Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School

It's back to school time. Oscar starts second grade tomorrow!! And my older sister's eldest child, Frannie, below, starts college. It's weird how that bluesy, summer's over feeling never really leaves you. I feel it by proxy for Oscar. Summers are the best time for us as kids. As excited as I was to see my friends again, it also meant spending less time at home doing nothing and just generally less time swimming!

As people who've seen the recent movies Toy Story 3 and The Kids Are All Right know, when your first born goes away to college these days it can be pretty emotional. My sister's been feeling it and this is the email she sent to the family after dropping Frannie off at school.

"We got to Madison without anything falling out of the truck. Thom met us there. We walked down State street to dinner, the four of us. Sophia had a tournament in Duluth. Frannie started looking a little grey as we walked and then lost it in the restaurant after dinner. She made it to the bathroom. We put her to bed at the Hilton and went out to hear some live music on the Menona terrace. Thom and Fran woke up early and set out for the long line to move into the dorm. Paddy and I met up with them after a Farmer's market run at the capitol. We set up her room all day which included bunking their beds, laying carpet, setting up a futon complete with matching bedding, pillows, lights and area rugs. It looked adorable when we left at 3. The goodbye was super hard and I am still a little numb that she is gone. Where did the time go? She called me at 8PM and said that she didn't feel well again. I told her that she needs to do one thing and that is to concentrate on taking in enough water and nutrition to get her through this transition. If she did this, she will do fine. I hope she listens. It is a time for growth all around. Thanks for your thoughts and love. Ann"

This is the response our father sent to her:

"Ann: Here are my thoughts. When I went to college in 1953, my coach took me up to South Bend. I packed my clothes in a card board box and do not think that I took anything else. I did not know about suitcases. I don't remember my parents being involved in that momentous event in my life. They were too busy with the other eight children. When I wanted to quit after one month and come home, I called my coach and he came up and talked me out of it. You must recall that I knew no one who had ever gone to college in my family or friends. My parents, as great and wonderful as they were to us, never set foot on a college campus until the day I graduated from college. Nor had I until that day when I went away to college ill-prepared academically and otherwise. Frannie will do well and so will you and Thom. I love you. Dad"

Two very different beginnings of higher education.

Our father stayed in school and went on to become (among other things) a circuit court judge and all around one of the most intelligent, eloquent attorneys and (for the purposes of this blog) one of the most stylish men I know. His life is the sparkling portrait of the American Dream.

Amazing how things have changed in just two generations - from not knowing about suitcases to area rugs and matching bedding...


Heather Taylor said...


Megan Taylor said...

double love.

Sarah Bradley said...

What a great post. Really touching.

andrea said...

So touching and sweet.

Joslyn said...

i think a lot about the balance between nurturing and supporting my girlies in all life's big moments and "over-parenting"...i imagine when my oldest goes to college it'll be much like your sister and frannie's... but there's something so empowering about your father's experience. it's no wonder he achieved such great things. he had to be self-sufficient.

this was a fantastic post!

elauinc said...

beautiful photo.

hey clare - i saw that your bags were going to be at the heath bazaar on 9.19! which pieces?

Tchuhi said...

Hi, I love your work and the design of your bags. I just receive mine, my "Trop" and I love it!!! so beautiful, I'm gonna make lot of jalous girl in Paris!!!
I wish you the best for the future.
Keep going this!!