Daily Archives: March 30, 2010

In which we get wet and probably see a movie star

We awoke to heavy rain and the prospect of touring two schools in that rain. I was not excited.

Our first stop was Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. Dean had already visited Wheaton with Clare on what he describes as a perfect fall day: abundant sunshine, colorful trees, crisp but not too chilly. Today was not a perfect fall day. It was a dreary spring day with, what we’d discover later that afternoon,  record breaking rain.

I’d misplaced my (still wet from yesterday) gloves and forgot to take my Connecticut College poncho into the admissions office and didn’t want to go back to the car to get it. I was cranky and cold.

We were divided into groups and took off across the campus with a cheerful senior tour guide. Luckily for us we spent much talking time inside buildings and were able to walk quickly from one warm building to another.

As we entered our second building I heard a female voice behind me asking Dean if we were part of the college tour. I didn’t look around, but wondered why the newcomers had not joined the second group.

Later I saw the newcomer – a tall young woman with long dark brown hair dressed in opaque gray tights, a yellow cashmere cardigan under a waist length charcoal gray (leather?) jacket. On her feet she wore dark gray ankle-height Wellingtons. She was definitely the most stylish student in the tour group. I also took notice of her because she flashed a lovely smile at everyone she saw. No one, that I saw, returned the smile. I felt bad for her.

We continued the tour, and when we went into the residence hall I saw the mother of the newcomer. She reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t quite place her. Someone I’d seen on television or in the movies. I assumed that I’d figure it out later – who this woman looked like. We exchanged a couple of words in passing (excuse me / pardon me)

As we ended our tour another woman approached me and asked if I’d noticed the movie star among us. I said I thought I recognized someone, but couldn’t place her. The woman whispered, “Diane Lane”, and added, “but I don’t think she has kids the age of our kids.”

I snuck a few more glances at “Diane Lane” wondering if it could really be her. I convinced myself that it probably wasn’t her. She and her daughter left while I was using the bathroom. Neither Dean nor Andrew really noticed the mom so they couldn’t judge whether or not it was, in fact, Diane Lane. However they both noticed the daughter.

On the ride home we checked IMDB which told us she has a daughter born 9 months after Andrew was born so she could very well be looking at colleges this year. Andrew found a photograph of Diane Lane and her daughter on a website – tall, dark hair, same shaped face. That cinched it. We were convinced Diane Lane and her daughter were on our tour. I just checked again and saw more photos of her. I’m sure it was her.

Oh, and the college was cool too. Andrew might consider it, depending on whether or not Diane Lane’s daughter goes there how his other college visits go.

We drove through Boston via Boston University and Harvard (just to look) to get to Medford and Tufts University. I didn’t go on the tour because my coat was still wet and I still couldn’t find my gloves. I sat in the car in the parking garage while Dean and Andrew walked in the [record breaking] rain. The university is on a hill, so the wind was very strong. I do feel guilty for not trekking through the rain along with my husband and son, but the fact that I was warm and dry was enough to squash the guilt. Andrew probably won’t apply to Tufts because of their foreign language requirement.

So far this trip has been quite useful. Andrew is learning what he likes and doesn’t like about schools and will be able to make informed decisions about more schools he might like to visit and ones he knows he probably won’t like so much.

We’re on the road to Vermont now where we’ll stay in Rutland and drive to Middlebury tomorrow morning.

And they lived to tell about it

As we walked into the admissions office of Wesleyan University yesterday morning, Dean looked at the rain clouds  and wondered if any statistics were kept on what the weather was like the day students who applied to certain schools visited for the first time. If more were likely to apply if the weather was good and fewer if the weather was bad. Given  yesterday’s weather and if students chose their schools based on the weather the day of the visit, both schools we visited yesterday would have lost several potential applications. It was horrible and all of us (excepting Rupert who was snug and warm in my waterproof purse) were wet to the skin by the time each tour was over.

Andrew loved Wesleyan University (as did I). We had an excellent tour guide (Wesleyan admissions folks, in case you monitor blog mentions about your school, the tour was the March 29, 9 am tour  and our guide was the woman who was on the played rugby) and, despite the lousy weather, got a great sense of what the school was all about.

After a delicious lunch at a sandwich shop in town possibly called Brew Bakers, we headed towards New London and Connecticut College. On the way we saw signs for Gillette Castle State Park, and recalling a happy visit there with a friend who lived in Bridgeport in the 1980’s, thought we could spare a few minutes to drive past the castle so Andrew could see it.

It took much longer than we expected to find the state park, and even longer to drive to the castle, which was closed, but since it was raining and we were already wet from the tour, didn’t consider getting out of the car anyway.

Our trusty GPS took us through back roads to New London, which would have been fine — we had plenty of time before the tour — had the local rivers not been flooding. Did I mention there were flood warnings in Connecticut yesterday?

The car rounded a bend and we were dismayed to see the road ahead was flooded. I was ready to turn back and retrace our steps, but Dean drove on, deaf to my squeals of “OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD” and Andrew’s echos of “ohmygodohmygodohmygod”. The Highlander made it easily through the first part of the flooded road, but we could feel the pull of the water in the second half as the wheels began to lose contact with the road. All the time I was thinking about the warnings to NEVER drive through a flooded road and wondering if the fences on the side of the road were strong enough to hold our truck from being plunged into the pond on the other side.

We did make it through the flooded road, but Dean realized after that he should never have driven into it. We all have different opinions of how deep it was. I said 8 inches. Dean thinks 6. Andrew thought 4.

We made it to Connecticut College with no more mishaps and Dean had time for a nap before the tour.

This time we were given plastic ponchos with Connecticut College logos on them. Dean and I opted to wear ours. Andrew chose to not. Andrew looked much less silly than we did, but we kept reasonably dry. The tour group was smaller than the one at Wesleyan, but instead of stopping and talking to the group the Connecticut College tour guide walked backwards while talking and, unless you were in the very front, could not hear her over the sound of rain on the poncho hoods.

I felt nothing of the excitement I’d felt for Wesleyan. The campus was pretty enough, but I preferred the architecture of Wesleyan over Connecticut. Andrew preferred Wesleyan as well.

We had just enough time to check into our hotel in Raynham, Massachusetts before we needed to head out to meet our friend (and my matron of honor) Marie for dinner. She’d not known of a place to eat around where we were staying except for an outlet mall with chain restaurants. While we’re not so big on chain restaurants, we noted that there was a Timberland shoe store among the outlet stores, and Andrew had been wanting a pair of Timberland boots for a while.  Dean found a couple of pairs of shoes as well.

Dinner with Marie was wonderful. We’d not seen her since the summer before she and Neal divorced about 5 years ago. This was the longest we’d gone without seeing her since we met in 1981. We used to visit Neal and Marie at least once ever couple of years and they would visit us occasionally. Despite not having seen her for so long, I always consider her one of my best friends.

Today we visit Wheaton College and Tufts University. The rain is not going to be quite as bad, but I imagine we’ll still get wet.

Ok, breakfast….