Sunday, October 15 - Interlochen 35th Reunion, Day Last

1) Throughout the night I heard the sound of wind and breeze, so much so that I was surprised how warm it was when I stepped out early in the morning.

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2) In a development that will surprise no one who knows me, I was the very first person in the cafeteria. As Spring Byington famously said in Jezebel, "Punctuality is the politeness of kings, I always say." Also, coffee. Also, the internet.

3) Others drifted in, as they do, and we had good informal talk and joshing.

4) I recognized one of the - how shall I say this? - elderly ladies who had performed at the coffeehouse, and I both thanked her for performing and congratulated her on her performance. (The ovation she got was remarkable and earned.) It was a wonderful opportunity for me to hear about the - how shall I say this? - informal verging on rowdy atmosphere of coffeehouse vs. the more formal, recital-based atmosphere of student activities in the 1960s. And it made me reflect that, as students, coffeehouse concerns only one generation and its needs and likes; but alumni coffeehouse must take into account multiple generations - and sometimes those needs oppose each other.

5) Suddenly, it was 9:15! Time to haul ass to the memorial service. (Spin the GTS Wheel and you get "I've gotta motor or I'll miss that funeral."

6) En route through the concourse, I overtook a group from the 1960s, including a man who was asking how Lois G****w died. "Oh, she drowned!" I chimed in. "We were told she drowned at Camp back in the 1930s. When we were students they actually found the original dedication plaque and mounted it inside the theatre. I remember it said 'to enrich America musically.'" Well, it was like I'd given this guy the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. And that led to more questions at which I was at a loss to answer. I hope he reaches out to Byron, since he's been our official archivist now for so many years.

7) The service was sensitively done, and included two organists from the Class of 2019 - including, I was surprised to see, a girl. (Why is it that there are so few women organists?) And she was wearing metallic gold leather organ shoes . . .

 When the chapel was renovated a few years ago, they updated the organ ranks.

When the chapel was renovated a few years ago, they updated the organ ranks.

8) M***** Jacobi, the daughter of the man who was president when I was a student, is actually a pastor, and she was invited to preside over the service. I was so very impressed with what she had to say. A good blend of readings and music (though I'll confess to being surprised by the inclusion of "What I Did For Love") and I wish more people had been there. They didn't read the names - but alas, that list is already very long and is only going to grow. (And we don't read the names at the MIT service, either.)

9) Next stop, Corson, for the alumni panel, which included a NASA scientist, a man working on international literacy for USAID, and a transgender pianist now writing for television. Gives you an idea of the breadth of our community - something we don't often consider. The panel used the pechakucha format - 20 images put on a screen for 20 seconds each as they narrate live - which was unfamiliar for me.

10) During the Q&A, the faculty moderator said something about the Academy schedule and how scheduled the students are. "Some of the residence life staff say 'There are four hours when we don't know what they're doing!" And when I raised my hand and was called on I said "I just want to encourage the faculty and staff to LIIIIIIGHTEN UP! Unstructured time is necessary for the creative mind!" And that got some applause.

11) En route to the farewell luncheon, I ended up falling in with some folks who'd performed at coffeehouse and had what I'd describe as an enthusiastic exchange of ideas.

12) Farewell luncheon in the gym. In little early '80s group someone brought up "How did you get to Interlochen? Were you involved in the process?" And it didn't happen the same way for any of us. I told of the story of my dad finding the ad in Natl. Geographic again. Others had had IAA recommended by teachers or neighbors, or had heard about it themselves and did all the work themselves to get here.

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13) Nice farewell remarks from the new president, and another good opportunity to talk with him and his wife. He's the right one to lead us now.

14) Lots of hugs, lots of promises to be in touch - like every reunion.

15) And then packing and a very necessary 40-minute NAP in my remote, musty cabin. The alarm brought me to at 3 PM, and I sleepily dashed over to Stone to have some time by the lake to myself.

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 Not the greatest picture, but accurately reflects my mood at having to leave.

Not the greatest picture, but accurately reflects my mood at having to leave.

16) And then surprise, an impromptu Alumni Council reunion! To my surprise and delight, my friend Paula was passing through, and she and I and Robert and Brian got to catch up on many things. That was really special, just sitting around in Stone on those characterless (but admittedly comfortable) blue sofas.

17) The time came to leave, and I had serious confusion when the nice lady at the Stone desk said to go to "the yellow poles by the welcome center." "Welcome Center? What welcome center?" "It's by the entrance." "Which entrance?" And on and on . . . she had to get out a map and show me, and it's a new building. And if she'd said "By the Whippy Dip" I'd've known exactly what she was talking about. I guess I feel old now.

18) Me and two other alumni in the crotchie van. And we saw a rainbow many times on the way! A good omen, we all decided. And that's the happy ending of a memorable, sometimes bittersweet weekend.

 This photo does not even  begin  to suggest how beautiful it really was.

This photo does not even begin to suggest how beautiful it really was.

POSTSCRIPT: My departing flight was three hours late leaving, so that I missed my connection, stayed overnight in Chicago for a total of four hours, got on the first flight back to Boston, and was inside my home just before 11 AM. And, as I often point out, "If that's the worst thing to happen, I'm doin' great." :-)