Monday, May 24, 2021

Pomp and Circumstance by Jenn McKinlay

 JENN McKINLAY: When I dropped Hooligan 2 off at Kindergarten way back in 2008, I had no idea the next thirteen years would whip by at the speed of light. H2 was a little league playing, skateboard riding, Avatar (the cartoon)-loving scamp and I swear I blinked -- for a nanosecond -- and now he’s taller than me, is bi-literate (Eng/Span), and a complete gym rat fitness nut -- no, we have no idea where he came from. Thankfully, he gets to have an actual graduation ceremony with limited seating -- unlike the poor graduates last year -- so Hub and I will be in the stadium bleachers this Thursday night to clap and cheer as he strides across the stage to get his diploma like his brother did two years ago. 


The graduation ceremony hasn’t changed much since I received my diploma -- many, many years ago. It’s the same awkward shuffle march to Pomp and Circumstance, it’s hot, the seats are hard, a baby is always crying, the speeches are long, and your hands get tired of clapping after graduate one hundred and one, still, you soldier on because it’s a magical moment. There is something about witnessing the turning of the tassel, as the students move it from right to left that gets me every time. Seriously, it’s a sob fest.


As for my own graduation, I remember being so thrilled to be an adult -- finally! I think I thought I’d wake up the next day a completely different person. I did not. Instead, I nursed a mild hangover (no, I was not of age) while I put on my fabulous polyester uniform and headed to my part-time gig at  Friendly’s to dish ice cream to rambunctious grade schoolers while chatting with my friends. Still, I was a graduate and that felt pretty amazing. College was months away and we had a whole summer to be free. Kind of wish I could relive that summer all over again, you know? 


Jenn (center) with Diane (L) and Cindy (R).


How about you Reds? What are your special (or not) memories of high school graduation?   


LUCY BURDETTE: Jenn, congrats to you and your hub for raising such interesting young men! I don’t remember a lot of detail about my high school graduation, except for the singing. This was the peak of my musical career, singing with the prestigious high school chorale. (I am what’s called a ‘leaning alto’, meaning don’t even think about asking me to sing in a quartet or as a solo. I think I was included based on personality and persistence.) We had bonded so closely and it was definitely bittersweet to be saying goodbye. Picture is of me with our chorale director, Al Dorhout. We adored him!


Lucy with Mr. Dorhout


JENN: Mr. D. had righteous sideburns, Lucy!

HALLIE EPHRON: I remember… just about nothing at all. What I wore, yes - but only because I have a picture of me and my mother after. The photo my parents took from their seats of me, supposedly walking across to get my diploma, are basically of the backs of the heads of people sitting in front of them. Who spoke? No idea. I was so ready to be on a plane out of there, on to another coast and a start-over-from-scratch with new friends in a big city. 


Hallie's graduation

JENN: Hallie you look beautiful! So classy!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oops, I didn't graduate from high school. I dropped out at sixteen, eventually got my GED, went to college(s). So no cap and gown, no prom. I did graduate from college however, and I mostly remember how hot it was that day--the ceremony was outside--and I was sweltering under the gown. I have no idea who spoke. My hair was really short and in the photos my shoes looked ridiculously clunky. But even that graduation was almost a year after I'd actually finished my degree in the summer, so I didn't even get to graduate with my classmates.  But I had been to England for the first time the previous September, and all I could think about was getting back and traveling as much as I could on my own. I had already moved on. 


JENN: You are a force of nature, Debs! I love it!



HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, yikes I have no memory of this. Except  for one. (Backstory: I had spent much of my senior year in Germany, and did NOT want to come home, and my mother forced me to return for the last semester of senior year. I was not in the flow, not at all, so there was no camaraderie or sentimentality about it. I just wanted it all to be over so I could be in the world and do real things.)  

Anyway.  School was over and classes were over, or course, done and  dusted. I had gotten a great dress for the ceremony--right out of Carnaby Street. A white lace mini-dress.  With white lace stockings and chunky shoes.

