far above cayuga’s waters

I was in Ithaca for my 20th college reunion this past weekend, but only accidentally. We had already planned a trip to our favorite B&B in the Finger Lakes when I realized we’d be in the area at the same time as Cornell’s Reunion Weekend.  I didn’t officially attend, having too many other plans and things we wanted to do, but since we were there we drove through campus (well, where we could — there were roads closed for construction, which is always true), had lunch in Collegetown, and visited the dorm.

Katie and Streaker in close proximity.

Katie and Streaker in rare close proximity.

Risley was hosting the Class of 2004, so we were able to slip inside and, unabashedly, sneak past the now-keycard-entry-only upper floors. I wanted to show Dave the place I’d been talking about for so long, the first floor, Cowcliffes, the CLR (um, where’s the Persian rug that was in the CLR?!), Dining. I wished we could see Risley Theatre, but it was locked up tight, of course, as was Tammany. So we went down 2nd Lost where I’d once lived and visited Karin’s amazing Muppet murals for the first time in years.

That's me with Superman on my shoulder. It's a long story.

That’s me with Superman on my shoulder. It’s a long story.

Then we swung by the 2ndfloor mural of Fall of 1990 residents and I remembered far fewer names than the last time I’d been there. Lastly, we headed to my last and favorite old home at Risley, 352, up on the 3rd floor where Streaker and Katie once roamed, where fondue parties were held, where Darielle used to fall asleep in the shower, and where Paula and I searched for lost catnip mousies.

It’s fun to peek in the old stomping grounds every once in a grand while, but I try not to get too nostalgic about it. Those were some great years, but mostly because of the people I shared them with. The people and I have moved on elsewhere, and the building belongs to two decades’ worth of others who’ve come after me now (as well as those who came before). I hope they enjoyed living there as much as I did.

2 thoughts on “far above cayuga’s waters

  1. I don’t think I would be able to return to Cornell again. I can see myself feeling an immense loss for bygone times. You’re absolutely right that it’s the people that made it perfect. I will not easily forgot a lot of those people, but I’m afraid I’ve already forgotten most. I think a trip back there would instill a sadness in me for those forgotten people and the forgotten times. I’m happy you found your old room and that the murals are still there. It’s great to relive memories, but I’m not sure I would be able to do it.

    • I know what you mean. I would probably feel the same, except that I had close friends stay in Ithaca, so I’ve been there, to see them, dozens of times. I think I got numb to the nostalgia. And some of it was a conscious effort to tell myself, it’s not the same as it was so there’s no point in wishing for what’s moved on, if that makes sense.

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