more from Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss

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There was a place for him on this earth, he knew then.

A place where learning was paramount and strange viewpoints were encouraged; a place where one’s worth was measured by their ideas rather than height (or ear size); a place where parents didn’t putter and pout and drink until one of them hit the other one, where showers and meals were communal, where brunette women wore their hair short, where good boys were made into great men, where golden lights lit pathways to truth, and where acceptance happened before you even arrived… and that place was college. p21

We met up with T for Thanksgiving. He arrived on Tuesday and M &I made our way down to Massachusetts on Wednesday. The rest of the family came on Thursday morning, greeted by the smells of a cooking turkey and hugs all around.

The day was as good as it gets. The Macy’s parade on the television, followed by the dog show, a delicious meal, then dessert and time spent poring over old photo albums. I got to walk the new puppy and finished knitting a baby sweater—it was everything I wanted and more.

On Saturday we were packing to go home and drop T off back at school. By this point his throat was scratchy and he was taking medicine to stave off the cold that was inevitable. Standing by the cars he took my hand and said “I do not like it Sam I am.” I wasn’t sure if he meant getting sick, or heading back to school, or the deadline for European history paper that was looming large. Still, it touched me that he would recite Dr. Seuss when he was feeling so low.

I remember my own first Thanksgiving break, my roommate took me home with her. I was supposed to have gone back to the dorms on Friday, but instead I stayed hidden in my friend’s bedroom. She smuggled me food while I read and slept, trying to stay hidden from her family. The next morning I crawled out of her window and into her car. We drove back to school together, bonded in that magical way that can only happen at college.

Even though we hadn’t been gone more than a few days, driving back to campus felt like we truly belonged. I started to see the dorms and classrooms in a different light. College wasn’t the place I was breaking from, it was the place I was heading towards. That was a turning point for me, the fork from which everything else has followed.

T comes home for winter break in two weeks. He’ll be here for about a month, and I hope it won’t be too long for him. I know he’ll be happy to see his high school friends and hear all about their first semester adventures. But we can’t compare with the big city, and dial-up is just too slow when you’re college freshman used to the lightning speed of WiFi. I imagine when he gets back to his dorm he’ll breath a sigh of relief and sink down into the push-me pull-you world of being a freshman.

 

 

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