I loved it. (I probably looked like a big walking doily, but in my mind was Jean Shrimpton.)  So I showed up at the gym for the ceremony (Were my parents there? They must have been.) 

And the vice-principal took me aside and said “You have to go home and change. That skirt is too short.”

And I said: “What’re you going to do, expel me?”

He told me to put on the graduation gown and not take it off.

And that’s all I remember. So sad that there are no photos. But maybe it’s for the best.


Jean Shrimption shocks the world with hem four inches above the knee!
I can totally see our Hank looking just like this. Fabulous!

RHYS BOWEN:  Hank, you were as feisty as I was! But we had no graduation in England. We had prize day at which some of us got awards. But I do remember my college graduation—diploma presented by the Queen Mum and highlight of the day was that she recognized my dad. He exhibited every year at the British industries fair and the royals always came for a preview and chatted. She saw him as she walked down the aisle and gave him a big smile. Made his day!


JENN: Diploma from the Queen Mum! I'm gobsmacked!


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Honestly, all my best graduations have been my kids' graduations. Here's what I recall from mine:
High school. Hot. We were seated alphabetically and I didn't know anyone around me (it was a class of about 450.) Gift: Electric typewriter with an erase cartridge so I didn't have to use Wite Out! Aw, yisss.
College: Hot. Raining, so we relocated into the gym, which smelled bad. Gift: Small black and white portable TV. Cool.
Grad school: Didn't go.
Law school: Hot. Beautiful setting, in the oldest church in Portland, ME, First Parish UU. Gift: Ross and I went out to dinner.

My kids' graduations were much better, because I didn't have to wear an uncomfortable polyester robe, I got to sit with people I knew, and, unlike when I was marching, I get hopelessly weepy the moment I hear the strains of Elgar's tune. When I was graduating (and it's true, I maybe overdid it) the ceremony was kind of a speed bump on my way to something bigger and better (or, in the case of law school, a summer cramming for the bar exam.) By the time I got to see my children graduate, I was old enough to really appreciate these moments that hinge yesterday and tomorrow in our lives.


JENN: I agree, Julia! The boys' graduations have been my faves, this is assuming Hooligan 2 doesn't burst into flames during finals this week and not graduate. Both my dudes are photo-finish graduates so the suspense has been INTENSE! Friday, I plan to nap! LOL.

What about you, Readers? What do you remember of your high school graduation?


79 comments:

  1. Congratulations to your son, Jenn . . . .

    What do I remember about high school graduation? Not much . . . . Someone spoke; we all got diplomas. Girls had white robes; guys had black.

    We graduated in the Ocean Grove Auditorium; one of our classmates played the huge pipe organ; we sang two songs as part of the program: The Lord’s Prayer and This Is My Country . . . .

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    1. The color of the robes! Ours were our school colors - girls in white boys in maroon. The school owned them and we turned them back in afterwards. Now you have to buy them ($80) and they’re all black.

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  2. Until you asked, I hadn't realized I have NO memories of my graduation and no photos (Mom and Dad were horrible photographers). What I do remember is the party we had in our garage immediately following the ceremony. It poured rain but my friends and family were there and we had a blast. I remember someone shaking up a bottle of Coke and spraying a bunch of us. We just laughed and stood out in the rain to rinse it off! I suspect my mom was NOT amused.

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    1. That’s a wonderful memory, Annette! We all went to a beach party and went swimming in our clothes and none of our moms were amused.

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    2. Do you solemnly swear to be amused at whatever H2 gets up to at the afterparty, Jenn?

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  3. I love these stories! I never walked through a single graduation. I was happily off being an exchange student in Brazil during the second half of my senior year in high school. My college graduation was the same weekend as a cousin's wedding in northern California, and the big family gathering seemed a more attractive choice (this was 1974 and graduations just seemed dumb).

    The one I regret missing was my doctoral degree. But I'd graduated a semester earlier and moved to Boston. Two good friends had also moved away. My parents were divorced, so how was that going to work? Still, I wish I'd gone back, and I wish I'd invited my father, who had been an undergrad at IU and whose great-great grandfather founded the damn university. So I've never marched, never got my doctoral hood. I have few regrets in my life, but that's one big one.

