Rather than going to a big time reunion on campus, Hannah and I have come to western New York for a mini-reunion with three of her College of Wooster (Ohio) dorm mates from the class of 1970.
A few years back the idea for the four women getting together crystallized to the point that last year Hannah offered our place in York, Maine for the First Annual Woo Girls Reunion.
Here’s the Line-up of the Four Women of Wooster:
Hannah – All she is cracked up to be!
Maxine – Hannah’s roommate during their sophomore and junior years who remains as upbeat and positive as I remember her when I was a classmate of hers.
Bambi – the life of the party at Wooster who to this day brings joy wherever she goes.
Wendy – the steady rock who is the glue that brings us all into conversations and makes us all feel like we belong.
You may have noticed that I referred to myself as a classmate, not as a fellow graduate of these four women. You see, though I matriculated with them as a freshman in the fall of 1966 at the liberal arts College of Wooster, I transferred out after my junior year to Arizona State University to be an elementary education major.
You might be thinking, whoa, something must have come up for him to jump ship just before his senior year. Well, it’s complicated.
First, after a rocking year of dating during our sophomore year, Hannah and I hit the skids during our junior year. Going to the Desert Southwest was my response to a broken heart.
Second, I was a political science major! Please! What in the world does one do with a political science degree? At Wooster all I thought it was going to do was prepare me to be a salesman for Proctor and Gamble (as my teammate on the Wooster tennis team did) or go to grad school. After 21 years of being a student, I was so sick of sitting in classrooms. Grad school was the farthest thing from my mind.
Third, in light of #2, I wanted to make a difference. This was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Peace and love, man. For me, that meant give teaching a shot.
Fourth, I was sick of the snow and the rain of central Ohio; the Arizona sunshine looked awfully appealing. I would then be just one state away from doing some California Dreamin’.
Fifth, this was May of 1969. The War in Viet Nam raged and shattered the lives of so many. I had just one year before my day of reckoning with the Selective Service drew nigh. Unbeknownst to me, six months later I would draw number 78 out of 365 in the first televised draft lottery. With my college deferment up and the military drafting guys with numbers up to 195, it was clear my future was not clear one bit, with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head.
Sixth, I just never adapted to Wooster. That’s on me, not Wooster. I was kind of aimless. Duh, I was a political science major! I loved being a part of Wooster’s tennis team. Sophomore year with Hannah was off-the-charts. But college classes? The traditional lecture method of teaching that reigned at Wooster was killing me. I needed hands-on, experiential, conversation-based teaching. After years at Wooster, all I could do was study, test, and forget.
And yet now years later, I think of the College of Wooster as the best thing that ever happened to me.
You see I met and Woo-ed Hannah Kraai.
Married to my own Woo Girl, I joined her in Niagara Falls with three of her classmates in mid-June of 2016.