Monday, May 24, 2010

The Committee for a National Mountain Day

I was a giant goober this weekend.

I drove to Massachusetts for my 15th reunion at Mount Holyoke College and cried.

A lot.

I cried driving on to campus, I cried during the Laurel Parade, I cried driving home from campus, and even memorialized my shnuffles at one point on the love of my life's voicemail.

It is amazing how four years out of 37 can define you.

For many people the decision to attend college is intense. For a lucky segment of the population attending college is a given.

Whichever group you were in, chances are you spent a great deal of your high school years contemplating college and its myriad possibilities.

Admittedly, an all female college experience is a hard sell to the average hormonal teenage girl.

As I roamed campus this weekend, contemplating the art museum, the athletic awards, the faculty and innovative curriculum, I thought back to the point in high school when I made my decision to attend MHC.

My mother being of the era when women's colleges were the norm, was the one who introduced me to them - I actually think my best college interview hands down was at Wellesley. Mom even sent me on a prospective visit to Smith.

But Mount Holyoke wasn't on the radar screen. Something about her childhood chum Lou getting sent home from MHC for being scathingly unprepared in the art of constructing a good sentence had scared the bejeezus out of her. A cautionary tale oft repeated to me throughout my four years at MHC. I kid you not, on graduation day Momgoose let out a deep breath and said thank god they did not send you home like Lou!

The schools were nice, I liked New England and could care less by the women only thing - however I remained ambivalent.

But on that fateful prospective weekend at Smith my junior year of high school, I toodled over to visit my godsister at Mount Holyoke. We strolled across the campus chatting and eventually arrived at a waterfall.

Thirty-six hours later I arrived home to my mother's anxious inquiry - Did you just love Smith??

Actually no! I said. However, Mount Holyoke is the best school in the world! Did you know they have two waterfalls??

The best decision I have ever made was because of a waterfall.

I had no idea that I would meet the smartest, craziest, caring, uncommon women who would challenge me, love me, school me and accept me.

Whether we chose Mount Holyoke for its curriculum, riding or crew, the arts program, or because it had a waterfall - we came together and made a home.

And in the immortal words of L. Frank Baum -- There is no place like home.

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