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    1. I'm so sorry to read this, Edith!

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    2. Edith, have you ever thought of calling them and getting your hood?

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    3. That is a shame, Edith. Sometimes the practical choices aren’t for the best in the long run. Also, I like Hank’s idea.

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    4. Ooh, good idea. I could wear it around my office on slow writing days (like TODAY...) when I sometimes don a tiara to give myself courage!

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    5. OMG, Edith, I'm getting a tiara.

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    6. I've long longed for a tiara, Edith. You've inspired me!

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    7. Even if all you do is look at a tiara it's worth it to have one. A friend gave me a real one (pageant-level) for my 50th birthday.

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  4. Jenn, congratulations on H-2's graduation. I know that you are one of those mom's who wept when you you dropped him at kindergarten so, bring a hanky!

    The only auditorium large enough was the Bushnell Memorial Hall for 565 grads and parents. It was bittersweet. I loved high school. I was not popular, but I had friends. It's so funny how the years go by and when you meet friends from back then, those same feelings are suddenly just there. That is why so many, many people never can go to reunions. I love them.

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    1. I loved high school, too, except that pesky academic part. LOL.

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  5. Hmmm...what do I remember about my graduation. Well, they made us go to a rehearsal and some kid showed up drunk as a skunk to it. As for the ceremony, I tried to get out of going since it is a complete waste of my time. But that was a non-starter with my parents so off to the "event" I went.

    We had some guy there to give one of those mind-numbing rah-rah speeches and yet when he started talking it wasn't one of those speeches. No, instead it was basically an advertisement for the town's 350th anniversary celebration later in the summer of that year. I remember saying loudly enough for more than a few people to hear, "I thought we were getting a speech, not an infomercial".

    I was so fed up with the whole academic experience by the point of graduation that when they finished the ceremony, we were supposed to let the Honor Society students walk out first. I was among the group of graduates that said, "F*** this, I'm out of here", refused to wait and just walked to the back, unzipped the ridiculous blue outfit they made us wear dropping it to the floor and walked right out the back door. And done.

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    1. Rebel! This surprises me not one little bit.

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  6. Ontario was one of two provinces that had mandatory Grade 13 so I was 19 1/2 when I graduated. Our high school ceremony was also in October, so I had to return to Toronto from the University of Waterloo (100 km/60 mi away) to attend. No graduation cap or gown, thank goodness. I remember my mom sewed my red wool crepe dress. We each had to walk up to the microphone to give a short speech, so I thanked my geography teachers who encouraged me to major in environmental studies and walked off the stage with my diploma.

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    1. I would love to see that red dress Grace! How many students were there? I can't imagine sitting through all their speeches...

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    2. ROBERTA: There was only about 80 students since many did not come back for the graduation ceremony. Our speeches were supposed to be a 1 minute long max.

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    3. Wow! Good for you, Grace. Like Lucy, I’d love to see the dress.

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  7. High school graduation in the packed, 100 degree gym. Though it was a public school, girls had to wear modest long white dresses. As I processed through the arches decorated with flowers, the younger sisters of the grads holding them sprayed me with squirt guns, so I emerged dripping wet. The cheerleader sitting next to me sobbed through the entire ceremony because the best days of her life were over. I was ready to move on.

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    1. That sounds like the beginning of a summer horror movie, Margaret. Yikes!

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    2. How sad, Margaret, that someone thought high school was the peak. But I knew a few of those girls--and guys--too.

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  8. Oh, high school graduation. They said my name seven times and mispronounced it six (including once by the principal *who knew my mother personally.*). The only person who got it right was the gym teacher reading out the names. We had to give her a card and say our name. When I said, "It's Led-er-man," she said, "Oh good, I thought I had been wrong all these years and you just had been too nice to tell me." (Another teacher where we knew the family.) I high-fived my dad on the way back to my seat after getting my diploma and that's about all you need to know to understand how I felt about high school.

    College was much nicer. I was crying for a lot of it because I was excited to leave and wanted to stay all at the same time.

