Flashback Friday: May 11, 1997

I graduated from college on May 11, 1997, 11 years ago this Sunday. It was Mother’s Day that day, just as it’s Mother’s Day on this May 11.

I was so very happy.

I’d graduated with honors. My parents, sister, and grandmother were there. I’d DONE it.

I was so very sad.

I was leaving some of the best friends I’d ever made. I was leaving a place that had been home for most of the previous four years. I was sadder still because I knew in my heart that the town WOULD still be home for years, even though I wouldn’t be there. (And it was, still is in some ways.)

I remember seeing a friend with whom I’d interned the previous year waiting to take a photo of his daughter, a classmate, before Baccalaureate, and seeing him again when I was walking into Commencement. My friend Mike, my best friend from childhood, and his wife, who were celebrating their first anniversary, waved at me from near the back of the auditorium. My family, with my dad on the aisle, all looked so proud.

I remember little about the ceremony, except for the fact that my name was listed in the program as being a December graduate… and knowing that I’d completed all the requirements to graduate… and wondering if my diploma would be in the diploma cover or not. It was. (Little did I know that handing the diploma to my dad as I walked out after the ceremony saved my mother 15 extra minutes of worry. When SHE saw that I was listed as a December graduate, she burst into tears, not knowing if I knew, and worrying about ME.)

After graduation, I didn’t get to say goodbye to Bryan and Leslie, who left right after the ceremony. (I’m still sad about that, 11 years later, and they remain some of my best friends ever.)

We had a small reception in my parents’ hotel room. Only one family was able to come. I knew it wasn’t personal — it was graduation day and Mother’s Day and Mike and Maria’s anniversary, after all — but I was so sad. I remember curling up in my mom’s lap and crying and crying and crying.

After awhile, I went back to my room — on a VERY empty hall — and finished packing. The resident assistant came by to check on me. I was in bed by that time, so she tucked me in. πŸ™‚ I cried again.

The next morning, I took one last “lap” around campus, took a few more pictures, and with mom next to me in the car, drove away from campus, something I’d sworn for weeks I wouldn’t be able to do. I was proud of myself.

Read other Friday Flashbacks here. And post your own. It’s fun!

Bryan and Leslie (taken after Baccalaureate). They’d been married almost a year at this point.

My favorite professor, Dr. Michael Longinow, and me.

(I have SCADS of photos of my family from that day, but eleven years and several moves have scattered my photos hither and yon. I was lucky to find these.)

9 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: May 11, 1997

  1. Dad

    Poignant reflections, Rebecca.
    Love, Dad

    Thanks, Dad. This time 11 years ago we were all at the banquet for the seniors. πŸ™‚ Good times…

    Reply
  2. lceel

    Thank you, for sharing. And well said.

    You’re welcome. I’m enjoying Flashback Friday. Lots of time for me to wax poetic about days gone by. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Barbara Ling

    What a thoughtful post! It’s been now 22 years since I’ve graduated from college and I well-remember not only the feelings of sadness from leaving the campus, but also Senior Week (where everyone bought machine gun water guns and soaked the dorm rooms).

    Ah, memories… πŸ™‚

    Barbara

    Thank you, Barbara! And thanks for sharing your memories of college graduation with me.

    Reply
  4. bits & pieces

    Thank you so much for sharing! It sounds like a tough experience, but it’s a touching story.

    I’m glad you enjoyed my post. πŸ™‚ Thank you for reading it.

    Reply
  5. merrymishaps

    That is most likely the day I graduated from college, too. (It was May 1997 anyway).

    I surely could not recall it in that much detail, though!

    I can’t remember what I had for dinner yesterday, but May of 1997? Lots of details. Go figure.

    Reply
  6. Jen

    Great story. Leaving college was so bittersweet for me, it’s still hard to think about that time!

    Jen, thanks for reading my sappy post. When did you graduate?

    Reply
  7. Colleen

    What a great memory! I had much different college experiences than most, so leaving wasn’t hard for me but I often wondered what it would have been like if it were different.

    Thanks for playing this week!

    See, and I can’t imagine anything different. It’s amazing how different people’s experiences can be, huh!

    I’m loving Flashback Friday. Thank you for hosting. It seems to be growing a little each week! Yay!

    Reply

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