My fans have all been wondering… Where’s Gay?
You betcha! My youngest son just graduated from Duke University! I know, so proud of him! My husband and I are kvelling!
A wonderful COVID in-person graduation, that almost did not happen. First the graduation was ‘on’, then it was ‘cancelled’, then it was back ‘on’ again for students only.
Oh me, oh my! Can you imagine the uproar among students and parents? After surviving a rigorous four year Duke education, with a pandemic thrown in for good measure, how could you NOT invite two guests? My son was right: it would be so sad to graduate alone, without parents, guardians or mentors.
Just imagine the uproar this caused! Students, parents, grandparents, and siblings were biatchin’ and moanin’ and petitioned the President of the University to include guests to this revised graduation.
And guess what? Students were permitted to invite two guests to attend the graduation.
Planes (no trains), Automobiles, Car Services, Rental Cars
Oy vey! Graduation back on! But wait! The graduation was now scheduled for a different day! Oh Shiat! When the graduation was cancelled, we immediately cancelled the hotel room(s) at the swanky hotel on campus, the plane tickets and the rental car. That was big bucks baby!
But the aggravation of it all was painful. Plane tickets purchased. Plane tickets cancelled. Plane tickets purchased again. Hotel rooms were cancelled; no hotel rooms available to re-book for the new graduation date.
Oh… and yes, and we could not even get a dinner reservation! A real travesty!
Reality Set In
But wait! Did we forget…the Pandemic?
Can you imagine? Remember those pre-COVID days? You know, when people attended events in-person, and shook hands, hugged and shared a kiss? Well, thank you President Vincent Price (yes, his name)! Duke gave the Class of 2021 a graduation with all the regalia that typically accompanies a graduation. Woo hoo!
However, 2020 was not an ordinary year. I noticed when we were walking to the stadium, there was a ‘silence’ in the air. Where was the excitement? It seems over the past fourteen months, people forgot how to be in the presence of others at a celebratory event.
If you know Gay, there would be silence no more! As we walked to a football stadium (think about this — walking to a football stadium where people can be a little tipsy, happy, and LOUD), I started clapping my hands and cheering on the parents and grads.
And why not! Of course, my husband was running away from me… I was making a scene at Duke! True, I was loud. Again, if you know me, I am loud and proud!
My response: Oh Pa-leeze! Everyone needed snap out of the pandemic stupor. And lo and behold, people were smiling, and talking and cheering!
President Price welcomed all attendees to the annual event, which he acknowledged was no longer annual due to COVID. Oy. Here we go again. All I could think about was how the Class of 2020 could not, did not have a graduation. Wow. We were really lucky that Duke ‘gave’ the grads a proper send-off. Bravo.
Commencement speakers acknowledged the COVID elephant in the football stadium and echoed heartfelt emotion for all that we collectively lost in 2020: loved ones, socialization, and person to person contact.
John Legend was the commencement speaker, who’s words of wisdom were breathtaking, refreshing, and inspiring. A brilliant man, who eloquently spoke of social and racial inequities, and described how he seeks to effectuate change by being part of the solution, not part of the problem.
And… he even serenaded the audience ! Pinch me! Like OMG! In truth, he felt the same way. The last time he addressed a live audience was over fourteen months ago. We all shared a collective sigh of relief and a smile.
The Duke graduation gave everyone a renewed sense of optimism for a new normal and a brighter future. Thank you.
No Mo’ Educatin’ Kids!
Hallelujah! We not only saw the light at the end of the tunnel but sprinted past the educatin’ yo’ childrin’ finish line! No mo’ yellin’ for kids to do homework, study for tests, apply to college!
We did it! With a huge sigh of relief, the twenty-five plus years of torture we spent as parents educating our sons was thankfully in our rearview mirror. That is… the rearview mirror of my son’s Prius!
My husband Michael bid a fond farewell to Duke, Durham, North Carolina, my son Ben and I. Smart man; he flew back to NY immediately after the graduation.
As for me, the mom clock was still running. As always, I drew the short end of the stick and had to pack up my baby’s apartment. In a year and a half, I moved that kid out of a college dorm room, into a studio apartment, then into a two bedroom apartment, only to finally move him out on Sunday. Keep in mind that he barely lived in these apartments because Campus was closed due to COVID.
Yes, it was an absolute pleasure to pay monthly rent on a college apartment that no one lived in!
We packed up the Prius, which was filled to capacity. Lucky for us that I carved out a small peep hole to look out the rearview mirror. My son and I bid adieu to Duke on Monday morning and embarked on a ten hour car ride to New York. That is a lot of verses to 99 bottles of beer on the wall! Truly a bittersweet goodbye.
Cheers to Gay!
Hell yes! I got two kids accepted to Duke, now what? Time for moi! Party time!
What to do now?
To be continued…