I Survived Princeton Reunions 2009

We got back last Sunday from a great little break from parenthood.  Kevin's mom and stepdad came and stayed with Charlotte while we drove up to Philadelphia for a couple of days, then went on to Princeton for Kevin's 15th reunion.  Philadelphia was spectacular, barring the several hundred middle school kids with whom we shared the city. You could smell the insecurity.  There was also the very frightening guide at Christ Church who very sternly told us and a bunch of the school children that we ARE the Founding Fathers and this is OUR Revolution (I'd say we are in big trouble if that is true).    But we did our best to ignore the preteen spirit and saw all the historical sites, stayed in a gorgeous hotel, and even ran up the Art Museum steps like Rocky.  It was awesome.

This sign was probably my favorite thing in Philly, at the Liberty Bell.  I just think it's so helpful when historical sites make provisions for those with uncontrollable compulsions.
Then we went to Princeton.  Historical context: Princeton reunions are an absurdly big deal.   Every 5th year class (i.e. 50th reunion, 45th, 40th, and so on) has its own courtyard where there is music, food, and massive quantities of alcohol.  Then the capper is the "P-rade" in which everyone lines a long parade route, and each class, starting with the oldest, falls in with a float of some kind, and everyone wears a like-themed costume (this year for Kevin's class it was "Smells like 15 Spirit"/Grunge).  It takes like 5 years for everyone to parade past, and the ending is very anti-climactic. After waiting for so long for you class's turn to parade, you walk along the route for like 10 minutes and then spill out into a field where the university president and a few of her friends are sitting in a bleacher clapping for you. Then everyone goes back to the courtyard and drinks some more.

This was my second reunion.  The first one, 5 years ago, was made more wretched by my terrible attitude (and my terrible footwear).  In my defense, I was in the throes of rewriting my entire dissertation after one of my committee members decided it simply would not do two days before my scheduled defense. I also had no job.  So I was feeling a bit like a failure.  And when one is feeling like a failure, going to hang out with a bunch of drunken Ivy Leaguers probably isn't the best thing (it probably isn't the best thing just across the board, but especially not then).  To make matters worse, I wore uncomfortable shoes and didn't realize how much you have to walk at these things.  So there I was rejected, humiliated, not knowing anyone, not drunk, and hobbling around campus.  Needless to say, I was miserable and of course I had to make Kevin miserable, that really was not in doubt.  There's just no point to it otherwise.

This time, I was determined to not make Kevin miserable.  I wore comfy shoes.  I had an answer prepared when someone asked me where I went to college and why ("Po-dunk Baptist University.  Because I am only of average intelligence and prefer not to be too stimulated intellectually." Unfortunately, I never got to use it, as we talked mainly to people I had met before.)  And most importantly, I stayed focused on the fact that I was there WITHOUT A BABY.  I would almost enjoy spending a week in a concentration camp without a baby.  I still found the entire scene more than a little ridiculous, mystifying, and boring but whatever.

But I did get to see George Will in the flesh:
You can already tell these twin girls (daughters of one of Kevin's classmates) will make great Princetonians.

Here's good news: There is a policy on alcohol. And it includes a reference to diversity.  Good to know that all those people drunk out of their minds are being multicultural. 

The best part of the P-rade: Seeing the oldest living alumni.  This guy is class of 1925, so unless he was very precocious, he's around 106 years old. Awesome.


  1. So is there no personal responsibility required if you are in a homogeneous, monocultural community? Would following the law not be so important then?


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