I turned onto the Roberts Wisconsin exit off I-94 yesterday while my daughter sang the thrift store song, something about twenty dollars in my pocket…and had flashbacks to an earlier time. Then, it wasn’t my daughter singing in the Volvo it was Marcia Libby, a college friend. She owned a car and while driving her old green Plymouth MOPAR Fury special packed with college kids coming from Ripon College, and it wasn’t twenty dollars in my pocket, she was singing something about not stopping this feeling anymore.
It was a day of then and now. Then 29 years ago. It was I that arrived for my first day of college and not my twin sons. That day, it was Scott Hall, first floor west and I unpacked my meager belongings, a house plant, and got ready for my education. This year it was two rooms on the second floor of Scott Hall, one with a guy from Santa Catalina Island in California, and another roommate from Florida when back in my day it was a guy from Illinois.
In the flashback to an earlier time and the small world, who do I run into but Marcia Libby’s little sister, the one that always looked longingly as we drove off to college from her place in Roberts. Now here with her own son, a college suite mate of my twin Allwin, herself and husband both graduates of Ripon in 1990, two years after her sister and I.
It was just like before. Pay the bill, get the mail, get college ID, get keys, and have that feeling you are lost and don’t know where to go. Then, I went to the Kmart to look for stuff I didn’t know I needed, this time we took the boys to Kmart to buy them stuff I knew they needed. The Kmart had move half a block but it was just like before.
This year, like the year before we attended the Matriculation Ceremony, where like today, in 1984, everything started. Then the Dean of Faculty gave a speech while I sat uneasy, both because I was scared of the future, but because I had met the Dean’s niece in a compromising situation as she answered a cabin door holding a Ripon College t-shirt (and nothing else) during the summer before college as I worked in the tax-assessor’s office as a summer job in Balsam Lake, WI. This sorority girl, was two years ahead of me at Ripon and like other upperclass women, ignored me like the idiot freshman I was, back then
This year, I sat watching my boys and still fearful of the future, theirs this time as the Dean of Faculty ( a different one) gave a short speech about being proud of your banner, and I guess doing your part to make your class great. We then sang the Ripon College school song. The only time before that we ever, or at least I ever heard that we even had a school song was when Al (Alwyn, coincidence that I had a twin with same first name ) Jarreau, jazz singer, multiple Grammy winner, sang the school song at my graduation. Then as now, it was more of a fumble through Alma Mater, for the rest of us since the Freshmen had never heard of it, either.
After a social at the President’s house, it was a sad goodbye this year as Lauren, younger sister was already missing her boys and during the thirty miles of tears made comments like “we won’t even find out for months after they die,” and other comments made in hysteria. Then it was my dad saying “Don’t worry mom, Olaf will be over here eating at the President’s house within the year, don’t worry about him.” I never found out if she cried on the way home, but I guess that is a private thing and my dad was wrong, it took my two years to get to the president’s house since we got a new president my sophomore year, and we both had the interest in birding.
Then, I was afraid of the women, this year, the boys were chatting already with a co-ed during the Matriculation ceremony…oh well, sort of like the old saying of not knowing what to do with one even if they caught one, I think still applies, but there is much to learn in college and dealing with the fairer sex is definitely one of them.
I almost ran into Michelle Wittler, Registrar and wife of one of the Biology Professors in 1984 by a garbage can and….this year, it was a different garbage can and again I almost ran in the her, everything is definitely old again, 29 years…..well it isn’t that long ago. I think she even made a comment about my hat in 1984 as she did yesterday.
My twins Tyko (Seth) and Allwin will do well I suspect at college, bright, handsome, and motivated but they will do what they will do and their future is theirs, all I can do is to motivate, pay the tuition bills and reminisce to my four years of college, couldn’t we all go back to college for at least a month knowing what we know now? Now that is something I want to do…maybe my next project, but I don’t remember college seniors looking so young, I remember them looking so mature…..but that was then and this is now….oh well….time waits for no man.
Good luck boys, even if you want to go and “pop some tags.”