Tag Archives: college reunion

There’s Nothing Like a Reunion

31 May

The University of Oregon is the only university whose mascot is a Disney character. Legend has it that a couple decades ago Disney got cross about it and said that the U of O couldn’t keep using the duck. They went to the archives and found a snapshot of the then president of the university shaking hands with Walt Disney himself – and that was the proof that he had agreed to the mascot’s use. I must say, I prefer the U of O duck over any other Disney character! GO DUCKS!

I am in SLC, fresh from EUG, heading to MSP and ultimately FSD.

Yes, I’m traveling. Alone, this time. No kids to keep an eye on, no dollies in tow, no Dora-the-Explorer suitcase trundling along behind my curly-headed child, stuffed with drawing paper and pencils and toys and snacks and used Kleenex.

It’s quite nice to be alone.

It’s also a little bit lonely.

The U of O campus.

I’ve been in Eugene, Oregon for a friend’s wedding. The wedding was lovely – outdoors, not too big, not too long, delicious cake. My friend and her smiling husband drove away in a 1947 (or was it ’48?!) fire engine and it was cute, quaint, and perfect.

The happy couple.

But Eugene held more than my dear friend’s wedding – it held family, friends, and innumerable memories.

It was 20 years ago exactly that I graduated from the University of Oregon. I’d been back to Eugene once, five years ago, but that was just for 36 hours and I was too distracted to spend much time on campus. This time I was able to walk around leisurely, gaze at the new buildings and old, and enjoy the atmosphere. I didn’t feel 18 again – no, the gray in my hair doesn’t allow for that fantasy – but I enjoyed myself immensely…perhaps BECAUSE I didn’t have to rush back to my dorm room and cram for a final exam.

My old dorm!

There’s nothing like a reunion – with old places or old friends or family. I was able to see many family members who graciously drove down from Washington to see me, and I met my new great-niece. She is, of course, adorable. I also saw my Eugene relatives and I had the privilege of staying with my aunt, which felt like coming home as I spent a lot of time with them over my college years. I think that I spent every single weekend at her house for at least the first 6 weeks of my freshman year. Mom and Dad were still in Germany, so my aunt’s home was a gift for a homesick kid.

I LOVE the rhododendrons and azaleas that abound in Eugene. I tried to grow one here in MN…it failed.

I also saw many college friends – some of whom I hadn’t seen in two decades – and was reminded of their quirks, their ways of speaking, their wonderful laughs. We sat outside at a restaurant along the Willamette River watching ospreys, river rafters and each other. I am so glad to know these people.

The Willamette River in Eugene, OR

Now I have to return to reality. To dirty clothes and dirty dishes. To unread piles of mail and a garden that has yet to be planted. To irritable kids and sticky kisses.

I’m ready to be back. Bring it on.

If you ever watched the movie Animal House…this is where it was filmed, at the University of Oregon. (Not that I’d necessarily recommend it as a movie!) Food fight, anyone?

The Matthew Knight Arena – just built within the last couple years. Phil Knight – a U of O grad and of Nike fame – gave the money for the arena in memory of his son who passed away.

%d bloggers like this: