On Wednesday, we got up early and drove to Massachusetts. Hearing it was rather cold up there, we stopped in Middletown for hats and gloves.
We stopped again somewhere along the New Jersey Turnpike to get a bite. Kato loves nothing more than the hot air blowers.
We stopped in New Lebanon, New York, about a half hour shy of Williamstown, to see if the little jewelry store where we had Robbi’s wedding ring made 10 years ago was still there.
As it turns out, it was, and the very same woman who helped us back then was behind the counter.
It’s a nice little place run by a husband and wife. I love this old sign on their porch.
When we finally got to campus, we were greeted by the usual propaganda.
Robbi took a moment to revel.
It was cold. It was very, very cold. The kids were all cozy in their new hats and gloves, but I was hatless and gloveless and feeling very put upon as we posed by the Williams College sign.
Robbi (hat but no gloves) somehow managed a smile.
We got gelato.
We got in our car and drove up Stratton Road.
When the time came, we headed to Parkesy (the new student center) to get ready for our talk. We set up a table of books.
And got the technology in order.
Eventually, a few students started to show up. About five minutes before we were set to start, there were only a few people there. But then, as the clock struck 8:00, another crowd rolled in, and suddenly we had a packed house.
Or mostly packed. We did our talk, and people listened and laughed. When we were done, author Jim Shepard and sculptor Amy Podmore joined us for a panel discussion.
We answered students questions about self-promotion, publishing, getting started with creative careers, how to get from here to there. It was a lot of fun and an absolute honor to share the stage with Jim (who was my professor and remains one of my heroes) and Amy, who was always great supporter of Robbi’s during college (especially when Robbi was working on her thesis).
This event wouldn’t have happened without the wonderful Ashley Weeks Cart, a Williams alumna of a more recent vintage than ourselves. She works in the Office of Alumni Relations. It was she who had the idea for the Williams Map and who asked us to create it. It was she who gathered support and funding to bring us to campus. And it was she who patiently sold books after our talk while we chatted with students. She’s the best. And if you enjoy beautiful photography, the pleasures of parenting, and the artistic/crafty lifestyle, I encourage you to check out her blog.
While we were in town, we stayed with our dear friends Gina and Michael. We stayed with them because we don’t get to see them very often and enjoy spending time with them, but we also stayed with them because Alden is deeply in love with their son Garcia.
Alden and Garcia have only spent a few days together throughout their lives, but they are like peas in a pod. Alden talks about Garcia constantly, and apparently, Garcia does the same. Two weeks ago, I made the mistake of telling Alden we that we would soon be visiting with Garcia, and every fifteen minutes or so since then have had to answer the question of how long it would be until we left for his house.
Kato likes Garcia just fine, but mostly, he’s interested in Garcia’s piano.
On Thursday, we headed back to the college for an Office of Career Counseling-sponsored lunch with students. At Alden’s request, we stopped by the snack bar for some more gelato. I had to snap a photo of the honey bun display for all of you nostalgic Eph alums out there.
While Robbi and Kato spent an hour or so being studied by a group of psychology students, Alden, August, and I hung out in the Paresky Great Room.
August was all smiles. He still has no interest in walking, but he has recently learned how to wave .
While we talked with the students, we ate Hot Tomatoes. For those of you who do not know, it is perhaps the finest pizza known to man. Reason enough to drive 8 hours, I say.
It was good to be back at Williams and a real honor to be there as an invited guest. Strange to think that the 15 years since we walked across the stage at graduation has brought us to a point where we have something useful or interesting enough to share with the next generation.
When we were done with our meeting, we drove home. It was a beautiful day.
By the time we hit Newark, it was getting dark.
Kato loves airplanes, and as we drove down the stretch of I-95 that goes by Newark Airport, he pointed them out, one by one.
It was a good trip. Too short, perhaps. But life is busy these days. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.
And here’s a shout out to Emelda and the girls in Poker Flats.