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Iona's Graduation - Getting there is half the fun! - nhpeacenik
Iona's Graduation - Getting there is half the fun!
Denise and I drove out to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana last weekend for our daughter Iona's graduation, about 900 miles each way.

Because we are not as good at all-nighters as we once were, we ended up staying overnight at motels in the Erie, Pennsylvania area on both the outbound and the inbound leg of the journey. but Iona had arranged for one of her professors, Karen, who ran the costume shop for the Drama department, to put us up for Friday and Saturday nights, and her house on Richmond's north side was an oasis of tranquility, with a fine old tomcat named Garfield to keep us company. Awakening Saturday morning, I found the street outside Karen's house literally filled with excited bright-red cardinals, and all the trees were in blossom.

The graduation fell in the middle of an intense and prolonged rush period for a project I was involved in at work, but the nature of a long automobile journey  offers a convenient excuse for not doing computer-based work. Wednesday night I stayed up late working with spreadsheets and reports, but Thursday morning early, we were both free to jump in the car and just go. When we returned Monday night, it was time to hunch back down in front of the computer and continue the project. which finally wound up on Friday evening.

Denise, being a librarian, had searched the shelves for suitable audiobooks for the journey and come up with two reasonably good choices. On the way to Indiana, we listened to an audiobook of The Five People You Meet In Heaven read by the author, Mitch Albom, and on the way back we heard Maeve Binchy's Quentin's  Of course the two books didn't fill all the time and we were able to listen to lots of music, including Martha Tilston's Of Milkmaids and Architects, Patty Keough's Watching the World, Davyd and Ayla Nereo's solo albums (the new Beatbeat Whisper album "Wonder Continental" was waiting for us when we returned to New Hampshire, and I only really got to listen to it with the attention it deserves yesterday... more about that later) Leon Rosselson's latest album, and Naomi Bedford, Chumbawamba, Seize the Day...

The one disadvantage of making a hurried trip is that you have to drive right past places you really wish you could stop, including old favorites like the beaches at Ashtabula and Erie's Presque Isle park, the Underground Railroad museum, Mark Twain's homestead, ChautauquaEveryone's Books in Brattleboro... The food we brought along was a lot better than what we could conveniently get at eateries along the way without taking the extra time to explore. It's amazing how much of the United States has missed the worldwide trends toward good coffee/tea and vegetarian foods; the highway eateries were much the same as they were in 1960, with plenty of fried foods and red meat. The price of gasoline was more-or-less uniformly  outrageous, with pockets of lower prices on Indian reservations and in central Ohio.

If two people must travel from New Hampshire to Richmond Indiana, driving is still the most economical way (assuming they have a car to start with). There is no train or bus service to Richmond, and the price of two airline tickets and a rental car is considerably more than the cost of the gasoline and two nights in a budget motel.

Anyway, we got there. We met more of Iona's close friends and their families than I can ever hope to keep track of. She is planning to move to Ann Arbor Michigan with some of them later this year, and we'll surely get to know some of them better in the future.

The Baccalaureate featured Earlham College's justly famous Gospel Revelations Choir, but it also included music by a local all-girl band called The Huntsville Space and Rocket Center  who are among Iona's close friends and are great acoustic harmony-based musicians incorporating a lot of audacious showwomanship in their act.  I managed to pick up a copy of their new CD "Children are the Future", and I recommend that anybody who can, catch them on their midwest tour this summer.

The Saturday afternoon graduation ceremony was held outdoors, partly in heavy rain. Right after the end of the ceremony the sun came out and everything was brilliantly beautiful, which explains some incongruity in the photographs, raincoats and sun-hats, umbrellas and light cotton dresses. The pictures we took with a disposable camera are at this page. These pictures also  include her textile professor and  Margaret Hawthorn from our Quaker Meeting who was getting a Master's degree in Divinity the same day. Iona's digital camera didn't get used as much as it should have, because she was one of the "stars" of the event herself.
Here is Iona (right) with her girlfriend Katie:
Iona and Katie at Earlham Graduation
Here is Denise,  Iona and me:

Just after getting her degree in Art with college and departmental honors, here is Iona in full cap and gown:

The college also provides some pictures of the graduation ceremonies.

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Current Location: Greenville NH USA
Current Music: Huntsville Space and Rocket Center, "Opal Stringbean"

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