If you know me at all, you are probably aware of my flair for the nostalgic. I mean, come one, I'm an historian and an archivist. That's a double-whammy of pondering the past. It's graduation season. And today, ceremonies were held at both of my beloved alma maters.
Midwest Central High School -- good ol' MCHS. Home of the Raiders. It's crazy to think it's been FIVE years since I graduated. Our reunion is coming up at the end of the summer and I can't wait! It's not like I really need to reconnect with my class, I'm still pretty close with my group of friends. It's pretty easy to stay in touch when you went from kindergarten through senior year with the same 85 people. I have literally had the same group of friends since third grade. And my best friend since pre-school. Even though we have all gone our separate ways, most of them are still in the area and we all get together when I'm in Illinois. It seems like just yesterday that we were all sitting in that stifling gym. Getting embarrassing awards (Oh wait, that was just Randy and me -- 4 years of perfect attendance -- what nerds!). Walking out in a shower of silly string. Parties at the Forman Center. Shopping for our college dorm rooms. But today, another class is sitting in that hot gymnasium surrounded by literally all of Manito, Green Valley, and Forest City. Another class is heading out into the world to do incredible things. I am so proud of you all!
And oh, Monmouth College. The school I love so well. I cannot believe it has been a year already. I remember everything about that day. I have never been so happy. Or so sad. I remember my parents bringing me back to my apartment after taking me to dinner. While everyone else was moving out and heading back home, my parents dropped me off and said goodbye. I was so excited that I got to spend another summer in my favorite place. But when I got into my apartment, I sat down on my couch and cried. Gosh, I even remember what I was wearing -- probably because I got mascara on my sweatshirt and it took a couple washings to get it out. But I digress...I don't think that I was sad. I texted some other friends who were still in town and we sat in Bowers toasting our accomplishments with PBRs as the sun set on the day and our college careers. Today though, as another class and my dear, dear friends graduate from Monmouth, I feel that same feeling again. It's nostalgia. It's that overwhelming feeling when every memory you have flashes in your mind like a slide show on a projector screen. And I wish more than anything that I could have been there today -- hugging my friends like I was hugged last year, wiping mascara from my eyes, and toasting accomplishments with horrible beer. I could not be prouder of the Class of 2012! I love you all!