While I’ve been spending days up in BC, my dad’s been up at Cornell celebrating his 50th class reunion.
My 2 brothers & I share a common bond w him in that we all went to school up there. Our experiences in beautiful Ithaca couldn’t have been more different. That said, our love for the school & what it gave each of us absolutely ties us.
My dad actually wrote a novel abt his experience in the end of the ‘60s up at school, called “Five Freshmen.” It takes you from an age of innocence on campus, all the on way thru the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Draft watched on TV by all the students, the take-over of Willard Straight Hall by black students when they understandably needed to fight hard for their civil rights.
My dad never joined a frat. He had a small # of tight-knit friends he’d met that 1st yr, all from diff backgrounds – Asian, Black, Italian, Jewish. They faced the events mentioned above & it often tried their relationships while at the same time brought them closer together.
On the flip side I joined a frat freshmen yr, & got my butt kicked in the most creative ways you can imagine by older brothers in the house.
The interesting thing is, reflecting back, the stuff my dad “went through” w his friends, was way way diff than the stuff I “went through” w my friends. Both trying, just in diff ways.
But the commonality is that – on the same campus, over 30 yrs apart, in some of the same fields & buildings, shared experiences tied us incredibly closely w our friends – lifelong ones we’ll have – no matter how much time passes.
My dad said the most poignant moment of the wknd, was a concert at Bailey Hall (which has stood the test of time), where alums for all diff classes stood in unison & sang the school’s alma mater. That gives me chills.
We don’t have to experience things in the EXACT same way, for them to tie us together. There are commonalities in our experiences – even in our trying ones, that – when we open up & share them, form the tightest of bonds. The sharing of experiences, in the moment, or thru the power of stories is a glue that’s almost inseparable.