Fifty-Fifth College Reunion?

Tatiana Androsov
4 min readJun 13, 2023
Class of 1968 Looking on at a Graduation Ceremony of the Class of 2021

Had to happen sooner or later, at least if one makes it so far. Started with a drive up with my closest classmate through Pennsylvania forest backroads and one highway in New York lined with trees that eschewed all definitions, as it was mostly uncrowded even before the Memorial Day weekend.

But then, this was in preparation for our alma mater in the little town of South Hadley, one nestled in nature, even today not quite in the center of things, something many did not appreciate more than half a century ago but a feature being sought at a time when the world is increasingly urban, full of people and movement.

Yes, we were going to be in a dorm again, that is not necessarily sharing a room but certainly sharing a bathroom. We had protested at the last reunion, five years ago, when we were merely around seventy but in a dorm with facilities that took at least five minutes to reach in the middle of the night. They had better we said or whisper to each other make it easier this time, as necessary sleep breaks were becoming more and more common. Well, that first thing turned out well. The common bathrooms were less than a minute away and the room, though imperfect, was bigger. The mattresses were not really up to parr, but they would do for two nights.

First came a meeting with those of the class of 1968 who had decided, like us, to come up. A few had crossed the country to do so, some had even flown across the ocean. Some were elegant, the ‘grandes dames’ of our flock. Some were grandmotherly. Others were commanding. A few had to use walkers. A growing number could only be there in spirit, as they had gone back to mother earth. One, who had been completely confined to an electric wheelchair five years before, came back sprightly, with a walker with a little chair, but one she barely used. She gave us hope that things can turn around at any age.

One thing had really changed. The vast majority of us were no longer working, whether in the labor force or running a home. Yes, we were volunteering, involved in some ways in various aspects of our communities or even the world, but we were beyond the stage where it meant putting forth our accomplishments. The rare ones who were still tied to the labor market, at least among those who had come, did it out of necessity or care and not for accolades.

Thus, the atmosphere was softer, more accepting of each other, even as we noted the continuing changes in the college, ones that sometimes did make quite a few nostalgic for our days and our ways. We had eaten in our dorms food that had been prepared individually in each house and served by fellow students on scholarship. The tables created friendships and sometimes antagonisms as did all the time spent in the dorms. Now, with one campus central dining facility, relationships were established on a different basis. We, being on campus for a very short time, could not quite figure out how.

There were also changes in what the young women were studying, as more went into the sciences and, of course, all aspects of artificial intelligence. Some were, something unheard of in our time, majoring in architecture, with a place where they could even practice 3D building technology. As we walked through the center catering to disciplines that had been limited to young men, most of us were thrilled, though a face or two showed a marked dislike for this type of ‘progress’.

I had my own agenda: see if I could run around the lake where I had first been enticed to do that fifty-six years earlier. That time, I had barely made it, forced to stop more than once, and getting back to the dorm exhausted. Incredibly, I found the run to be short. Though slower than at my peak years ago, this was more than comforting. I even went into the ‘woods’ to get more running in and also went around the college’s riding facility. Seeing the horses, I wished the college would offer courses in the summer for those of us who were ‘wrinkled teenagers’ hoping to improve our skills even at this stage of life.

Ah, yes, a final note. Though our reunion was scheduled for the weekend after graduation, we did provide the laurel chain for the graduating class of 2021 which did not have a proper send-off ceremony because of the pandemic lockdown. Being us, we were after all the class of 1968, a year, now mostly forgotten, full of student ‘revolutions’ in the world, we carried a banner telling the world what we thought of a comment made by the leadership of the time. Look at the picture and laugh. There were no buses, no cars that we could drive, and we were shut in a tiny town! What did they expect!!



Tatiana Androsov

A novelist on the sea of life coming, cresting and breaking having traveled near & far from a post WWII immigrant childhood to a UN world of poverty and riches.