but it seems to me that the public-ness of what one does shouldn't be the only criteria for determining the worth of one's accomplishments. Seems as if the depth and breadth of one's influence should matter, too.

Not that I'm clamoring to be an Alumna of the Year. That's not my point. But I do wish that once in awhile they would honor someone for doing their job well, no matter how quietly and obscurely they are doing it.

Speaking of public accomplishments, the play of the evening was King Lear and it was directed by one of my students of some 24 years ago. He not only directed and produced the play, but starred as Lear, doing a fantastic job. Playing the role of Edgar was another student, also doing an outstanding job. I'd even go so far as to say "amazing." Both these young men were avid readers and thoughtful students when I first knew them. It was a privilege to teach them and nurture their interest in literature, composition, and drama. I am delighted to say that I gave each of them the opportunity and encouragement to begin the journey that took each of them to their PhDs in literature.

The director is a professor of English and married to a very fine cellist and professor of music, both at my alma mater (and his). The actor is a writer and actor married to the morning anchor of one of the Boston TV stations. They have each made their own way since I taught them, of course, but I am not a little proud of the part I had in shaping their interests and abilities when they were much younger...

5 comments:

Sunny said...

Hey, glad you could attend. The Mama Bird and OC were there. Did you see them? Probably not, think they left in time to get back home to Maine before too late last night.

Rondi said...

No, I did see them. They were across the aisle from me in church. I didn't get home until after midnight!

La Tea Dah said...

So fun to find a place I recognize on your blog! It's been years since I was at AUC. I believe it was when I was 17 and my family sent on a 'study trip' with my dad to colleges and industry across the nation. He taught at WWC during those years. I love the New England atmosphere and buildings on the AUC campus. And our favorite pastor, Bill Knott, was an alumni of your school. Do you know him?

Rondi said...

Well, I used to know him very well, as we went out off and on for parts of 6 years!!! I just saw him in February when I was in Corpus Christi for meetings. He was the worship speaker each morning.

La Tea Dah said...

Oh, such a small world! I think every pastor should have a degree in English --- it made his sermons so much more interesting! Neat that you saw him recently. He and his family lived right down the road from my in-laws. Debbie and my MIL were good friends and prayer partners. Of course they have moved on since then. Patricia and I were chatting once about a family I met when my family visited the hospital in the AUC area. We were invited home to dinner at a doctor's home. It was a large family, a little chaotic, and so very interesting (they ate plain yogurt on toast with jam --- we'd never heard of that before!). Patricia and I figured out who they were and thought it really cool that we both 'knew' someone from so long ago and far away. I'm glad to meet you Rhondi. I have followed your blog for awhile --- and enjoy it very much. Enjoy a lovely evening.