A reflection on two graduations, and 69 year old letters.

This past weekend I went to Franklin and Marshall to celebrate my sister’s graduation.  The weather was wonderful (unlike my graduation), the ceremony was shorter to do a smaller class size, and we had many friends and family join in the festivities.  All in all, we had a lovely time.  I was glad that this time it wasn’t me dealing with all the graduation stress.  Last year I remember Alicia telling me to just chill out, why was I so stressed!? (I was worried about packing up my room, saying goodbye to friends, getting to all the events, entertaining my family.) This year, she was  the one freaking out, mostly about cleaning her house. I have fond memories of graduation, but I am glad I wasn’t the one going through it again this time.

It is hard to believe I was sitting at my own graduation a year ago. I remember well the complicated mix of emotions that I felt that day.  Once we were in our lines ready for the procession, my stress fell away.  The biggest emotion  I felt was excitement and joy at what my classmates and I had accomplished; after four years of hard work, here was our diploma at last! It felt good to celebrate.  It was also a time of uncertainty—what was the next year going to bring? Where would we all end up? I had no idea what my year was going to look like; I only had vague plans about Mexico and applying to grad school.  And of course, it was also a sad day, saying goodbye to friends and to Bucknell, not knowing when I would next see them.

So here I am, a year later.  It’s been a year full of interesting experiences that is for sure.  Along with my work in Mexico, I’ve actually been very lucky to be able to visit Bucknell several times since graduation. The first time back was to crash the 2009 June Seminar for Poets with Chrissy to visit with Margaret Graham and Chrissy Reilly who were the Bucknell June Poets. Yay Junies!  I’ve come back various other times, such as in February to see The Vagina Monologues.  Additionally I’ve managed to catch up with friends/Bucknellians at various off-campus locations—a road trip to New England with Chrissy in September to see many of our friends, a four hour visit with Mikaela in LAX when I flew to Mexico in March, and just this past weekend Mikaela and Morgane stopped by Lancaster on the way to the airport after a wedding.

And I survived the experience of applying to grad school. I think the worst part is the waiting to hear back. The anxiety of not knowing is much harder to deal with than the stress of getting everything done. Particularly in January and February when I was home with not much do to and too much time to worry that I wouldn’t get into grad school after all. Then once I got to Mexico again I was too busy to think.  Still at one point, after recieving four rejections I thought I wouldn’t be going to grad school afterall, and then MD came through!

So back to the present.  Right now my grandparents are visiting with us for a week, which is nice.  They flew over from England for Alicia’s graduation.  I have been lucky to visit with them quite a bit this year, as I have been in Mexico at the same time that they have.  However, it has been a while since they visited with the whole family. Unfortunately having them here means I have been struggling to get my article writing done. I’ve been doing a lot of running around to different places with them, and lots of time talking. I guess the good news is that when I finally get my first draft done (hopefully today) I can have my granddad read it over, as he is an anthropologist.  Though the idea of giving him my work is also very intimidating!

Doing this work with my fieldjournals, as well as working on completing them has helped with the sadness about leaving Mexico.  Also just reminicsing about my experiences, focusing on the good times I had.  Any adjustment of this kind takes time. I think generally it takes about two months to settle into a new place, and about a month to settle back “home” once you return. As I am getting more settled back into the normal routine, and as I am getting busier with writing, work and figuring out things for next year, it is getting easier.

Yesterday my grandparents, 2 siblings and I went to an auction which is held every Wednesday in Crumpton, a town near us. There is always something interesting to find there. Today I found, and bid on, stack of letters dated 1941 and 1942, written to a soldier in the Coast guard.  I am so excited to read them and see what things I might find inside.  Hard to believe that 1941 was almost 70 years ago! I’ll let you all know what sorts of things I find in the letters.

Anyways, I’ve got to get back to serious writing now. Once I get this article done (it is due next week). I will hopefully get the chance to work on some poetry, or edit some of my fieldjournals to post here. Best to all!

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2 thoughts on “A reflection on two graduations, and 69 year old letters.

  1. WOW THOSE LETTERS SOUND AMAZING! They’d make a great writing project, too! A fiction MFA who was in my poetry workshop in the fall was doing a similar project, with letters between (I think I remember correctly–) the coast guard off Orcas Island and their families back home. I believe the letters were all lost/undelivered.

    Way cool!

  2. Pingback: Dear Diehl: WWII letters and Family Reunion « THE BUCKNELL AFTERWORD

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