31 August 2008

Vacation, Day One: Young Harris Memories

Today started very early. I went to church with Mom and Dad and then took a trip back in time when we decided to eat lunch at Young Harris College's new "restaurant." It's where the cafeteria/dining hall used to be.

Liz and I talk often about how different our experiences were at YHC. She loved it and counts it as one of her more fond memories. I have blocked out so much of the 2 years I spent there that when Dad asked me what I thought of the new dining hall today I absolutely could NOT remember what the old one was like. I have no memory whatsoever of ever setting foot inside that building. Funny what the mind does.

My heart broke a little bit when we parked in the upper lot behind Appleby West, my first dorm at Young Harris, and I looked up the hill in front of me to see a parking lot where Mama and Papa Rich's house used to stand. Robby, their son, is the person in my life that I have known the longest (that isn't family) that I am still in touch with and count as a friend. I spent time in that house as a friend of the family, as a girlfriend, and finally as "family," and to have it not there just seemed kinda wrong, even though the inhabitants are all long gone.

The swing that was given to the college by my sorority, Sigma Beta Sigma, was one of the few things I recognized out in front of the new dining hall. I remember vividly sitting on that swing with Amy one night and figuring out the secret to life, the universe, religion, and probably calculus...only to be interrupted by a yelling Robby thundering down the hill toward us and forgetting what we'd only moments before been sure would CHANGE THE WORLD.

I wasn't sad to leave today, despite all the tiny smiles I afforded my heart as we walked around that tiny corner of my past. It made me who I am, unpleasant as it was, so I can't wish I'd never been there. I can only wish that I'll forget all the bad things, just like I have the dining hall. And then, after I've forgotten, I can don my old purple and yellow sorority jersey and take my children there. I can tell them how Amy was convinced she was developing pneumonia because I had to leave our dorm window open a crack so I could hear the chapel bell that my sorority was "in charge" of protecting. I can tell them how Liz and Heather and I made a snowman on the front porch of Appleby Center and then snuck it into the lobby.

I can tell them how I was a student there just like their Grandpa, my father was before me, and I can say then that if they want to go there I'd be very proud.

I wonder how long that bit of forgetting will take?

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

what happened to the richardson's house?! i have amazingly fond memories of that house - well, at least standing IN the rug in the hallway of that house. :) :)

What's funny about the 'new' dining hall is that when we were there the 'new' dining hall (now the 'old') had just been built. Time flies!

Nan said...

When Mama Rich left Young Harris and YHC the house was demolished to make another parking lot.

Elizabeth said...

oh that's sad..

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...