Tag Archives: oberlin

Andrew’s graduation

Yes, it seems like only last week we dropped Andrew off at Oberlin when he was a new student. I took photos and planned a blog post about it but waited too long and now he’s graduated. Time sure does fly!

andrew-clareAndrew graduated from Oberlin with honors of some sort. We even went to the home of the president of the school to celebrate his honor where we drank punch and ate fruit on sticks. Dean’s sister, Diane, was able to join us for much of the weekend.

Oberlin goes all out for graduation and invites several alumni back for reunions. Oberlin goes from a small quiet college town to a very busy place. It was even more busy this year because one of the graduation speakers was Michelle Obama.

We spent much of our long weekend lounging on the grass. The weather was perfect for that — although it became a little hot on graduation day. I thought I would be in mourning since I loved Oberlin so, but strangely I didn’t feel sad. It would not be the same without Andrew there, and I said my expensive farewell to Bead Paradise.

lightsMy favorite, and most anticipated part of the weekend was the illuminations in Tappan Square the night before the graduation ceremony. It did not disappoint.

The ceremony was far too long, but the two main speakers were excellent. Michelle Obama’s was the best, by a long-shot. My favorite takeaway from Obama was:

“And I know that these days, that can seem counterintuitive, because we live in such an instantaneous age. We want everything right away—whether it’s an Uber or your favorite TV show—and we want it tailored to our exact preferences and beliefs. We fill our Twitter feed with voices that confirm, rather than challenge, our views. If we dislike someone’s Facebook post, we just un-follow them, we un-friend them.

And even here at Oberlin, most of the time you’re probably surrounded by folks who share your beliefs. But out in the real world, there are plenty of people who think very differently than you do, and they hold their opinions just as passionately. So if you want to change their minds, if you want to work with them to move this country forward, you can’t just shut them out. You have to persuade them, and you have to compromise with them. That is what so many of our heroes of history have done.”


Transcript

Marian Wright Edelman’s was inspiring too — although a bit long. Someone suggested that since she was an elder she felt the need to be thorough in her speech. My favorite takeaway from Edelman’s speech was “So often we want to be a big dog and make a big difference but all of us can be a flea and bite and bite and move the biggest dog. Enough determined fleas biting strategically can make the biggest dog uncomfortable. And if some of us are flicked off but keep coming back and continue biting, we can change our nation. So be a flea for justice—for children and for the poor.”


Transcript

More photos

We went to watch Rugby but saw the Big Parade instead

Andrew graduates on Memorial Day. His final rugby game was supposed to take place yesterday, Saturday, May 2 so we planned a trip to Oberlin to watch his last game. We knew we would not be able to spend much time with him since he was also going to a banquet for the end of the Rugby season, but these days, even an hour or two is enough for us. Shortly before we were planning on leaving for Oberlin Andrew called and told Dean the game had been cancelled. Denison (the opposing team) decided that with finals coming up next week they should study and not play rugby. Dean was bummed but since we’d already paid for our hotel room we decided to go instead and only stay one night.

We arrived at Oberlin around 6 and met Andrew at Weia Teia for dinner. He brought a friend with him and they both told us about how it was lucky we were in town that weekend because the Big Parade was the next morning and the Folkfest started that evening. Among the names of folks singers for the weekend was Tom Paxton – an artist I’d never seen, but had heard of. Another name Andrew mentioned was Kimya Dawson — a name I didn’t recognize, but when I later looked her up, would have loved to have seen her live. Her highly recognizable singing voice made me smile though the movie Juno (as well as a couple of Comcast ads).

Andrew took us to see an art exhibit called Erosion. My favorite part of the show was a series of journal entries the artist’s mother wrote and the artist’s corresponding leaves or flowers captured in glass.

After the art show we went to a dance titled The Only Way (scroll down to the second entry) about the struggle for women’s rights.The dancing was amazing and the message important.

Andrew had to leave us to work on his float for the parade so Dean and I went back to our hotel.

The next morning we arrived in Oberlin shortly after 10. I spent 45 minutes shopping at my current favorite store, Bead Paradise, where I bought three shirts, a pair of sunglasses, a chain for my new sunglasses and a beautiful Hobo wallet.

