Today’s post is a short one, about a story I saw on the Houghton College Facebook feed, about four students, recent graduates, who are biking across America.
This blog follows their journey, which started in mid-May. I haven’t had a chance to barely read any of it, since I came across it over the weekend, but the idea of the journey is one that intrigues me. It is something I think I might like to do, in one form or another, something I haven’t yet done, in one form or another.
These four are taking the freedom they have to make that travel journey to remember. Most of the rest of us before, during and after were on the trail of life, career, and advancement, or some such portion thereof. To have the resources and freedom was something we didn’t explore.
Not that I regret my course. I had enough choices and freedom, but the travel portion is something I have always had a greater hankering for than I’ve had the time and treasure to explore.
So, I intend to take some time and follow, even in arrears, their story across the country.
(Note: it has been awhile since I’ve pulled up my old poetry, so here is another one. This was during my year as editor of the Houghton Star student newspaper at Houghton College, during the last year that the old Compugraphic machines were used instead of the new Macintosh computers that they got the next year. This poem is about a breakdown and repair of the old machines.)
Today is going to be a quick promotional for my Alma Mater — Houghton College.
In this story the announcement is made that President Shirley Mullen was elected to another 4-year term as college president. She has already served 9 years.
Now Houghton College has a long history of long terms for presidents. They have a tradition of choosing good people that stay the course and steer the college bravely into the future without sacrificing the eternal mission of the school. In its 132 years, the college has only had six presidents.
I was ready to trust the board when they chose Mullen, but also ready to be skeptical. I am a firm believer that a woman can be just as good of a college president as a man, if not better. But I have also seen women given positions just because they were women, and not because they were qualified — a great detriment to them, the people the work with, and women in general.
When we went to our 20th reunion in 2009, I got to meet Mullen.I was impressed. Well-spoken, with vision, and an obvious team player. Our visit for our 25th reunion merely affirmed the impression.
For such a big landmark event is life, it is amazing how it seems to be truncated down to these particular 12 photos (okay, probably 13 if we include the official graduation picture we purchased).
The event is called commencement for a reason — it is the beginning of something — though we usually think of it as the end of something — the college experience and education we have spent 4 years of our lives on.
As I look at these pictures I am amazed at what I do not remember from that time, and what memories the pictures invoke. I don’t remember anything about the speaker or what he said at the ceremony. I don’t remember how comfortable or uncomfortable it was in the graduation robes.
I do notice in the pictures afterwards that some graduates are unzipped, while I still have my robe zipped up, and tie firmly still in place.
The pictures of the Houghton College Quad are definitely vintage in the after-ceremony milling shots. The one shot shows Wollsey hall, that is no longer there, and every shot probably has something that could easily date it.
The other main impression I have is the people that are in the shots. My aunt and uncle came on down, and my friend Stephen Westbrook from High School was there. Time drifts us apart so quickly. What amazes me today is how many of these people still are a significant part of my life — some through the influence they still exert by how they shaped me, and others through the amazing way modern technology has kept us connected, or brought us back together.
In my day, at least, there was a traditional “senior skip” excursion by the seniors before graduation. But as someone noted, we students at Houghton didn’t actually skip any classes. We just took off between the end of finals and the beginning of the graduation weekend. Some complained that if it was senior skip, we should skip something more than just “skipping town” — like maybe some classes.
Senior Skip 1988 skipped no classes — but took a few days up to Toronto. In those days we didn’t have to worry about passports at the border crossing into Canada. Those were “simpler” days.
I have pictures of some sort of museum house we visited in the north of Toronto, and pictures of the Toronto Zoo.
I have memories of using the bus system to get around. Toronto had a very good bus system running on a grid: north-sound buses and east-west buses. I remember Terri Chubbuck and I ran around together trying to get downtown to see the top of some tower, and then didn’t want to pay the admission when we got there to go to the top. But if that is the case, where did I take all these pictures looking down for a fairly good height?
All that running around meant we were out of position when it came time to rendevue for the evening’s dinner event. I had scheduled to meet Matthew beforehand, and couldn’t make the bus schedule work to do so. This was also in the days before prevalent cell phones, so there was no way to let him know where we were, or that we would be late. I do remember he wasn’t happy with me. It’s amazing that I don’t seem to remember much else.
One of the surprises in looking through the pictures is who I found in this final picture below. She is someone very important to my current and future happiness, but back then, she was just a friend I was somewhat oblivious about. I am talking about the girl in the blue blouse.
Blast #5 mentioned the loss of a lot of film. Which puts the date of this next album into question. This is an album of pictures from a college choir concert at Houghton my senior year. That would make it either the Homecoming concert right after the tour, or the Parent’s concert of graduation weekend.
Something about me wants to put this concert as the homecoming concert, but the loss of film more accurately suggests it is probably the parent’s concert on graduation weekend. I have pictures of student Dan Fortune directing the choir. That might be enough of a clue for someone to know which one of the two concerts this is.
During my college choir years I had three different directors: Dr. Brown freshman year, Professor Reigles (the most famous and longest-term of the three) sophomore and junior years, and Dr. Jost senior year. Dr. Jost came in as a one-year loan from somewhere in California, I think, while Professor Reigles took a year off to work on her doctorate.
I enjoyed all three directors, and learned a lot from them. From Dr. Jost I remember during our Messiah Sing rehearsals learning to not be afraid of my falsetto voice, and how to use it much better. I have him to thank for the extension of my useable range upwards.
During Homecoming Weekend senior year we had George Beverly Shea as a special guest at the Founder’s Day Chapel, and Dr. Jost composed a special arrangement of “I’d Rather Have Jesus” that the college choir sang with Shea. Shea was very impressed with the arrangement. I really wish I could have kept a copy of the arrangement, but it was all done with special licence arrangement for the song, and all the copies had to be accounted for afterwards. I don’t suppose the arrangement still exists anywhere.Singing with Shea under Jost is one of my fondest musical memories from Houghton.
Such are my memories of College Choir senior year.