Saturday, August 26, 2006

My son goes to college.....

On Wednesday, August 23, 2006 we took my son to Indiana University in Bloomington where he begins his first year of college on Monday, August 28. Now this is no small event; and it was the first time we have experienced one of our children leaving home. After several days of getting boxes packed, supplies purchased, plans developed for this transition in our family's life, it all came down to a last minute errand my son had to make on Wednesday morning that defined the move away from home and into college life completely - he discovered he had no "sticky putty" to hang his posters on the wall of the dorm room that he would occupy in a few hours. So, with a crisis at hand, he made several unsuccessful visits to nearby office supply stores in search of "poster hanging putty", and finally located some; only setting our departure schedule off by one hour. A young man must have his priorities!

My wife, son and daughter, with the belongings of a college freshman stacked in every conceivable space in the car, all made the hour's drive to Bloomington, Indiana. We were fortunate to have the drive complimented by a beautiful August day - I must say, the laid back, easy, peaceful feeling of driving through southern Indiana only gets better as the years go by.

I recalled this very same trip in 1970 when my father, mother, brother and myself made this same exact trip to take my brother to college at Indiana University for his freshman year. I contantly reminded my family that the landscape has remained virtually unchanged as you make the drive from Indianapolis into southern Indiana, this area of the state is known for it's midwestern charm and beauty, and has the only hills and valleys of any significance in the entire state.

In a time when highways are filled with strip centers, outlet malls, mega truck stops, and "See Rock City" and "Fireworks Ahead" billboards, the drive from Indianapolis to Bloomington is like going back in the 50's when life was slower, farm tractors were still plowing on each side of the highway, and outlet malls had not even been introduced in America. You can still experience this is 2006 if you make this 50 mile drive on State Road 37 South from Indy to B-town.

Upon arriving in Bloomington the campus was filled with mini-van's, U-haul's, students and parents all vying for close parking places to begin the exercise of carrying fans, small fridges, micro-waves (yes, these too) trunks filled with fall clothes and of course "notebook computers and IPods" which is essentially, the best I can tell "all requriements for life as an 18 year old". My son even has a Blackberry wireless PDA. A big difference from my brother taking a portable typewritter and a Pickett slide rule.

As we hooked-up with my son's roomate, a childhood friend from Indianapolis, it became clear they wanted their space and freedom and in no way wanted us helping un-box, move furniture around or assemble any of the adjuncts to enhance dorm living. Mom did get to make the bed and put sheets on; our son did not argue with that of course, particularly in view of the fact he is on the top bunk. Several of their high school friends located them about as quickly as we arrived and it seemed like like the perfect time to say goodbye, wish him well and head back home with our new three member household.

I am thrilled for him and the experiences he will have ahead of him; and of course from a parent's perspective this is one huge bittersweet event. But, it is "all as it should be" and he is well prepared for this next journey in his life.....