    The Girl had a lovely ceremony in 2018 at the Soldiers & Sailors Museum in Pittsburgh, but The Boy was one of the unfortunate class of 2020. The school managed to bring in the grads and their parents in groups of six so they could at least walk across the stage, but then we had to leave immediately. No hanging around the quad for pictures, no chatting with friends.

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  9. I barely recall my high school graduation. I do remember crying, but don't know why, up until the ceremony. I remember being struck by the fact that we were the class of '64 and we had 64 class members. One other thing I remember was a girl who tried to give her speech. I think she was valedictorian. She started and then just froze. Started again and then froze. Later, she went around apologizing to people for ruining the ceremony. I didn't think she had ruined anything at all but I felt very bad for her.

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    1. That's a lot of pressure to give "the speech". Poor thing. I bet she remembers her graduation - not fondly.

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  10. I did not attend my high school grad ceremony, as I was already in France for what we would now call my gap year. I spent time in Paris and then Grenoble. Which was great, obviously, but missing that first grad made me rabid about attending every convocation thereafter -- and I loved each ceremony for the pomp and, well, ceremony.

    Edith: I hear your regret. I am so sorry you carry that with you to this day. My mum's advice to me before I left for France was, "The only things in life I have regretted are those things I did not do." It set me up for a year of doing everything...and nothing bad ever happened to me.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda. Mostly in life I HAVE done all the things and am quite happy about it.

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    2. Glad to hear it, Edith! Good on you :)

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    3. I love that motto! Brilliant. I have always told the Hooligans, the only things we regret are the chances we don't take -- I doubt that they're listening to me, though. LOL.

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  11. For my college graduation, my mother gave me The Oxford Book of English Poetry, which still hold court on my bedside table, and a specially bound copy of my favorite book as a child, The Secret Garden, in which she wrote "For the little girl in us all." Get all teary just thinking about it...

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    1. Amy, I reread The Secret Garden last summer, and loved it every bit as much as I remembered.

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    2. I love that book. I read it to my guys when they were young and fell in love with it all over again.

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  12. Wow, digging through the mists of time...We voted to wear white formals for our outdoor graduation instead of the cap and gowns that our parents had to buy on the first day of our freshman year and we wore to death after that. Did I mention it was an all-girls school - no young men were traumatized by our sartorial options :). There were 25 in my class and we each received a rose with our diploma.

    I did not attend my college graduation. It was outdoors, in June, in Miami, Florida and because the bursar had to confirm that all fees were paid, we were not given diplomas, only the lovely faux leather covers.

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  13. Let's see... I remember little about the ceremony itself, but I do remember going out and drinking a disgustingly sweet Boones Farm pink wine with my best friend that night. She got sick in my new-to-me Mustang II, truly testing the bonds of friendship. By the time I graduated from college I was already married to my first husband, so memories of the graduation are all intermingled with memories of the bad marriage.

    I was very proud at my son's high school graduation, and it was truly lovely to have both his grandmothers there to share the day. One of those family moments I will always treasure. But by the time he graduated from college, his strong preference was to NOT walk, and I couldn't see the point if forcing him to.

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    1. Boone's Farm, eeewwww! Now that is a blast from the past that I would not want to revisit. Or Ripple. It's a wonder that we ever learned to drink proper wine.

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    2. I feel lucky that my oldest had his three remaining grandparents there. Youngest will have to make do with just his parents and his brother (we finagled and extra ticket). My mom is very bitter that it's a limited ceremony as she's been to all of her grandchildren's to date. I get it.

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    3. Jenn, too bad your mom can't be there.

      I certainly consumed some Boone's Farm apple wine in my day. Disgusting!

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  14. Oh my goodness, Jenn! That photo! Two things: no, three. One, that is exactly what I thought I looked like. Too, that is exactly what I did NOT look like!
    And three, my skirt was shorter than that.
    But oh, somehow this picture brings back so many memories…

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    1. We should all think of ourselves as Jean Shrimpton! And I just saw that the caption has her name spelled wrong *face palm* this is why I need copyeditors. LOL.

