Thursday, November 29, 2007
While we were in Little Rock for the Sugar Plum Ball, we made the short drive over to Conway to visit Hendrix College, the school Russ and I graduated from in '95 and '96. (For those of you who know us and know that I was two years ahead of Russ in school until...whoops, I wasn't. Yes, those graduation years don't make a lot of sense mathmatically. All I can say is there was an incident. An incident which involved my kooked out ticker going a tad wacky during Spring Term of my sophomore year. As a result, I took an additional two terms to graduate. Woo hoo! For my dad, who was funding my education, I'm sure that was an extra nifty dose of financial fun.) Russ and I hadn't been on the campus in several years, and it was really neat to see all of the changes, while also seeing it still look familiar - like the place we knew and loved.
Russ, Sophie, and Nana standing by the fountain outside of Greene Chapel. Nana is holding Sophie to keep her from taking a chilly little swim.
Taking the stroll across campus. Not sure what Russ is doing in this picture. But it looks like, "Yo, yo. Follow me, your Rapper Tour Guide. I'll scratch and spin some records and show you the lovely campus sights." (Or maybe that expression and gesture just says, "For the love of sweet merciful heaven, woman, STOP taking pictures!)
Navigating the stairs by what used to be the underground library (which is now the Reynolds Center). The library used to be the place to be during a tornado warning - totally encapsulated by the earth, and very, very Mooms-approved. (My poor mom, she and storms don't get along. I'm sure the second she saw a teeny cloud out the window of Galloway Hall, she bolted to the library - all of a sudden very responsible and studious.) However, water and mold eventually made the library very UNcool, so they took a wrecking ball to it and built another fancy pants building in its place. There are quite a few steps leading down to the Old Bailey patio. I remember climbing those steps several gazillion times a day, hiking back-and-forth across campus to and from class. Ahh. Joyful were the days when we were young and (forced to be) fit.
Walking across the pecan court with Daddy to his physics building.
The Charles D. Morgan Center (which, for those Hendrix alumni reading this who might actually give a hoot about such details, used to be the Reynolds Building) - a.k.a. the place where Russ spent most of his life in college. Over the past year or so, it has been given a new fancy face-lift, as well as a full remodel and expansion on the inside. Let me tell you, it is NIIIIICE. Like stand-in-open-mouthed-wonder kind of nice. Never have I seen a building that houses a bunch of Science Geeks look so swanky and cool! Had it looked like THAT when we were there, I might have looked at physicists a bit differently. Hee. Just kidding. We all know I think science geeks are super sexy...even when they spend all of their would-be-date-time in a dark bat cave of a building with no windows!
Russell with Dr. Teague, one of his chemistry professors. Dr. Teague is retiring at the end of this year, after 37 years as a professor at Hendrix. Apparently he still has quite the sweet tooth (not that you can tell from looking at him), because when I asked a group of students passing where his office was now, they replied, "Follow the smell of chocolate. When you get to the office at the end of the hall with the giant jar of M&Ms on the desk, you'll know you found him." Sophie's eyes lit up. As you can imagine, she and Ella were more than skippy happy to follow instructions like those!
Looking at the shrine to the Inaugural Hendrix Baseball Team of the Modern Era (no, I didn't make that title up). Apparently there was a baseball team back in the twenties, which dissolved shortly after forming. Russell was a part of the '92 team, the first team to form after that original group. He was their pitcher. The team wasn't half bad, considering it was composed of a bunch of super-freak brainiacs! Notice Sophie's "Yeah, yeah. Ho hum, diddly dum..." expression? She was completely not impressed with the moment-in-history her Daddy was attempting to explain to her. She just wanted down! so she could try out the mammoth climbing wall again.
The display in the new Wellness Center. Can anyone, other than his mother (sorry to disqualify you, Nana), spot Russell from this far away?
...Yup. There he is. Number Twenty-two, looking like he's about twelve! Hee. Isn't he CUUUUTE? His best man from our wedding is in the row above him (Number 19) - the guy who looks a bit like Randy Travis, according to my mother. He's now a dermatologist in Fort Smith. Just ask Sophie about Dr. Johnson. She seems to think he's just swell, despite the fact that he stuck a three inch needle in her hand to take off her "ort". Sophie didn't make a sound; she just sat there mesmerized by the "firecracker" he used to zap off the growth. That proves he's a great guy (or at least a good doctor), right? ...Or maybe it's just yet another idicator that our wee one is a pod.
Running through the leaves after a trip to the Bookstore to buy some new Hendrix apparel. (As you can imagine, the shirts we purchased when we were in college are getting a tad worn. Giant understatement. Who am I kidding, they're shot! I use them as dust rags. ...But I thought adding the "tad" part might make us sound a tad less old. Holy smokes! Where do the years go?)
(Watching the girls dart past him once again, Russ's expression seems to say:) "Okay, I give up. Fly, little birdies. Fly free!"
More running! It really was great - Sophie and Ella were able to get out LOTS of energy running all over campus. Their quest for freedom was a tad more challenging when classes ended and the students were out and about on the sidewalks with us. But the girls managed just fine, politely hanging back until there was a big gap between everybody. Then they would shoot ahead of us again. They got a few laughs and "awws" during their trek, of course.
By the Fish Pond. For those of you who haven't heard the story, here it is:
"Russell proposed to me when I was twenty-one and he was nineteen. In the middle of watching a movie at my parents’ house one weekend when we were home from college, he blurted out-of-the-blue, "Do you want to get married?" I said, "Of course. Someday." …and went back to watching the movie. He said, "No, I mean now. Do you want to get married now?" My mouth fell open cartoon-like and I said, (fairly hysterically), "What? NOW?? We’re in college. We have fifty cents to our name. We have no jobs. We only have half of our education completed. What are you talking about??" From my less-than-romantic reaction, he had a sense of what my answer would be. So he kind of let the topic dwindle off, never officially asking me that night. And, since I assumed that deep-down he was kidding, I never really gave him an answer. Although I did feel compelled to tell him later, "Ask me later and I’ll say yes, I promise. Maybe wait a year or so."
One year to the day when he first asked me in my parents’ living room (a.k.a. "The Practice Proposal", as we now refer to it), we were walking by the Fish Pond at Hendrix and I turned around to find Russ down on one knee. "Kristy. I’m asking you for real this time. It was real to me the first time. God will take care of the money thing. Will you marry me?" With slightly misty eyes, I excitedly yelled, "YES!!" and leapt into his arms - nearly knocking us both into the goldfishy water beside us.
So you see, the Fish Pond, be it ever-so murky and slighty stinky is a special spot for us. Aww. Hard to believe that moment occurred over fourteen years ago. It was kind of neat to be standing there with our little girl in tow (reminiscing, while she was trying to dive in head-first to grab a goldfish). Now I know how my parents felt when they were able to take us to campus and stand by "Their Statue" with us there beside them. It's kind of a kooky feeling - one of those Full Circle kind of things.