I am back from my 25th Colgate Reunion. I’m physically back, my voice and brain may take another couple of days. I’m back to being the oldest person in my office. Back where they don’t know me as a screaming, dancing lunatic. I will be doing plenty of posts this week on everyone I saw and all of our funny stories, although our “funny stories” may cause outsiders to think the Colgate Class of ’87 needs a group intervention.
For today, I will just write thank you to all my classmates who made it back this year. It was so much fun to see all of you. To see all of the laughing, dancing, whirling dervishes 25 years later. We have all gone through our trials and triumphs, sorrows and victories, marriage, divorce, children, death, joys and disappointments. As I have written before, of course we have at our age, that’s how life goes. But unlike all the other 47-year-olds in the world; I saw this group start their journey to adult hood, when they arrived in Hamilton, New York in 1983. This weekend I saw us all in the tents and on the lawns and downtown and I saw our young, lovely ghosts next to us. The ghosts from the basements of Beta and DU and Theta Chi; from the water balloon fights in Andrews, the training tables, dancing at the Jug and the Hourglass; the ghosts of the children we were “skiing” down Stillman Hill and napping in the library before we left our cocoon to take on life.
And we remember those who couldn’t make it and those who are gone. Twenty-five years is a long time. And yes, every five years, we reconvene in Hamilton for a class reunion. Really though, we have covered so much time and space, it feels more like a family reunion. Every five years for a couple of days under a tent on Whitnall Field we have our own little family reunion.
“And you have to be one with them, you see. That, I think, is one of Colgate’s strengths, too. Because then you realize that our main job is to get hold of these young men and women and excite them and open up doors that have never been open before. When you think of where they come from, my lord, they come from all over the country and they come here in a valley with some buildings on a hill and they call it Colgate. See? And for four years it’s the end and being of their lives. Then they graduate and look back nostalgically. You can’t blame them, if we do our job.”
Jonathan Kistler, Professor of English Emeritus