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  15. I love our various experiences… This is so fascinating!

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  16. I remember nothing about my high school graduation except I had to speak about something.

    I didn't attend my college graduation, seriously, umpteen graduates, but I did go to the College of Nursing baccalaureate. Some dignitary spoke, I know not who. But I do remember one thing he said. Dr. Welby was really a nurse! Because he listened to his patients and cared for them.

    And the best part? A bottle of Dom Perignon after.

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    1. Love the Dom Perignon - that should be mandatory!

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  17. I went to the same school K-12, so I knew EVERYONE I graduated with, all 91 of them. I wore my great-great-aunt’s confirmation dress (opposed to our prize day when they made us wear our caps and gowns, which we felt cheapened the main event, so I hemmed up my white gown and wore black lace stockings and stiletto booties). I remember my great-aunt offering me one of her Valiums in case I was nervous about my valedictorian speech.

    At Purdue I just remember running through the engineering fountain with my friends afterwards.

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  18. I went to my step-granddaughter's high school graduation this past Saturday, and it was kinda weird but interesting. She was home-schooled, with 20 kids graduating in her home school group. I spent much of the ceremony watching the kids' "growing up" videos and imagining who they might become once they moved on to the outside world.

    I definitely remember who spoke at my high school graduation, because it was me. Both the valedictorian (who went on to become a doctor) and the salutatorian (me) were invited to speak and, in those innocent days, nobody asked to see our speeches before we gave them. Well, okay, my grandmother wanted to know what I was going to say beforehand, but I wouldn't tell her. I'm sure she thought I would rattle off some anti-establishment/pro-feminist screed--not an outrageous expectation, actually--but what I really said was much the same thing as I say these days: know who you are and what you want; be brave about going out into the world to get it. And good luck.

    My college graduation was a December thing, and what I remember most about it is that my father, who was a professor at the same college, made a point of walking in the procession with the senior faculty so he could be there for the ceremony, but not have to sit in the bleachers with Mom's side of the family. They were divorced, and it hadn't been pretty. Did I go out drinking afterwards, with my crazy theatre friends? Probably not, but I do believe that ceremonies to mark such rites of passage are important. I would never have just stayed home and skipped it. I earned that darn degree, and I wanted to formally mark the end of my educational career.

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    1. I feel the same. These rights of passage are important. A lot of the Hooligans classmates are skipping since they've been online for a year and a half and I feel like they're missing something but to each his own, as they say.

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  19. I remember lining up outside the gymnasium and having a bird poop on the head of one of the most popular girls in my class. It seemed so funny at the time! When my classmates and I started reconnecting on Facebook (years ago now) one of them told me her father had old video footage of our graduation which showed me chattering away in line before we processed in. That seemed so odd to me because as hearing loss took hold of me in my 40s I became so quiet and introverted that I hardly remembered being outgoing and chatty.

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    1. How interesting it must have been to see a younger you in a different place in life. The bird poop -- hilarious and I wasn't even there.

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  20. My memories of high school graduation are bittersweet. No one in my family came, so I had to ride with my girlfriend's family. As we were lining up, I was sent to the end of the line, to my astonishment, standing with Jane Brewer. She and I had gone to all four schools together, and she always sat behind me since my maiden name was Brenner. But she was always the tallest in class, and I was always one of the shortest. So when they lined us up by height she looked at me and said, "Karen Brenner? Little Karen Brenner?". I hadn't noticed how much I'd grown in high school. Duh.

    My dad came over to the house afterwards (he and my mom had been divorced for two years by then), and gave me a watch. And it was the last time I ever saw him, because he died a month later, age 39.

    Because I never forgot how it felt for my parents to be so offhand about my graduation I never missed any of my daughters'. All three of them walked at Music Hall in Cincinnati, and I got to see one get her nursing degree, one get an engineering degree, and one get a degree in microbiology. Then a PhD in microbiology, and a Masters in diabetes education, both of which required travel, to Miami and NYC. I myself never got the chance to finish college, so maybe I value it for that reason.

