Last week, Cute W and I went to our 30th reunion at Grinnell College. For the 20 years between our 5th reunion and our 25th reunion, we barely visited the place. I think at some point we took a quick stop on campus so that the girls could see the place, and we climbed a tree. But that’s about it.
In contrast, we’ve become frequent visitors since the 25th reunion, dropping M off at college, visiting to see soccer games, and now the amazingly-quick milestone 30th reunion.
We had a fantastic time. There is a special kind of joy that can only be experienced by the miniscule fraction of the population that is a married couple who fell in love at a college they loved and get to hit a milestone reunion at the same time their kid is currently going to that college and loving it. It is truly great good fortune. M was done with her classes but hanging around campus before her summer job (she’s teaching English as a new language to kids for Americorps in Mankato, MN for the summer, living with her girlfriend who’s got an internship there as well). Many of M’s friends were working at reunion or on campus for one reason or another, so we got to see them all in a delightfully relaxed environment (as opposed to when they’re exhausted from a soccer game and have papers and exams looming). It was SO fun. They found it hilarious to recognize M’s mannerisms in the two of us, and of course we were acting more like college students than parents for reunion, so that was entirely delightful.
We also met a gentleman from the class of ’63 who regaled us with stories of Grinnell in Days of Yore, when men and women were housed on opposite sides of the campus with a brief coed “social time” from 4 to 5 pm (he said they learned to be quick!). Next reunion I’m going to spend more time chatting up random people, because it was a highlight.
Most of the photos I took were of people who probably don’t want to be on this site. But here are a few pictures. First, they’ve set aside various portions of the campus for native prairie plants, and it makes my native-plant-loving heart swell. The bees really like it, too.
When we first arrived at Grinnell as students, the college was in the middle of renovating the Alumni Recitation Hall, which was the main classroom building on campus. As a result, we had classes in all sorts of wacky places (fun fact: my only required class, where I happened to be placed with Cute W, was held in a dorm lounge where, 15 months later, Cute W and I paused from studying for finals to have a first kiss). For the rest of our college career, we loved the newly-renovated ARH.
Since then, they needed more space, and they created a big Humanities and Social Studies Center, AKA the HSSC, AKA “the husk.” They actually enclosed ARH into the bigger building and it seems crazy but I absolutely love it. It also means a lot more pleasant, sun-filled, climate controlled space, which is excellent for Iowa winters.
I took this picture at one point when Cute W and I had basically been napping on sofas in the Husk. Because we were tired. We did a lot of drinking and dancing. I used to love to spend two or three nights a week drinking and dancing, and for reunion, I was up ’til 1 am both Friday and Saturday night dancing. It is more exhausting than it used to be! When they were collecting post-reunion comments, someone suggested a massage room for the people who wanted to dance all night, but physically couldn’t manage it anymore. That was not my suggestion, because after dancing about three songs I became unbelievably sweaty (I thought I’d do better on Saturday, when the party was indoors instead of outdoors, but no luck). People would come up to me to hug me and I’d say, “I promise, you really don’t want to hug me,” and they would do it anyway, and I knew that they regretted it. That was my cross to bear for the weekend.
But yes, we had a ton of fun! At one point I took this photo:
because a bunch of us were sitting at a table and there were free cupcakes at a food truck and rows and rows of free wines and beers on a table, and every few minutes, someone new would arrive or return bearing as many cupcakes or cups of wine as they could carry, and everyone would give a little cheer.
And then, we go home, and I swear it took us several days to recover.