Last week was all about reunions for me. In fact I had 4 very different reunions and each has impacted me in a meaningful way.
The first reunion was my 30th college reunion. Mt. Holyoke College has played a huge role in my life - first as my alma mater but beyond that my ongoing engagement with the College has given me many things - an amazing network of friends around the country, some of my very best friends ever and tremendous life experiences. My engagement with the College since graduation has always had to do with the Alumnae Clubs - I've actually been a club officer in Rochester NY, Lancaster PA, Dallas TX and here in Silicon Valley where I played many roles including Club President. In each place my fellow MHCers have been a joy and delight. The clubs activities over the years have ranged from book groups, parties, adventures (eco-touring the Elkhorn Slough), volunteering for Second Harvest Food Bank and crafts (who will forget the afternoon spent making candles on Anne Raphael's deck while looking at a spectacular view of the Valley?). My goal was always to help as many ways as I could and connect in a meaningful way with people. Yet, I never really connected with my class. That changed this year. I was asked to become my class president and was given a loyalty award - these two factors drove me to wing my way to the east coast and spend three days back at MHC.
Reunion was fantastic - I reconnected with some old friends who I have literally not seen in 30 years, and made new friends as well. I got to try out the bed in a college dorm room - an experience my back is still working to forget - and the showers in the newest dorm on campus which were so small we determined they were eco friendly because who would willingly spend more than three minutes in the tiny spaces. I got to hear about the road not traveled from an old friend who actually went to grad school to study genetic counseling which had been my original plan senior year and to learn that many women are facing all kinds of life transitions. I also got to see two of my favorite professors who were at the biology department party - Jeff Knight and Kay Holt were two of my favorite people in College and I was thrilled to see them both happy and healthy.
I am so glad that I went and spent time with so many amazing people. And yes I did party - if you can call singing Paradise at the Dashboard Light at the top of my lungs on a deck overlooking Lower Lake partying - well we did party on. The dancing was great to watch and the joy everyone felt was terrific.
My second reunion was with my nephew - James - who I was lucky enough to spend time with on both Friday afternoon and Sunday for the day. My nephew was graduating from Amherst College the following weekend but I was lucky enough to have leisurely uninterrupted time with him. I'm so proud of how he has grown up and become just an amazing person. Hard to believe that 30 years ago I was in his shoes, graduating and wondering what would happen next. I wouldn't have believed anyone if they told me.
My third reunion was with my good friend Cori. Cori and I have known each other over ten years and she has been instrumental in every major career decision I've made during that time. She has helped me with my job searches, her expertise is career counseling, and she has taught me how to help others. And now we're looking at ways we can work together as she moves on to a major new role. And she was kind enough to offer me a place to sleep the night before I headed home - even though she was in the midst of packing. Her dog Toby was a delight (very much like my Bizz) and we spent a wonderful morning talking and planning and laughing.
My fourth reunion was of course with my Bizz. This trip was the first time Bizz and I had been apart since I adopted him. His Aunt Marina came to stay but I could tell he knew I was leaving. His morning walk before we went to the airport was an exercise in frustration - he just wouldn't walk. He knew why I was in a rush and was not planning to help. Marina took this photo of him when she got back from the airport.
So of course I fretted while I was gone. The report was he spent the first two days looking for me then he settled down and hung with Marina, even sleeping on her bed. My landlords said he was the same old Bizz but just not as bubbly as he normally is. So when traveling home Marina asked if I wanted her to bring Bizz to the airport. I said yes. When they came to get me she jumped out to open the back. I walked up to the window of the back seat. Bizz was lying down facing away from me and I tapped on the window. He looked back and then did a double take. In a moment he was on his feet and I was trying to open the door but it was locked. When she unlocked it Bizz flew into my arms and there he stayed for the whole ride home. I was so happy to see him and he was happy to see me. I came down with a cold two days later and spent the long weekend in bed or on the couch napping. And Bizz was never far from me. We were very happy to be reunited. As I type this he is lying quite happily on one of his many beds next to me. So I think I can say I am 4 for 4 on my reunions being happy ones.
Here is Bizz back on my bed with his posse of Squeakers around him. My only question these days is - where am I going to sleep?