never came to a Skidmore reunion until my fifteenth. I thought there were good reasons not to. The fifth reunion seemed too soon. By the tenth, I was immersed in diapers and all the other paraphernalia of parenthood, and it just seemed too much of a hassle to travel.
But the real reason, I think, is that I was worried. Worried that my friends wouldn't show up too. Worse, worried that the people who would come were those who were not my friends when I was a student. If that happened, who would I talk to? What if I had a bad time?
So I ignored the whole reunion thing. Until my fifteenth, when some friends and I decided we wanted to attend and promised each other we’d all show up. So on the appointed weekend, I left my young children in the care of my husband and my Skidmore roommate’s husband, and I drove to Saratoga Springs.
As I drove onto campus, the most amazing thing happened: tears started flowing down my cheeks. I realized at that moment just how much I had missed Skidmore and how much it meant to me. Then I checked in at Case Center, and the first person I saw was my dear friend Izzy, whom I hadn't seen since graduation. “A terrific beginning!” I thought.
And it just got better. Our smallish group included people I hadn’t thought of as friends when I was at Skidmore; indeed some were people I thought I really hadn’t cared for. But I found they had changed. Or, really, what I found was that I had changed. That group of people—friends, not friends in the past, now friends for the future—formed a new community in my life. It had actually been there all along, but I had never noticed it.
We had become a community—the class of 1967 and the larger Skidmore community—almost from the day we set foot on campus. We had shared John Kennedy’s assassination. We had mourned President Val Wilson and welcomed Joe Palamountain as our new president. We had worn our mandatory skirts to dinner (typically jeans skirts that grew increasingly ragged over our four years). We did our “community service” of serving dinner for two semesters. We chose new rooms each year, trying our best to get our friends together in the next year’s dorm. And we wrote papers, wrote senior theses, took comprehensive exams. We were the first class to graduate at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
It was all these things, the momentous and the mundane, that formed our community. And it was this community that I rediscovered at Reunion.
I swore after attending my fifteenth reunion that I would never miss another.