In just a few days I’ll be attending my 25th college reunion. (I’m shaking my head in disbelief as I write that.)
I love everything about reunion. Seeing old friends, celebrating time-honored traditions, and revisiting the buildings and classrooms that were so much a part of those formative years.
But the highlight of the entire experience is the Alumnae Parade.
Everyone attending reunion lines up along the parade route by their class year, the oldest classes in the lead. At the very front of that massive throng of women are a couple of old, black Ford Model Ts. And in the rumble seats of those vintage cars are the very oldest reunion-goers—women in their mid to late 90s. Occasionally a blessed centenarian. They wear scarves, hats, and sunglasses in their class colors. They wave enthusiastically. They make me smile and tear up simultaneously.
These are women who have lived so much life. They have been the new wife, the new mother, the boo boo mender of broken skin and broken hearts (both their own and others). The CEO, the cheerleader, the champion of causes big and small. The chauffeur and the driving instructor. They have battled chronic illness and traveled the long and twisty road back to health. They have buried loved ones and cradled babies in their capable arms.
I want to be these women one day. I want to sit in that rumble seat with my new best friends (because who has time for casual acquaintances). I want to look behind me at the hundreds of women literally following in the treads of my antique tires, women who are still very much in the trenches. And I want them to know that I understand. I. Get. It. I too have been all the things.
Not now. But one day (god willing) it will be my time. For one brief moment, before it’s too late, I will tell that nice gentleman behind the steering wheel to put the pedal to the metal. I’ll feel the wind in my grey hair. I’ll grab hands with my new best friends, turn my face to the sun, and shout “Look at us go!”
Photo credit: Wellesley College