Monday, April 16, 2007
Above is Burruss Hall at VA Tech. Isn't it beautiful? I fell in love with the campus when I visited it. Majestic, gothic building, replete with gargoles, nestled in the mountains of Blacksburg. I attended VA Tech in 1978 - 1980 until a softball thrown to far afield landed against my head. A tripod fracture to the right zygoma required an operation and recovery. Coupled with my not getting on-campus housing and being engaged (to my current and only husband), I elected to transfer to another school. I still remember my first day on an urban campus. I cried. When I walked to class at Tech, I didn't smell exhaust or hear the honking of traffic. It was a very difficult transition.
Today, it suffered the ignomy of being the location of the largest massacre in the US. I cannot imagine what the student body (>25K) must be feeling. I remember in 'my day' there was a campus rapist. During the week of the rapes and prior to his apprehension (a non-student) we were wary--even fearful. How this community must be feeling is beyond my comprehension--I don't know what the combination of grief and fear feels like. I'm fortunate to have lived so long with such naivety.
My neighbor's son, whom I've known since his birth attends VA Tech. He is safe. And the community of young people in New Kent quickly, through their instant messaging, My Space's and phone calls, ensured that 'their own' were safe. But that small consolation did not prevent their thoughts turning immediately to those who were not safe. Naturally, the phone lines were jammed, so many parents are left in that netherworld of not knowing. It's a bona fide tragedy.
I have the fondest memories of Tech. My husband claims it is the coldest place on earth. I still remember waking up to go to my 8:00 a.m. lab class and having to stop over the steam grates to get warm. My favorite memories are those of the football games at Lane Stadium. There were many die-hard fans. I particularly remember the older men (>60) festooned in their orange/burgundy, shirts/pants beaming with pride and love for this beautiful land-grant school nestled in the mountains.
Remember how when you reached a certain age your Mom and Dad sort of embarrasssed for being seemingly backward? Well, the colors of orange and burgundy along with a mascot that was a turkey no less, was a bit embarrassing. However, today I feel especially privileged for being part of that community. I know those burgundy and orange festooned men, part of the founding student body in those early decades, now have a tear in their eye and a glass in their hand mourning the tragedy that unfolded in that community in front of our nation today.
Events such as today remind us how important the small things are. My SIL's birthday was on Friday. I forgot. I remembered on Saturday. They came over last night for dinner. I fixed homemade chicken enchiladas (and they are wonderful!), refried beans (semi-homemade), and rice (out of a box). For dessert, I fixed a beautiful, homemade Mexican flan. If I could invest as well as I cooked I'd be a gazillionaire! But cooking has brought me great wealth. I adore feeding people things that (1) they would not make themselves; (2) they may not be exposed to.
My point of this post? Make sure that you reach out to the people who matter in your life. Broken fences in your life? You can mend those.