Not even ten hours – TEN HOURS – stuck in the Phoenix Airport on Thursday was going to ruin our last Family Weekend at Pomona College with Claire. (Phoenix Airport motto: “And you think our city has sprawl – just wait until you have to go from concourse-to-concourse in our lovely airport. We’ll show you world-class sprawl!”)
Yes, the time has come for the last of our family weekends during the college years. We’ve made 7 of 8 over the course of the four years between our twins and their two schools.
Some parents poo-poo the Family Weekend, saying they are only for freshmen parents who miss their children. But we love them. Why?
Well, beyond the obvious of getting to spend time with Claire and Andrew, we get to meet and hear great professors talk about fun things. In the fall at Brown, our favorite was Fundamentals of Healthy Aging. This year’s topic of choice at Pomona from Professor Joti Rockwell was entitled Sympathy for the Devil: The Meanings of Fiddle and Guitar Music which addressed fiddle and guitar-oriented music from historical, theoretical, cultural and analytical perspectives. Topics included “Greek mathematical and cosmological foundations for understanding stringed instruments, and the fiddle as a morally questionable instrument!” The Devil’s Box!! Right up my alley.
We get to spend time with our children’s suite-mates and friends. What a sharp group of young adults.
We get to hear talented professors and students perform in various ensembles in some beautiful spaces. Comedy, poetry, jazz and dance ensembles, and improv. Two years ago at Pomona we had a chance to hear fiddler extraordinaire Richard Greene play with Professor Rockwell.
We go to a breakfast where we hear of the work of Pomona’s professors and students, who are having an impact worldwide in so many fields. People such as Poet and Professor Claudia Rankine with her most recent work Citizen; Noah Simon, an alum who was named to Forbes 30 under 30: Young Scientists Who Are Changing the World for his algorithms which are being used to characterize the biology behind Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and various cancers; and Assistant Professor Amanda Hollis-Brusky with her work studying the Federalist Society. At that same breakfast, we engage in a discussion with parents and staff about the importance of standing up and speaking out for the liberal arts, in the face of STEM-only education and the push in some quarters to turn institutes of higher learning into trade schools.
We get to meet and thank adults like swimming coach Jean-Paul Gowdy who have had such a profound influence on our children as they grow into adulthood.
And, because our children go to school on opposite coasts, we go to New England during the height of the fall color season…and we go to Southern California in February!
Did I mention that we hung out around the pool today watching Claire and her teammates train for next weekend’s conference championship? And we were in short sleeves? And shorts? And did I mention that while we were there – in 82º weather – Andrew texted and said it was -14º wind chill in Providence?
Yes, just about the time Candice and I think we are going to pull our hair out because of the weather at home, this little oasis of a trip comes up. And we do love it!
As we walk through the bucolic campus at Pomona, we keep getting whiffs of the flowers that are all in bloom, and we wonder which plant is calling us over for a closer inspection. The quadrangles, trails, buildings, fountains, art, and plantings work together to form a place of incredible beauty.
Today we have a jazz brunch in a beautiful dining hall that could have come out of a Harry Potter movie. Then we’ll go to the farmers market in the village of Claremont. (Village motto: One of the most wonderful places on earth.) Candice and I will hang out in the 83º sunshine for as long as possible before having an early dinner with Claire and getting ready for our flight home.
I think we’re going to have to come up with some excuse to return next February!
More to come…