Today at a very swish luncheon I was inducted into the Quarter Century Club at ye Instytytte after 25 total years at the alumni association. It has been an occasion for a lot of thought and reflection for me (always with Robert Morley dying in The African Queen in the background and saying “Mother would be so proud.”). And made a bit more horrifying by this collection of old photos that I left behind when I went to ye Byllet in 1999 - and which were waiting for me when I boomeranged back in 2003.
What we wear is symbolic. (I always loved that Pat Nixon wore one of her favorite Adele Davis suits from her First Lady days for her 50th wedding anniversary; Mother took the “old clothes” view of “Couldn’t she afford something new for something this important?”) I did get out the silver polish last night to buff up my beloved silver cufflinks from ye Tyfynny, given to me at my farewell party in 1999. As I originally promised, I monogrammed one with my initials and the other with MIT, and I always wear them for Occasions Such As This. And I had gotten a new bow tie in purple and silver, and put on my “suit of lightweight mourning” as Patrick Dennis said. So I felt like I looked quite respectable.
There’s nothing like feeling all dressed up and nearly landing flat on your ass after slipping on the ice, but that’s almost what happened as soon as I left my front steps! A jogger even passed by and said “Careful, it’s slippery!” So I said “To hell with this!” and splurged on an Yber. And got to the office at 7:30.
There were several kind greetings and drive-by visits during the morning, and I got an especial thrill when a longtime friend and colleague swooped in with a two-tone poster of congratulations. Alas, I was on the phone relating to alumni and couldn’t thank her. This afternoon’s staff meeting included the annual awards, and I was surprised and pleased that they began with a couple special mentions, including this milestone for me. Later I received an award with a contingent of 11 colleagues.
And then OMG - RENEE FLEMING! Renee Fleming Herself gave the annual Compton Lecture on “Music and the Mind,” simply phenomenal. What a capstone to a red-letter day!
After all that, I caught a Doris Day bus (meaning that it showed up as soon as I arrived at the bus stop) hoping to dine at Bar Lyon - but they are closed on Monday. :-( So it was off to Stella in Blackstone Square for a Burning Sensation cocktail (oh my), arancini, roast chicken, and no dessert in a gesture of restraint.
As I said earlier, this has been an occasion for a lot of thought and reflection, about what I’ve achieved and haven’t, how the Association itself has grown in sophistication but lost in weirdness, about the generations of alumni I’ve seen come through and how they, too, have changed. And gratitude. Some really wonderful people have come into my life as a result of this job; I’m grateful for them.
Tomorrow things will be back to normal, but I’ll have a new lapel pin. :-) It’s important to celebrate these milestones!