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Wellesley College Reunion

Corinthian Columns from Old College Hall
Paramecium Pond

The sun shone brightly on our reunion weekend at Wellesley College welcoming returning alumnae from the 5th to the 75th reunion years. The campus was festive with the colors of purple, yellow, green, red, and Wellesley blue, in the forms of balloons, banners, and streamers. But even without those it was as beautiful and lovely as I remember it; lush green lawn and a rich variety of trees dotted the rolling landscape. Every corner held a breathtaking surprise, lily pad in the Paramecium Pond where ducklings and goslings swam under the protective guidance of their parents, Severance Hill with its old oak tree spreading its arms hugging the slope, the valley of rhododendrons in front of the library, Tower Court lording over the highest part of the campus with the old Corinthian columns guarding the steps leading to it, the Green Hall Tower in the academic Quad all anchored down by the expansive and peaceful Lake Waban. The bells of Green Hall played “Simple Gifts”. I visited my room on the fourth floor of Tower Court overlooking the lake for old time’s sake.

Tower Court West
My Old Room

Reunion brought us together to renew our friendship and reconnect with old acquaintances. Over 2,000 alumnae returned, seventy countries were represented, with another 1,000 guests. Madeleine Albright of class of 1959 gave her talk on “Read My Pins” where her hundreds of pins are on display at the Davis Museum and Hillary Clinton, class of 1969, made a cameo appearance. As the President of the College, Kim Bottomly, rightly said, two-thirds of the Woman Secretaries of State were on the campus. Stepsinging, a tradition which began at the dedication of the Houghton Memorial Chapel in 1899, brought us together to sing in the chapel for there were too many of us to fit onto the steps of the chapel. The singing was interspersed with rousing class cheers. It was fun to look at our pictures of college years and see how much we have changed, our youthful and expectant fresh faces at the end of college ready to face the wide wide world.

Legenda: My College Year Book Picture

Reunion Dinner-Our Asian Connection, American and Foreign

The highlight of our reunion was the Sunday parade when we all wore white bearing our class banner. The parade started with the oldest reunion class of 1939, culminating in the youngest reunion class of 2009. The four oldest attendees rode on vintage cars cheered on by the other classes lining the route. My class color is purple and as each class passed, we cheered,

1974 Wellesley Rah!

1974 Wellesley,

Purple Passion

Is our fashion.

1974 Wellesley!

Class of 1939
My Purple Class

When it was our turn to join in the parade we were cheered on by the younger reunion classes until we reached Alumnae Hall. It was all great fun.

My classmates just became sexagenarians. We have a variety of careers: teachers, financiers, lawyers, doctors, artists, researchers, scientists, mothers… Many continue to work and a few have retired and love it. Our children are grown and are building lives of their own. Some classmates are reveling in their grandchildren. Sadly about twenty of our classmates have passed on, one died tragically shortly after leaving college. Some struggle with the care of aging parents or loved ones. Our canvas which was almost blank when we left Wellesley is now filled with colors of the ups and downs of our lives, some of which were beyond our control and dictated by destiny but some were deliberately painted with our own brush strokes. One classmate is keenly aware that she is living in a body that has an expiration date. All of us are for that matter. It is up to us to make all our years count and finish them well.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

-Jenny Joseph-

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