The parade was a lot of fun. See this YouTube video for some highlilghts. I took photos of all the floats and groups, but wondered where Andrew’s was, only to be told by Dean that he’d already gone by. I concentrated on a friend of Andrew’s (and son of family friends) that I missed my own son walking right in front of me. The fact that he was wearing a long red dress and straw hat had nothing to do with my not recognizing him. (He’s the tall one in the image below.)

Andrew parade

After the parade we walked around Tappan Square  and finally met up with Andrew and a few of his friends. We got in line with them for a free meal. As we approached the tent where the food was being served we saw a number of men and boys with shaved heads except for a small ponytail. Yes, we were in the Hare Krishna food line. I am not sure any salt was used.

Hare Krishna food

After lunch we listened to some folk singers and lazed in the sun. We met several of Andrew’s friends — all of whom were very friendly.

I love Oberlin and the feeling of community (and Bead Paradise) and am going to probably go through a period of mourning after Andrew graduates.

Where else can you sit in a kabob restaurant and watch an Alaskan husky wearing a batman costume people watch?

Dean and husky

Detail

 

Feeling the love

Andrew — the star of the weekend

Last weekend we (Dean, his sister Diane, and I) visited Andrew in Oberlin, Ohio for Oberlin College’s Family Weekend. Diane joined us because we told her how much fun we had at last year’s family weekend and because she was a high school counselor and knew about Oberlin, but had never visited. Also because she’s the best aunt in the world.

If I have not mentioned it before on this blog, I love Oberlin College. It is the absolute perfect fit for Andrew and an amazing place in itself. The town and the college grew up together and from what I’ve seen, get along very well — like grown-up twins. Andrew’s rugby team is comprised of students, professors and townsmen. When we visit we stay with townspeople — in their homes with the money we pay going to various Oberlin programs.

Family weekend is full of events, from the wine and cheese reception on Friday to dozens of musical programs to many faculty-run lectures to the President’s brunch on Sunday. This year we didn’t do quite as many things as last year, but we did have a busy weekend.

On Friday we attended the wine and cheese reception after meeting up with Andrew and visiting his newly-tidied dorm room. The wine and cheese reception is held in (and outside of) the science building. Outside people stand (and shiver) while listening to a steel drum band. Inside people stand or sit and listen to a string quartet. Strangers approach each other and talk to each other with ease — like longtime friends or you approach strangers and ask them about their hats (a Scottish military hat worn to keep their head warm) or if they know someone in the orchestra embroidered on their jacket (they do) and end up talking with them like longtime friends. “Don’t you feel the love?” I asked Diane. She laughed.

For dinner on Friday after striking out at three other restaurants, we ended up at the Oberlin Inn where our waitress seemed as if she were just learning the ropes but since she was our waitress last May this was not the case. Dinner was decent and inexpensive, compared to Bethesda.

Andrew’s friend is in the red cape.

After dinner on Friday we went to an Opera called Il Mondo della Luna (The World of the Moon) which was a lot of fun, once we realized we were not going to really “get it” and just went with the slapstick humor. One of Andrew’s friends played a lead role.

On Saturday, after a breakfast and chat with our hosts, Dean went to a lecture while Andrew slept in. Diane and I went shopping — I adore a shop called Bead Paradise that sells clothing in styles I really like — and has some great sales and friendly staff. “Do you feel the love yet?” I asked Diane. Diane laughed.

We met up with Dean and Andrew and went to lunch in the neighboring town of Elyria. After lunch Dean and Andrew went to a lecture while Diane and I explored the town and tried to find a white squirrel in  Tappan Square. At 4:00 we saw an a capella performance then made plans for dinner and the evening.

Diane and Andrew (the guy in back may have been someone famous too — or just knew someone famous)

Dinner was a disappointment — again all of the desirable restaurants were booked, so we went to an Italian restaurant we’d eaten at last year and vowed to avoid this year. The service was slow, the food mediocre, but the company was excellent (and we sat near someone famous in the area — maybe a former owner or manager of the Cleveland Indians?)

We’d hoped to see the Oberlin Aerialists again this year, but dinner took too long and we were tired by the time we left the restaurant.

At some point as we were leaving Oberlin, Diane turned to me and said, “Okay Dona, I feel the love now”. I smiled — I knew she would.