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    1. I completely understand. My parents were there for me for both and they went together, which I appreciated because they were divorced and it hadn't been pleasant. They were always good about that.

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    2. That watch must have meant so much to you, Karen, after your father died. So young!

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  21. First, Big Congrats Jenn for getting both your HBoys through the first 12 years, and Congratulations to gym rat H2, who bears to resemblance to Gboy2. He lives at the gym also. Still better than the alternative. Now graduations. Well, like Debs I escaped from boarding school early and never really finished my education formally. Still, here I am. However daughter, Olivia, has given us enough graduations to make up for mine. Her high school graduation is memorable for the poppies which only bloomed once in our NY garden providing a backdrop for a lovely lunch party followed by a very windy graduation on the field with the wind coming toward us and covering us with grit. Graduation at Bates was a very grand affair with a President's reception for the parents with the biggest bowl of shrimp I have ever seen, and I've seen a few. It set my standard for Maine entertaining. My father came from England with my sister, as my mum was not well enough to travel, to see his eldest grandchild graduate which made it a rather fraught weekend as he was missing my mum. I was able to enjoy the following years graduation of her boyfriend, again back at Bates, more than Olivia's. Of course I was poud but managing the family dynamic was a challenge. Then Olivia went for her MBA from the Simmons School of Management. At that time the only school in the USA for females getting their advanced degrees. When the President asked the grads, sitting in the front, to turn around and applaud their families who had supported them through this process, it was a moment for tears and pride.

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    1. I want to see that shrimp bowl, Celia! And bravo on your scholar. That is an achievement!

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  22. My high school years verged on bizarre. I started out at a public high school known for its academic excellence in Houston. My class had about 900 students. Dad was transferred to New Orleans in the middle of my junior year. I finished it at an all-girl public high school in Metairie that was so far behind what I'd been studying in Houston that I could have just stayed home. My senior year was at a private Episcopal school with a senior class of 60. The girls who ran things chose to have senior girls wear white formals and boys white tuxes for graduation. There were candles in wrought iron stands on both sides of the aisle. Honest to god, it looked like a mass wedding. I can't remember if there was a party afterwards. There had been a number of them leading up to the main event. I just remember being so relieved to be out of there.

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    1. I think the relief is universal. Even H2 is so ready to be done but also appreciating the moment, knowing that it's the end of an era (childhood) for him.

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    2. Wow Pat, that must have been an amazing scene with the white clothing and candles. And so hard for you to finish your high school years in 3 places!

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    3. I think that is why I feel like I have no roots and no connections to school. My college years got interrupted too. No school reunions for me!

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  23. The biggest thing I remember about my high school graduation was how much I was smiling. I hadn't expected it. I was attending the local community college the next year, and still living at home. The college was literally next door to my high school (a chain link fence separated them). And yet I was smiling so much that day. I just couldn't stop.


    That was my first graduation of any kind. Over the years, I have gone to more than my fair share. I worked at a college for close to 15 years, and I knew someone graduating most years. And I worked with the youth at a church for almost as long, so I would attend some of their graduations as well. It's so nice not sitting through graduations any more.

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    1. It comes in waves, doesn't it? First it's the graduations, then the weddings, then the babies. I'm no where near ready for the next two stages. Eep!

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  24. Beautiful photos, Jungle Reds!

    Rhys, I love that story about the Queen Mum. She looked like the older sister of my grandfather who looked like Earl Mountbatten (Louis).

    Hallie, that is a gorgeous photo of you. You look like you could be an actress in a movie.

    Julia, I love that photo of you with your family.

    When I graduated from high school, our graduation was at the big auditorium attached to the City Public Library.

    Barely remember my high school graduation, though I remember my college graduation. I almost did not make it to my graduation because my hair stylist was more interested in chatting with an assistant to a big name Celebrity than focusing on my hair. Yes, I left the salon with my hair wet. He had finished washing my hair and was slooooow in drying my hair because he was more interested in gossiping with the assistant to the celebrity. Naturally, I never went back to that stylist and I had that stylist for ten years! No idea why he would do that. He never did that before.

