Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Slice of Life -- week of April 21


My youngest daugher, C, and I went on her first college visit last Wednesday. We were going to visit Miami University, the same school I called home for 4 years of my young adult life. As we approached the campus, I got a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Would this be the same campus I left 31 years ago, or would everything be changed beyond recognition?

There are many hilly country roads that lead to Oxford, Ohio, home of Miami U. As we crested the last hill, I got my first view of the campus as it is today. I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Even though over 3 decades had passed, my beloved red brick campus with lots of green space was still there.

C and I (ok, it was me!) had incorrectly alloted the time for the trip, so we had three hours on our hands to kill before our 2:00 appointment and tour of campus. No problem -- after 31 years, this might be C's college visit, but there was lots I wanted to see and share with her!!

We started by driving around the campus. With each new street, millions of memories came flooding back. The dorm I stayed in with a family friend when I was a high school senior. Emerson, my freshman dorm where I had a crazy roommate who moved out and then I moved to the basement level where I had many good friends. Springtime, and laying out on the "Emerson Beach" in nice weather. Flowers - the dorm I lived in as a sophomore on the end of campus where I was close to one of the fraternity rows and the dining hall that housed training tables for all athletes. (At this point in the tour, C says to me, "We wouldn't have been friends. You focused too much on boys.") Richards -- the dorm I lived in junior year with my friend, Lisa (still an integral part of our family even today!). We moved to that quad to be closer to the dorm our sorority suite was in (no sorority houses at Miami). MacCracken -- the dorm I lived in senior year - yes, I lived in a dorm all 4 years / apartment life seemed too real-life for me. The Res -- only now they call it the Shriver Center (named after the President of Miami when I was there). McGuffey Hall -- the education building where I spent most of my last three years. King Library -- only now it has a coffee shop downstairs -- a true sign of the times.

We then looked for the parking lot that our map assured us was there. It's a good thing there's a sign by the street that says "Parking Garage" because, in keeping with the Georgian red brick feel of Miami, the garage looks just like any other building on campus, complete with windows. They really made sure it blended in with its surroundings. We parked the car, and then walked "uptown" -- translated, that means we walked up the street into the small town of Oxford.

I was delighted to see that Oxford hadn't lost any of its charm, either. The town square is still there, though it has been rehabbed and is more beautiful than I remember. On one side of the square, the same barber shop that was there when I attended Miami. Same college bookstore and same movie theater (only they moved the marquee from the side street to the main street). The dining establishments have completely changed since I was there, but there was a lot available for both the people of the town as well as the college students. Townspeople and college students alike, strolling the sidewalks of Oxford -- what great memories that brought back!

But, no matter where we went or what we did for the rest of the day, the essence of what Miami is still lives on 31 years after I graduated. Even with all the new athletic facilities, fabulous state of the art rec center, ice hockey arena, dorms, educational buildings, and bus systems, it still "felt" the same. It was the equivalent, for me, of being in a time warp.

However, I know it's now 2008, and not 1977 -- this is C's time. I wonder if she feels the magnetic pull of Miami the same way I do even now.

For more slices, head on over to Two Writing Teachers.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting how memories are still there, just beneath the surface, and your visit with your daughter draws them out.
    I like how you end it -- reality check.
    But still, it's a nice way to feel closer to your daughter and your younger self.
    Kevin

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  2. I almost went to school at Miami of Ohio. Wow! Reading your slice made me feel like I was back amongst the Georgian Architecture! THANKS!

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  3. Karen,
    It's so cool to be able to pass your passion along and return to a place you loved.
    Returning is such a powerful experience. I felt that same emotion when I returned to my college campus. I was back again as I traveled back with you.
    Great way to begin the day,
    Thanks
    Bonnie

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  4. Ok...I can't help but chime in too because I went to Miami as well Karen. I too lived in Emerson (in the quad) and then Richards as a sophomore. These were some of my favorite years. How exciting to share your memories with C. Enjoy your college shopping and go Redskins, whoops I mean Readhawks.

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  5. How nice that you were able to share this with your daughter ... and how nice that Miami stayed pretty much the same. That's pretty rare!

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  6. I also have memories of taking my oldest daughter, Ali, to Oregon State University for her first tour of the campus. Graduating from OSU 22 years before taking Ali for that visit, I just kept thinking the word "Dejavu." It was a surreal experience. I never thought that Ali would want to go to the same college that her Dad and I attended 22 years before. Ali was a fourth generation family member to attend OSU. I'm sure she will eventually find some of that first generation scrapbook treasures in my "special box room."

    College is a crazy, wonderful time in life with the most important thing to learn - the joy of lifelong learning!

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