Saturday, June 10, 2017

YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN by Rolynn Anderson

St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota; Lutheran affiliated; 3,000 students), was the site of my 50th reunion, June 1-4.  During the weekend, I hung around with people I always liked yet, except for a handful, have not talked to/seen since graduation.

I learned:
-Men were harder to recognize than my women friends; the Midwest is where the bulk of my classmates remain, so the dominant accent…think Fargo.  Yup!  Made me smile the whole weekend.
-I still like the people I enjoyed in 1963-1967
-I’m proud my class raised more than four million dollars for the St. Olaf endowment.  Here's the check

-My class was highly influenced by Viet Nam (many served; some died in the war; lots of us protested), Kennedy’s assassination, the rise of the Peace Corps, and the civil rights movement.  The majority of us went into social service careers.  One of my classmates still runs a center to assist victims of torture.
-Humor as well as spirituality lead in our personalities
-We celebrated vague memories, worthy, but elusive.  Details seemed less important than how we still feel about each other.
-The campus has expanded!  The bar where we drank as seniors disappeared!  Students pay $55,000 a year to attend; I paid $1900 a year!
-We like to sing, still; we’re not comfortable with rules.  I admit, I took a bottle of wine out of our dinner venue when I wasn’t allowed to…but it was almost full (I hate waste), and I took it off campus to enjoy with my friends J
-We lost 60 classmates (out of a class of 480).  The poignant remembrance service was a highlight of the weekend.  Here’s a shot of the chapel:

Here I am with friends:

Remember my goals for the reunion?  Here they are, with my conclusions:
1.  A reminder of who my classmates were and how far they’ve come
Oh my!  The class of ’67 accomplished amazing things, and some of my pals even made money!  Almost half of our class contributed to the St. Olaf endowment fund, raising more than four million dollars.
2.  To recall who I was back then and how far I’ve come.  I think I was the only ’67 grad who made it to the high school principal level…public schools.  I’m the only grad who writes suspense novels, deep into a new career.  
2.  A second reminder of the fun I had back then and the fun I’m still having (which is the truth).  I never got into bed before midnight each day…and we had lots to talk about/share.
3.  A couple new readers (I mean, come on, one of my books-Lie Catchers-is full of Norwegians!) The interest and support I got as an author brought tears to my eyes.  I had friends come to my book sale to support me…I have friends who can’t wait to read my stories.
4.  A good feeling about the aging/saging years.  When dozens of people said to me: “You haven’t changed a bit,” I concluded I hadn’t let my body go to pot.  Feeling active and youngish at a 50-year college reunion was a bonus for me.
5.  Recalling what special people I went to school with for four years (One of my roommates was a brilliant mezzo-soprano who sang operas in Germany!). My classmates are as active as I am in these later years.  One of my friends went to law school when she was middle-aged! My class is a fascinating group of accomplished people.
6.  Enjoying the three days for what they are, a time when a bunch of bright, successful, aging Scandinavians get together to share memories and sing old fight songs.  We sang, we laughed, we drank, and we told stories…and we look forward to the shining days we have ahead!

Here we are, carrying umbrellas on a 90 degree day, in the all-class procession.  Why we chose umbrellas for our class signature item is a mystery, but the shade they provided was perfect!

I’m already on Facebook with some of my old buddies, and I’ll try to keep in touch with others through e-mail.   All in all, an excellent adventure.

So here’s my golf/spelunking novel, BAD LIES

Italy’s haunted caves spell danger for an American golfer and a NATO geologist
Sophie Maxwell is a late-blooming, unorthodox golfer, and mother of a precocious thirteen year-old. Determined to put divorce, bankruptcy, and a penchant for gambling in her past, Sophie goes to Italy for a qualifying golf tournament.
Jack Walker turned his back on a pro golfing career to become a geologist. As a favor to his ailing father he’ll caddy for Sophie; off hours, he’ll find caves on the Mediterranean coast, suitable for NATO listening posts for terrorist activity.
Someone is determined to stop Jack’s underground hunt and ruin Sophie’s chances to win her tournament.
On a Rome golf course and in the Amalfi coast’s haunted caves, all the odds are stacked against Sophie and Jack.  In their gamble of a lifetime, who wins?

Seven Suspense Novels Spiked with Romance

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Diane Burton said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time, Rolynn. Love the pictures.

Angela Adams said...

Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Diane and Angela. An event about remembering worth remembering.

Margo Hoornstra said...

So glad you had a great time. The best part was looking to the future. Best of luck with the book full of Norwegians.

Andrea Downing said...

Rolynn, that's actually a very inspiring post. To think you lost 60 out of your class and what the remainder have accomplished with their lives leaves me in awe. So glad you went and enjoyed yourself. Now, have no fear for the 60th!

Brenda Whiteside said...

What a fun post. So glad you went.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Margo, I can't wait to hear what my college friends say about Lie Catchers. It's an Uff-da kind of novel.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Andi, thanks for the compliments about this post. Deciding to write about going to the reunion on June 1 and forcing myself to follow up with an evaluation here, on June 10, was good for me. I said this in this post: "We celebrated vague memories, worthy, but elusive. Details seemed less important than how we still feel about each other." Example...I was hurrying into the student commons while a classmate was leaving the building. We knew each other immediately, but couldn't remember the context. She said: "We did something good together...I spotted you across the room last night and seeing you put a smile on my face." I felt the same way about my seeing her. Similar is my stint as a teacher and principal-I hope I left a legacy of positive interactions.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, I made a quick count of the people I had a chance to catch up with. 40. Not bad, huh? I sent pictures out to a dozen already, and have heard back from most!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I can tell you're a people person. I'm thrilled you had such a good time. Memories to smile on for months. Thanks for sharing the pictures. They were great.

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm glad you had such a great time. Your experience makes me want to go to a reunion. Obviously you can go back again!

Alison Henderson said...

What a wonderful experience, Rolynn. OG and I took our daughter to visit St. Olaf when she was a high school junior; it's such a beautiful place. Your post has inspired me to make the trek to Poughkeepsie when the time comes for my fiftieth!

Alicia Dean said...

Awesome!! Sounds like it was even better than you expected. I enjoyed the thorough and entertaining run-down and especially how you listed your expectations and the results. Also enjoye the pics!! So glad you had fun.

Hebby Roman said...

Great photos and lovely blog, Rolynn, wish all our reunions could be like yours!!! I would be afraid to go to my 50th, afraid of too much sadness. I can definitely see how Vietnam influenced your classmates.

Leah St. James said...

What an amazing time it sounds like! I'm so glad it went well. I loved reading all about it. It really is inspiring, like Andi said. The photos are wonderful! (What a gorgeous chapel.)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Vonnie, if you wore your pink slippers and boa, they'd see you for your lovable self. None of us stood on ceremony for this event...dressing for comfort (and personality) was our mantra!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Jannine, it's a mind-set. We sew...we reap. Makes me wonder (desconstructively) why some (who could) didn't come.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alison, I'm so pleased I've got you geared up to go. You have much to be proud of!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Alicia, thanks for your compliments. I tend to overthink some things, but in this case, laying the experience out for you all enhanced the experience!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Hebby, even the remembrance service was uplifting, rather than sad. Good memories flowed in, including my thoughts about a college boyfriend who died at the early age of 58. We mush on, buoyed by the good times.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, thank you for your praise. St. Olaf is a special school; most of its buildings are built with the same stone as the chapel...the whole place has a feeling of a sanctuary...high on a hill, a Minnesota Mont St. Michel.