In my first semester at college — what I laughingly referred to as the real world — communication with my parents was sparse, as the times demanded. There was only one Sunday afternoon phone call because Long Distance struck fear into my parents’ thrifty hearts. My mother and I wrote letters the rest of the time. Hers have not survived, but because she saved any piece of paper that might possibly shame and embarrass me in future decades, mine have.
And here I’d like to call into service the word fib for what went on in my letters. It’s a fine word. By relocating to a state college 250 miles away from home, somehow I felt I’d moved to a different planet. I was living a life I knew my parents could never understand. So a little fiction was called into action so they wouldn’t worry. It was for their own good.
* * *
By October I was stretching the word fib to its limits. This letter preceded a weekend trip home, fall of freshman year.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to leave for home on Friday night or if I’ll have to wait until early Saturday. Dr. Tomlinson is telling us tomorrow whether we’ll have class that afternoon.
I hadn’t been to Dr. Tomlinson’s class since the first week of the semester. I had no idea if we had class on Friday. I couldn’t have identified Dr. Tomlinson in a lineup.
* * *
Apparently, in the middle of all my other tall tales, I told them that lots of boys were asking me on dates, but I was putting schoolwork first. They chided me a little, saying that I should go out more and have more fun.
I really think studying is more important than boys right now. Sorry I’m not dating or dancing on tables as much as you think I should. That probably sounds snotty but it wasn’t meant to be.
I’d known a lot of dancing. I’d conquered a few tabletops.
And it was definitely meant to sound snotty.
* * *
Early on, I fell in love with a lacrosse player. He was sort of a legend.
I don’t think it’s fair that you’ve judged Nick without meeting him yet. Lots of boys in college have nicknames. He’s not wild! He’s a good person.
His nickname rhymed with Nick. If you’re doing it in your head, any one of the possibilities will work.
* * *
Finals went on first semester in spite of my prayer for a tornado to touch down on the Old Main building the night before. I didn’t want anyone to get killed, of course. Just enough of a funnel cloud that my professors’ grade books would be destroyed for all time.
I can’t believe how hard I’m working! I studied all day Saturday and most of Sunday. I’ve really turned a corner. If all goes well, I’ll have an A in at least one course!
Enclosed you will find a copy of the Low Grade Summary Report sent to your son/daughter. He/She is already aware of his/her standing in these courses and will be instructed to meet with his/her advisor. You may be assured that we are concerned, and we hope that the quality of your student’s work will improve.
[Dear Reader: I’ll be back next Thursday, July 16th. Thanks for being here. Really.]