Most people I know think I’m just sooo sweet,” Cindy told me at our high school reunion in March. “But you know me.” Indeed, I did—we went to a very small boarding school and for three years had shared breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a dorm, and were basketball and field hockey teammates. Her current friends know a super-nice, preppy party planner with long, straight, bottle-blond hair. I’d known a hardcore jock with short, dark, curly hair and a stubborn streak. Heart of gold, but definitely not someone you want to mess with.
Cindy and I hadn’t been particularly close. But going to reunion—as Brown alums did for the first time in three years this May—made me realize, again, as I did at my Brown 30th in 2018, that it’s not just about close friends you’re probably still connected with anyway. It’s about the community of people you lived and played and learned with when you had hours of unstructured time and the socializing was easy. It’s about reconnecting, through them, with who you were back then, the “you” they got to know, before everyone dispersed into adulthood, never to be as truly and deeply known by as many people again. Sometimes it’s even about connecting with folks you didn’t know at the time but with whom you shared key, transformative experiences.
Ultimately, Reunion is about visiting not just with classmates, but with yourself—and remembering who you are under whatever layers of artifice or exhaustion the years may have brought.
Reunion is about ... remembering who you are under whatever layers of artifice or exhaustion the years may have brought.
For Bernice Forrest ’74 AM, a trip to the John Hay Library held a surprise reunion with her great-grandmother—and with herself. As our story on page 32 explains, Forrest hadn’t understood why she looked different from other Black women. A handwritten letter from her mixed Black and Indigenous ancestor, tucked into a book, helped Forrest look in the mirror and understand what she was seeing, and who she was, for the first time. We all want to be known—and to know ourselves.
Most of us don’t want to lose our younger selves, but remaining stuck in the old days doesn’t work either—we all know some version of the high school football captain for whom senior season was the high point of his life. The field of Classics has that challenge, writ large. A new course examines the field as it navigates an identity crisis: Can Classics be relevant today or should we “burn it all down,” as some classicists have suggested? Our story is on page 16.
Speaking of crises, the global paper shortage continues. This time we’ve had to scrounge for paper and cut our mailing list. The paper cost an additional $25,000 despite the fact that we couldn’t get enough for our full print run. We don’t know how long this will continue, but we’d appreciate it if you’d fill out a brief survey about your preferences at bit.ly/BAM2022survey. And please keep those donations coming; they’re more crucial to our continued high quality than ever.
Meanwhile, we can’t wait to hear your 2022 Reunion stories. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to send pictures!