    My university graduation was very nice though it was a very warm day. I should have worn a linen dress instead of the dress that I wore.


    Diana

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    1. That's the one thing with graduations -- they're always hot! And how weird of your stylist to flake like that.

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    2. Jenn, agreed that it was weird of my stylist to flake like that. Luckily, I did not need a haircut. All he managed to do was wash though he did not finish blow drying. Luckily it was a warm day so my long hair managed to get dry eventually with frizz. LOL

      Diana

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    3. I think that stylist was hot for somebody, but clearly not for you or your hair.

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    4. Gigi, that is funny. He was gay. The assistant was a woman who was with her kid and she was chatting.

      Do hair stylists as a general rule like to chat?

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  25. Congrats, Jen! I hardly remember anything about high school graduation, except that I had talked my way into the band senior year(I don't play a band instrument, and didn't then, but could read music) We didn't play Pomp & Circumstance but the Triumphal March from Aida. Which has now been playing in my brain for the last few hours! (I could do worse)College was kind of a mess - too hot, too many crossed signals and lack of planning, too many good byes.Being young was not, actually, always fun, was it?

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  26. My high school graduation was memorable because I was valedictorian, and I got several other awards. It was everything my mother dreamed it would be. Hahaha! But, seriously, my mother was thrilled with my finish at the top, and I was pretty happy about it, too. My father was in the hospital (kidney stones, I think), so we went there after the ceremony and before the graduation party. I am glad I have a sense of humor because there was an interesting part of my award as valedictorian. I received a lovely statue, which I still have, but my classmate that hadn't missed a day of school received a trophy at least twice as big as mine. Her mother was the secretary for the superintendent. What was especially annoying about this contrast in trophies was that the girl receiving the no absentee trophy was allowed to come to school sick by her mother and infect the rest of us with all the lovely childhood diseases. But, by golly, she didn't miss a day and was heartily rewarded. I laughed about it, and I know both parents and students were thinking back on how she spread her germs all the way to her reward. I didn't have much of a break from school, as I took classes from the community college that summer. But, I also had a major romance that summer, so all was good.

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  27. I graduated high school in 1968 right on the heels of assassinations of MLK and RFK. White robes for females and blue for males…we marched by height so I sat with people I hardly knew. We sat on bleachers in auditorium and I had to worry about disgracing myself walking down the steps…otherwise I remember nothing. Did not participate in college graduation…just happy to get my degree and move on.

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  28. Congratulations to you and Hubs, Jenn, for making it to the gate with H2! He'll go in, never fail, and he's already a winner!!

    I was class of '72--and the high school was so happy to be rid of us--we're a legend still at every graduation all these many years later. No Pomp and Circumstances for us! Can't remember what tune we walked in by--we voted on it as a class. No valedictorian speech for me either. We felt anyone who wanted should be able to speak--so speeches were submitted to senior class advisors and 4 lucky recipients got to speak. Yes, it was hot, yes, my dress was white and as short as it could be and still be a dress--I just remember the sense of absolute relief I felt to be done with it. We'd kept a calendar in the senior lounge and marked off each day with joy.

    College--I went to my undergrad ceremony--my dad and my brother Mitch came. At Ohio State, there were thousands of graduates. Didn't walk for my master's or doctoral degree--they didn't actually award my degree until the quarter after I'd defended and I didn't come back for it--although I earned that hood!

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  29. Jenn, you mention a sob fest AT the graduation. When my high school graduation came around, Mother could not listen to the commercials that sound tracked “Pomp and Circumstance” without weeping. As the radio was always on in the morning, what soggy breakfasts were served the weeks before I walked across that stage in 1964. All the best to you and H2.

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  30. I remember high school graduation ceremony in a large church in town, sitting alphabetically, no gowns. My two best friends and I were matching dresses, white with small flowers, each with a different colour flower.
    Missed my B.A. as I was traveling overseas.
    Masters had a last minute substitute for the person giving out the diplomas, and he was my mom's cousin, a professor in a different faculty. So that made it more special.

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