I have to admit – of all the planning I did for our cross-country tour, I had not given much thought to how emotional Day 18 of our Not All Who Wander Are Lost tour would be. But Candice seemed to know, when she sent a text this morning that indicated we should “guard our hearts as you step out of this special time together.” Claire, of course, just said, “Dad, you’re not going to cry are you?” Well, of course I am.
Claire said she felt she was “back home in Claremont” when we went to Eureka Burger last evening for dinner. I felt that way when we picked up our sliders at Some Crust Bakery for breakfast. I can’t tell folks on the east coast how wonderful Some Crust is…but you just have to take my word for it. And Claremont is one special little village. We fell in love with it the minute Claire visited Pomona, and we take every opportunity to come to this magical part of Southern California. Some Crust is one of about ten places our family visits on every trip to see Claire at college. Union on Yale, where I’m having dinner tonight, is another. When she graduates next spring, we’ll have to make up reasons to come back here.
The morning was spent getting the key to Claire’s dorm room, checking out the new digs, and bringing up boxes from storage. The two photos above show her new bed (a double – finally!) and the common room in her four room suite. The senior dorms are only 4 years old, and they are fantastic. Back in the day (when we had to walk through a foot of snow to get to school) we certainly didn’t have anything this plush. I told Claire and a friend that they shouldn’t get use to this…it is probably the best housing they will have for the next ten years.
The exterior (above) is pretty terrific as well. This is a “green” dorm, full of environmentally sensitive elements. I think it is just about right for my Claire’s senior year at school!
The contrast with moving in three years ago couldn’t be wider. Then, all four of us were here feeling our way as freshmen parents (as well as freshmen twins). We were racing around buying this and that, trying to locate the key buildings on campus, and generally attempting not to act like we were completely clueless (at least in front of Claire). This time, Claire and I took the items we had brought cross-country up to her room (in about two trips) and then drove over to the storage bin to pick up a few other boxes, which we quickly dispatched into her new room as well. Then we stopped by to say hello to the swim team coach, we watched the football team running laps in 95 degree heat (waving to an ex-boyfriend in the process), picked up a friend to join us for lunch, and dropped off Claire’s bike for its yearly tune-up. At noon we were settled into Full of Life (another village favorite) for our sandwiches and a final tour lunch (which we captured in the photo at the top of the post). Afterwards, we helped another friend move some boxes (a car is a valuable commodity this time of year on campus), stopped by a local store to buy me a new pair of flip-flops (since my old ones blew out on this trip), and found some local craft beer for the fridge.
In the midst of all this, Claire made some progress on unpacking, and making her new dorm room a home.
Then came the time I’d been dreading. It was clear that I wasn’t needed at this point, and that Claire was ready to focus on getting her room together before her meeting tonight with the other orientation counselors. (They are called OA’s, but I can’t recall what the A stands for.) Our cross-country adventure really was ending. Yesterday, Rosanne Cash’s version of Miss the Mississippi and You came up as we neared Claremont, and I told Clare that I would miss her. She said, “Really?” (How can you not love someone who doesn’t even realize how wonderful she is?) I said, “Really. You wear well as a traveling companion.”
Today we hugged, laughed, I cried, and left.
It was fantastic, my love. Have a wonderful senior year. See you later this fall.
More to come…