'79 at 25: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives

A Note From Cindy Harris, '79 Reunion Chair

As you might imagine, I'm pretty excited about our upcoming 25th reunion. And I'm looking forward to seeing at least 200 of you (hopefully many more) in Northampton on the weekend of May 13 thru 16.

Those of you who have been to prior reunions know that no matter where your life path has taken you, Smith reunions are an amazing opportunity to spend time with Smith classmates without the usual distractions of our everyday lives. I've been to all of our reunions, and have to say that I'm always intrigued to find myself sitting with a group of women who I have not seen or even spoken to in at least five years (maybe longer, or maybe never!) and whose lives "ought" to be completely different from mine and discovering that we have more in common than I ever imagined. It's one of the few places I know where I can find myself sitting at lunch with a diplomat, a mother of five, a high-powered executive who chose not to have children, a preacher married to another preacher, a neurosurgeon, a farmer, and an architect in a solo practice. They are married or never married or in committed partnerships, they are divorced and single or divorced and re-married, they have children or not. They live in big cities, small cities, suburbs, small town, and on farms both in the US and abroad. And a Smith reunion is the ONLY place I know where everyone at that table will be another woman exactly my age.

The stories I hear at those tables are endlessly fascinating, and I'm looking forward to hearing many more this time around, especially from those of you who have never attended a reunion and are thinking about skipping this one. Let me just say this: a seat at that table is reserved for you, and the experience of all of us will be much richer if you choose to join us. Each of our lives is no less extraordinary than the life of the one who seems most "successful" in the traditional sense. Take the time to share your stories with your classmates, and I promise that you will come away from the weekend inspired by the interchange with a group of women who are a lot "like you" no matter how different their lives seem to be on the surface.

Whether you can attend reunion or not, I hope that all of you will take the time to write to Dianne Pratt who is coordinating and editing our "class book." You can read her letter and see the class book questionnaire here. Diane's concept for the book is inspiring to me, so I hope that you'll take the time to collect your thoughts and (hopefully) your photos, sound files, and even video clips and send them along. Technology has made it possible for us to create an amazing multi-media project if everyone chips in a bit, so I hope you'll participate with enthusiasm, sharing at least a short paragraph, and at most a creative essay coupled with illustrative materials. We will definitely produce a printed book, and if there are enough "multi-media" submissions, we're going to try to put them together as a DVD.

I'd also like to take a moment to encourage those of you who have daughters between the ages of 11 and 16 to consider bringing them to reunion.  Several of us on the reunion committee feel that our 25th is a terrific opportunity to let our almost-grown daughters experience the Smith campus as adults. We are in the process of planning a few events that will be of special interest to them: a campus tour, a short workshop with someone from Admissions, and a "star party" that will give them some hands-on experience in the Smith observatory. The point is not to keep them occupied -- the mere spectacle of parades, Illumination, plays, concerts, a beautiful campus, seeing places where Mom worked and played when she was young, and a couple of fancy dinners should be enough to do that. But since we have the opportunity and the resources, it seems like we ought to encourage them to come and see Smith at its best and at least know that we've taken our best shot at getting them to consider it when they're ready to apply to college. Younger daughters and sons are also welcome to participate in these activities, and there will be other family-friendly things to do in the Northampton area.  We have also asked about arranging some "kid-friendly" food for Friday and Saturday dinner, but at this point I cannot guarantee that this is going to be possible. If something is arranged, there will be information on this Web site as soon as it becomes available.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank the volunteers on our reunion committee who you will see during that weekend doing everything from running registration and decorating our HQ to organizing meals and our parade signs. There's a list of them elsewhere on the Web site, so I won't repeat it here, but please do take the time to thank them for the time that they have spent (and will be spending) to make this get together work.

Hey, it's going to be a pretty good party! Hope you'll all be able to make it!

Cindy Harris
Reunion Chair