So, no, we didn’t make it back to campus at 10 a.m. And John wasn’t ready to leave and I was chomping at the bit. So left him at the hotel and walked to Georgetown by myself.
It’s about a mile to campus from the hotel in Rosslyn, Virginia where we are staying. It involves crossing the Key Bridge, and that’s a trip I’ve made hundreds of times. There’s no Metro stop in Georgetown, so any time we wanted to go somewhere by subway we walked to Rosslyn. We also used to walk over occasionally to visit the McDonald’s, since there wasn’t one (still isn’t) in Georgetown. But the majority of my bridge-crossing took place starting in the summer of 1988, for two reasons: I had a job as a waitress at the Key Bridge Marriott, and John had graduated and moved into an apartment on the other side of the bridge.
So it was a nostalgic little journey for me this morning, and made even better by the extraordinary weather we are having. Y’all, usually it’s in the 90s already by now and the humidity makes you remember that D.C. is built over a swamp. But it was in the 70s today and breezy. Good thing, too, because while walking across the bridge is easy, walking up the hill to Georgetown from there is a bit harder, and the first thing I did was stop at Wisemiller’s to get a bottle of water.
You know what I did then? Absolutely nothing. I planted myself on a bench in front of Copley (the last dorm I lived in) and sat for an hour soaking up the atmosphere and watching people walk by.
I talked to my roommate later in the day and she asked how it felt to be back and my answer was, “Not all that different.” I think that’s one of the things I love about coming back–it’s exciting to be there but also familiear. It’s a place I know and feel comfortable with, even though there are always some changes and some new things to see. And of course it does take me back to that time and those memories, but I’m still the same person after all. Right?
I did visit the bookstore to buy a t-shirt and pick up some snacks before John joined me, and then we went to another lecture. This one was on The Church in the 21st Century, and was mostly about Pope Francis, which was great because you’ve probably gathered by now that I absolutely love Pope Francis. Then we walked around and explored. We went inside the oldest building–1792–on campus, which I think was used for storage in our day but is now a meditation center. We also went into the Copley Crypt Chapel which for some reason I had never been inside. And we visited the awesome new performing arts center which has two theatres and classrooms and offices and is a pretty amazing addition to campus.
The next event was called Love on the Hilltop and it was a reception at the Alumni House held in honor of those of us who met our spouses at Georgetown. They even gave us champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Isn’t that romantic?
And then we met up with my dear friend Tom. Tom lived on the first floor of New North freshman year when I lived on the fourth floor. He and Renee (my roommate) and I dyed Easter eggs on the fire escape. We danced to Madonna’s Get into the Groove as part of a pre-exam ritual. We cooked stir fry together. Tom and I spent a summer making beds together as employees of summer housing. We have lots of memories and it was wonderful to see him.
John and I had dinner at The Tombs. It’s a Georgetown tradition, but one that I didn’t take up until after a graduated, because I was kind of a nerd in college honestly. So we’ve gone there almost every Reunion. Do you know that restaurants up here are much more crowded and noisy than the ones back home? I wonder why that is.
We meandered back towards the garage where we left our car last night, stopping for about an hour just to sit and talk and BE here. And also to make that aforementioned call to the roommate and to tell her she MUST come to the next Reunion. Now we are back in our hotel room for an evening of reading, quiet, coolness, and rest. Tomorrow is the farewell Mass and brunch and then it’s back to Tennessee.