My college reunion was not at all what I expected.
Dani Klein Modisett: "New Hampshire looks like Middle Earth, so keep your eyes open for Hobbits," my husband tells my 6-year-old as we head north on Rte 284 to my college reunion. Neither of us can believe we are heading back to Hanover with a spouse and two children.
I figure since he graduated a decade after me, it must be even more shocking for him. Not to mention the very sad truth that he was a sophomore there when he received a phone call telling him his mother had unexpectedly passed away. It's also the place where I lost my virginity. Calling this trip emotionally loaded is like saying Dunkin' Donuts sells a few donuts. I have Dunkin' Donuts on the brain because I have never seen so many of these stores in my life, and given my anxiety about seeing people I haven't been face-to-face with in 25 years, it's taking most of my concentration not to eat a half dozen glazed at every rest stop.
Like most feelings I experience as a forty-something woman, the ones I was having anticipating this trip were complicated. Despite the idyllic setting, I was a mostly unhappy undergrad. I was always desperate to star in the latest Chekhov or Shakespeare production, but was often relegated to "Servant Girl" or "Handmaiden #3." To distract myself from disappointment, I had a lot of boyfriends. Dartmouth had a year-round calendar, with each semester lasting three months -- my exact attention span for college boys. I wasn't a slut, per se ... but as we pulled up to school and I started waving at vaguely familiar faces, I had a flash of people getting drunk later that night and regaling my husband with tales of my promiscuity. Ha. Ha.
No one did that. People were downright respectful! In truth, most of my expectations about this trip were wrong. First of all, no one had gone to seed. Where were the fat, pasty bald people who would make flying 3,000 miles worth the effort? You know, so I could feel comparatively great about myself. They must have stayed home. "What's up with how good everyone looks?" I whispered to my freshman year roommate, drinking white wine out of a plastic cup like no time had passed.
"Well," she answered, "it's not like they haven't been prepping for this." Oh, right. Just because I forgot to lose ten pounds and get stuck with Botox needles for the big weekend doesn't mean my classmates hadn't. Equally surprising was the number of divorced people. I always joke that a perk of marrying so late in life is that I missed my first divorce (or two). Clearly, that's no joke. I was also secretly looking forward to lots of drunken random make-out sessions and tearful monologues full of regret, but I didn't witness any of that.
Maybe 25 years later, with all life has dealt us, we were all just too tired to make fools of ourselves. Bummer.
|Dani Klein Modisett is the mother of 2-year-old Gideon (pictured) and 6-year-old Gabriel. She is comedy writer/creator/producer of the show "Afterbirth...stories you won't read in Parents magazine." An anthology of stories from this show, published by St. Martin's Press, is now in stores everywhere.|