Commencement

This passage from Joy in the Morning struck me at the time, and I made a mental note to recall it for this week. Betty Smith really seemed to capture everything we’re feeling.

Annie was aware of the change of atmosphere on campus and in the college town as commencement drew near. She spent hours thinking out the ingredients that made the change. She was aware of a mixed mood of bright intense excitement and sad sentimental nostalgia. The upcoming graduates set the mood.

It might well be, thought Annie, that the four years here made the in-between place of the past and the future. In that time they changed from boys and girls to men and women. They came from home when they were very young, seventeen and eighteen, and a few smart ones were only sixteen. Maybe they didn’t know it, but the day they left home to go to college they ended the home part of their lives.

And now they are going out into the world and begin the lives that they will live until they die. The thought of it awed Annie. And they can’t go back again, she thought. Sure, they can go home again. But only the outside part of them will be home; not their minds; not their thoughts.

Now I know, she thought, why they call it commencement. Because they have to commence this new life.

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Published in: on May 17, 2009 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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