I went with my daughter recently to visit Penn State, Main Campus where I am proud to say, she is accepted to the Schreyer’s Honors College.
The people there put on a great show, we were treated exceedingly well. While Brigid was talking to some fellow prospects and current students, I wandered around, camera in hand.
It was the first in a promised run of summer-like weather in Pennsylvania. The campus lawns were as expected dotted with sheets, groups of students sitting in circles, girls in groups sunbathing, couples canoodling. My middle-aged parental mind-set was jolted back suddenly 32 (could it be?) years.
It was April of 1978. I was biology major in my junior year of college. Scranton had come through a particularly cold, snowy winter, which as a “townie” left me cold and miserable, slogging through the slush all winter after finding one of the few parking spots left, anywhere near the school, not blocked by moraines of plowed snow.
Also making me miserable were the twin scourges of the Biology curriculum, Physics, and Physical Chemistry, two subject alien to my junk collecting, math averse, bio major brain. Unfortunately, these were important courses on a transcript that was soon to be in the hands of medical school admission committees. I had to study… and hard.
So when as it often does in Pennsylvania, spring came with a rush and the first sunny 70 degree days began to string together, I watched with envy from the library as my schoolmates lay blankets on the greening lawns of the Jesuit residence, and did what college kids have done on such days for the past 40 years.
Balls and gloves and Frisbees were everywhere, the men clad only in shorts displaying their physical talents to the assembled females on display after being shrouded all winter; their figures flattered by their swimwear, or tight tee shirts, but still pallid from the cold grey winter.
I tried to cope by studying in a lawn chair in a secluded part of the property, with pleasant visits from my lovely, and more math adept girlfriend Cathy (who I married 3 years later). It was all too distracting. I retreated to the library, this time to the windowless basement, consoling myself with one thought:
In less than a week, the exams will be over…and the women will be tanned.