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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Past Arrives

Abbey Chapel, Mount Holyoke College

I heard from the past today. My friend, Dorothy, from college called.  In retrospect, it is kind of amazing that I had a friend in college. Seven of the eight semesters that I spent at Mount Holyoke College, I lived off-campus. For a campus that was almost entirely residential, these living arrangements did not foster a lot of close college friendships.  I had numerous situational friends, but only two close, enduring friends. That number divided neatly in half when, years later, I found out that one of my “friends” tried to put the moves on my live-in boyfriend (who confided this to me before we married).  Dorothy forged a bond over nothing less than Statistics.  She came over the mountain from Amherst College to take advantage of this Five College consortium offering. A class of infinite boredom passed entirely around a rather large conference table. We passed notes through the long hours it took to wind our way through formulas and word problems.  At the end of a mathematically trying course, we were friends.  Nearly six years later, on my wedding day, she could not attend, but she faithfully sent me a dozen roses.  Our friendship endured.  We have remained steadfast about writing our Christmas cards to each other. Often months, late. Some years, merely signed, but my friend’s cards are spectacular Hollywood spectacles of witty family portraiture.  Mine might just as well be printed at Walmart or picked up at T.J. Maxx at an after-Christmas sale.  Her annual cards feature the entire three or four generations of living progeny of her husband’s clan posed and photographed against a timely and popular backdrop. However, the times we talk, whether it is every six years or six months, the dialogue picks up like we saw each other at school last week. I am reminded anew of her intelligence, her curiosity, her imagination and her kick-ass skills as a mother, a daughter, a sister and a wife. If the past has to catch up with me, I think that Dorothy is one pretty sweet act.

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