At reunion, everyone on the Alumnae Association staff, including magazine folks, is a jack-of-all-trades. We do whatever is needed, whenever it is needed. In the many years I have worked reunion, I have hauled ice, set elegant dinner tables, made an emergency run to stores to buy dozens and dozens of corkscrews (don’t ask!), and answered hundreds of phone calls at Reunion HQ.
But my favorite job of all is driving a golf cart. We do it in all weather, moving stuff and people. You never quite know who (or what) is going to end up in the cart with you. It might be six dozen cups (“They are out of cups at the New Dorms. Hurry!”). It might be a recent alum with a sleepy toddler or a ’43er who tells you about Wellesley during World War II. I love them all, but the most senior ladies are the best. “Are you a student, dear?” they often ask. Heh.
In all these reunions, one golf-cart ride particularly stands out. It was one of those spectacular early summer days—brilliantly sunny, rhodies busting themselves to show their colors in the dell. I was flagged down by the companion of an alum from the early 1930s. Stooped and extraordinarily soft-spoken, this lovely Wellesley woman walked with great difficulty. But she wondered, would it be possible to see the lake? Her companion and I helped her into the cart and set off down the path to the College Club, lake sparkling ahead. Slowly, slowly her head came up. Then her lips creased into a smile. Finally, as the wind whipped her hair, she burst into gales of laughter. Oh, the joy of that moment! It has stayed with me for years.
I have dozens of golf-cart-induced conversations at every reunion. Once I introduce myself, one of the most-asked questions is “Where do you get your ideas for articles?” To be honest, I answer, in the universe of Wellesley, story ideas are everywhere. Many topics in public discourse have a Wellesley angle to them. (Take your pick: presidential politics, immigration, gun violence.) There are stories that emerge from the College itself. But more than anything else, the lives of alumnae generate the stories in our magazine. We extract ideas for articles from class notes, from social-media posts, and from calls and tips from classmates about the extraordinary things friends are doing.
This issue is no exception. “The #MeToo Reckoning” is obviously inspired by the headlines of the last year, and faculty and alumnae experts weigh in on what’s been happening. “Building for the Future” is must-read about the College: Listen in as Provost Andy Shennan and VP for Finance and Administration Piper Orton talk about the state of the College’s finances and buildings—and how Senior Leadership is reallocating resources to address a backlog of major renovations. Finally, “The Heart of a Pet” was inspired by the Facebook group “Wellesley Wags and Whiskers,” where 3,000-plus alumnae talk furry friends. In our story, some of the regulars in that group discuss the mysterious and life-affirming bonds between animals and humans.
Back to those reunion golf carts. We can’t always give you a ride—there may be a cup or corkscrew emergency somewhere! But if you do get the chance, sit back and let the wind muss your hair. (That’s called “golf-cart head” in our office.) Breathe in the fragrance of campus blossoms. Take in the spectacular beauty of the landscape. You might just find yourself at the point of Wellesley joy.