It feels like yesterday.
Well, it does except for a quarter century’s already fuzzy adventures and misadventures that have accrued since executing one of the most clever and environmentally unfriendly “senior pranks” ever — twice! — and receiving my diploma from a postcard perfect New England boarding school after four of the most influential years of my life. A school that I learned this weekend had a 46% admissions acceptance rate the year before I applied and has a 17.2% admissions acceptance rate today. A school that only accepted boys up to and through my freshman year, that graduated its very first girls my senior year, and that — in the considerably more diplomatic words of the current admissions director — struggles today to balance the male/female ratio given that the female candidates so dramatically outshine the male candidates in competence, preparedness, and maturity. A school that has replaced two of the four dormitories where I lived; replaced a state of the art science center (where my classmates and I accidentally created laughing gas during a chemistry lab) with an even more state of the art science center; turned the swimming pool where my teammates and I trained and won meet after meet into an erg training facility and built one of the slickest natatoriums I’ve ever witnessed; and upgraded the art department’s grotty basement and attic classrooms with the slickest 21st-century arts studios, auditoria, theaters, exhibition halls and galleries that I can imagine aggregating under one banner.
High school graduation feels like yesterday, and yet my classmates and I have lived more of our lives post-graduation than pre-graduation. In fact, we’ve lived slightly more than three times the age we were when most of us first met. Many of us first shaved together, and now our peach fuzz has become salt-and-pepper beards. Long ago we swapped tales of goals and girls scored. Now most flip through phone photos and brag about coaching sons’ and daughters’ teams.
A bittersweet benchmark. Mostly sweet. And thoroughly pleased to have participated.