Curiosity: forget “Cherchez la femme” (Look for the woman.) “Cherchez l’histoire.” (Look for the story.)
I doubt that I shall celebrate a fiftieth wedding anniversary. In a way, I’m getting close: 32 years before being widowed, plus 14 years with Gary equals 46. There’s no question, however, that it’s been half a century since I graduated from college. I am a “Garnet Sage.”
This sounds like an oxymoron or some sort of vision problem like red/green color deficiency. But garnet is the school color–and one of my favorites: beautiful, deep red. ‘Sage’ has several definitions: a greyish shade of green, an herb used to season poultry, a person of great wisdom. The definition I like best and the one that seems to suit our reunion is ‘a greyish shade of green.” Swarthmore campus is an arboretum studded with grey buildings dating back to 1864, 100 years before we graduated. Buildings are grey, our hair is now grey, but everything else on campus, including the view from my ground floor dorm room, reeked green.
There were 225 in our graduating class, 32 are no longer with us. Of the remaining 193, nearly 90 attended this reunion, including several who returned for the first time. Small, yes. Elite, probably yes, also. However, Swarthmore is one of the few colleges offering need-blind admission: if you qualify and your parents cannot afford tuition, room and board, the College will grant you a scholarship. Both my grandsons (ages 12 and 9) say they would like to go to Swarthmore.
Reunion energy level was Green: Green in terms of ecological awareness and Green in terms of attitude, activities and interests.
Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Jed Rakoff, who appears regularly in the pages of the New York Times and the Economist, trying to rein in misguided actions of the SEC, is a classmate.Co-chair of our reunion, with his usual levity, he delivered the collection address in the amphitheater on Saturday morning.
In various combinations and permutations, our class consists of teachers, social workers, political activists, gardeners, lawyers, judges, engineers, scientists, mathematicians, poets, artists, peace corps volunteers, writers, doctors, dancers, journalists, inventors, business managers, entrepreneurs, truck drivers, non-profit directors, bankers, musicians, professors, actors, cab drivers, counselors, psychologists, IT specialists, librarians, financial advisors, union organizers and real estate brokers. No, I didn’t see and speak to every one, but I re-connected with many whom I haven’t talked to for half a century.
There were classic Adirondack chairs on Parrish lawn fifty years ago. And they’re still there, now accompanied by a giant play sculpture of an Adirondack chair.
I’ve been Class Secretary for a while–which means that twice a year I pester everyone for whom I have an email address to send bits of news for an 800-word column in the Alumni Magazine. And, because of that, I was asked to be part of the Yearbook Committee for this reunion. And, because of that, I was asked to moderate one of the panel discussions.
This is the real lesson: I’ve been involved and it’s been fun.