by Jeanne Adams
I got an invitation to a landmark reunion the other day. I knew, in a vague sort of way, that it was coming up. I knew, in a vague sort of way, that the years were passing. But jeez, there's all this family stuff, and work stuff, and writing stuff and blogging things to be done. How can it possibly have been SO many years since graduation??? Where does the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday that we....No? Hmmmmm.
I have to confess that my college days were not wild. Not by a long shot. (Kinda bummed about that, even now. Sigh.) I was very young when I went back home to North Carolina for college. Jail bait, in fact. My confidence was all in my academics rather than in my ability to socialize. I chose my college based on the fact that they gave me scholarships. I worked my way through school and got it over with, so to speak. As one of four kids, two of whom were also in college when I went in, money mattered.
So did size. (Snicker. Size always matters, you know?) I wasn't ready for a 30,000 student body kind of place. So I went for history and quality. :> I went to Mars Hill - yeah, yeah, I've heard ALL the planet jokes, since the next town over is Jupiter. Mars Hill College is a liberal arts college in Western North Carolina, established in 1856. Fabulous place, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but where I saw the Moscow Symphony, the Vienna Boys Choir, the fabulous acrobatic group Mumenshanz (http://www.mummenschanz.com/), and a variety of groups from China, India, Taiwan, and so forth. Mars Hill has a fabulous music department so I heard wonderful musicians from all over the world, and from all over the United States.
Mars Hill is also the home of the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival (http://lunsfordfestival.com/) now in its 40th year. It's one of the foremost bluegrass festivals in the US, honoring the "Minstrel of the Appalachians." Wonderful music from men, women and children of all ages, races, and persuasions performing, jamming and generally filling the mountain air with a magical, powerful reason to remember the old music and to sing and dance. (Think O Brother Where Art Thou, and the Down from the Mountain tour)
Although dedicated, Mars Hill's not a huge sports school. However, it's clogging team has performed around the globe. It turns out business majors who've become CEO's, ministerial students who've taken churches from small to mega-church status, and turned out some pretty decent citizens, present company hopefully included.
But Mars Hill is small. It's idyllic in some ways. It's like going back to Dirty Dancing's mountain set and living there for four years. (In fact Dirty Dancing was filmed about an hour south in Lake Lure. Gorgeous! Check it out at: http://rumblingbald.com/LakeLure/index.aspx)
I loved living there. All these years later, I still miss seeing the mist on the mountains in the morning. I miss seeing the colors of fall sweep down the hills or seeing snow dust the peaks even as the "fireworks of fall" flood the valleys with reds and golds. I love going "home" to Mars Hill. Corny as it is, I'm an Alumni with a capital A, who tries to support my school even from afar.
That said, I'm a totally different woman than the callow girl who picked up her diploma, turned her tassel, and grinned for the camera posed between equally grinning parents. To paraphrase a Dr. Suess title, Oh! The Places I've Gone! There have been a lot of changes in these intervening years. The organizers of the reunion were social even back in our college days. They don't remember me that way, if they remember me at all. (I suspect a quick look-up in the Yearbook was called for when I contacted those in charge of the event!) I'm incredibly social now. It'll be interesting to see how THEY react to the twenty-first century ME! Ha!
So, tell all. Where did you got to school? Did you love it or hate it?
Have you gone back to a high school, college, uni, or prep school reunion? How was it?
Were you a party girl/guy, a loner, a geek, a Greek or did you put your head down and get through it?
If you were to go back today, with all you've done and all you've learned, would your college pals recognize the "new you"?
Just for fun...what's your team's mascot? Mars Hill is the Lions, which always cracked me up, given that it's a Christian school...