People have told me, “The friends you make in college are the friends you have for life.” Boy, has that been true for me!
Because Paul and I live so far from where we went to college, we don’t get to see our college friends very often. Once we stopped going to weddings every summer, we realized that we missed seeing our friends, so I decided to organize an annual reunion for all of us to get together. My dad also went to Taylor, and I have memories of driving up to Indiana every summer to see his college friends. I’ve been inspired to do the same. Most of our friends also lived in the same dorm (Gerig Hall) as us – in fact, there are only a few non-Taylor spouses.
The past 3 years we’ve gone camping, but this year I was able to arrange it so we were able to stay in Gerig Hall! We all got together this past weekend, and had SO much fun! We will definitely do it there again (but not every year because it is a little expensive). It was amazing how much little things took me back – as if I had never left. Everything just seemed so right. While I know that we always need to move on, I really miss those college days!
We all met in Gerig Hall lounge on Friday afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because my contact at Taylor wasn’t very good at answering my questions, but I was really pleased with everything. Paul and I got to Taylor a bit early and went to the library where I used to work. We spent some time talking with the staff there, introducing them to Savannah. I was hoping to also go by the bookstore, but we ended up not having enough time (which was probably just as well for our pocketbooks!). We went over to Gerig and picked up our keys, then walked around the dorm to see what had changed. Not much – they did add a sprinkler system which meant exposed pipes all through the hallways and suites, and looked weird to me!
People started arriving an hour later and I got really excited! We decided to all go to a local restaurant and ice cream place for dinner – Ivanhoe’s. My excitement grew even more when Joanna casually told me that she was expecting a baby! Yeah I think I was bouncing off the walls at this point! We had a wonderful dinner, even though it was really crowded. Afterward, we went back to Gerig and hung out in the lounge.
A group (including Paul, but not me) went on an IHOP run on Saturday morning, which was about 7 hours later than the normal IHOP runs in college, but I guess we’re old and used to normal mealtimes now. Meanwhile, Tree and I took a walk around campus trying to get our babies (Timmy and Savannah) to sleep – with all the commotion and activity, morning naps were just not happening! The past 3 years we’ve had two kids, but this year we had 6! This is the first year Tree and her family were able to come (they planned their visit to the States so they would be able to attend the reunion), and we had a total of THREE babies born last summer! In fact, last summer Beth was 39 weeks pregnant and I was 28 weeks pregnant during the reunion. I interrupt this narrative with a belly shot from last year:
We were supposed to eat lunch on Saturday at the dining commons where we shared so many meals during our college years, but a few days before the reunion I found out the dining commons were closed for renovations. They were still serving meals, but the choices were minimal and it would definitely not be the same experience that we had while in college. I decided instead just to get pizza for everyone, which I think worked out pretty well. We enjoyed pizza together and then headed off to the lake for the afternoon.
We were at the lake for the majority of the afternoon and evening on Saturday. I think for most of us, we spent more time at the lake this weekend than we had the whole time we were students there! The kids loved playing in the water. I unfortunately had forgotten my suit, so I couldn’t get in the water, but Savannah had a blast splashing (as normal). A few people also took advantage of the canoes and pedal boats that were available.
Then I realized that Paul had just been feeding Savannah the mulberries! My fear quickly dissipated and I laughed with everyone else. I think Savannah enjoyed her snack!
That evening, we were supposed to have a bonfire, but the clouds were threatening in the sky. We opted just to light the grill instead and have our cookout before the rain came. We had a lovely cookout together, and just as we finished, the storm moved in quickly. I have never seen a group move so fast to get everything cleaned up and get back to the dorm before it started pouring! We made it just in time, too.
That evening, we pulled out the games and hung out in the lounge. It was so much fun, and when I wandered around the lounge it felt like no time had passed at all. I was reminded of the many, many late nights where I’d walk that same path, and hear the same sounds – nighttime chatter of people hanging out in the lounge, laughter from certain people, silliness as it got later and we all got tireder.
We rounded up enough people to have a rousing game of Mafia (description and rules here, for those who are unfortunate not to be familiar with such an awesome game!). Mafia is special to me because that’s how I first met a lot of the people I am now so close to. I remember first meeting Tree from playing Mafia with her – “And the Gerig is hanging from Gerig!” And most importantly, Paul – “I’m not Mafia – I don’t have a beard anymore!” Frankie did a great job as the narrator, and I think all of us had a great time.
As people went to bed, a few of us stayed up late talking. I think I went to bed around 4am! Ah, just like college. (And when Savannah woke me up at 8:30, it was just like me having to get up for class!) Before we went to bed that night, we went through the lounge, cleaning up and turning off lights. How often did we do that when we lived there?
The next morning (Sunday), we packed up and started heading out. It was sad to see the weekend ending. I convinced a few people to join us at Frankie’s house nearby, where we had lunch and swam in their pool. I was able to borrow a suit and get in the pool with Savannah, which she loved (of course). It was a great way to wind down the weekend. We then said our goodbyes and drove about an hour south to Indianapolis, where we stayed the night with Paul’s best friend and college roommate, Isaac, and his wife. We had a delightful evening with them, and the next morning we drove home. It took us 10 1/2 hours, which was an hour better than the drive up. (We got caught in Bonnaroo traffic on the way up the previous Thursday – note to self, whenever traveling I-24 in June, always check to see if Bonnaroo is that weekend! If so, take a different route to Indiana!)
I can’t wait until next year’s reunion. I am so glad to know these awesome people, and I’m so grateful that they all make the effort to come! I value their friendships so much. It’s definitely the recharge I needed this summer… Too bad they all live so far away that I only get to see them once a year!