After last week’s blog about the then-upcoming Pima Hall reunion, many of you are probably wondering how it went? To get an unbiased opinion, you’d need to ask someone else. Asking for my reaction is a lot like asking an author to review his or her own book where the resulting reviews most would say, “It’s a great read.”
From my point of view, the party was great. Was I nervous? If I told you I was dressed by 3 PM for a party due to start at 5:30, would that give you some idea? Yes, I was nervous. What were my concerns? Would the caterers show up on time? (They did, and the service was terrific.) Would the food be good and would there be enough of it? (The food was wonderful. Thank you, Feast. As for was there enough? I believe we finished working our way through the last of the leftovers last night.) Would one of the dogs do something “bad” in the house or escape while the doors and gates were opening and closing? (They did not, mostly due to the fact that Bill hung onto both of them with leashes a good deal of the time.)
I remembered during the afternoon, that I hadn’t thought about name tags, but by then I decided it was too late to do anything about it. Fortunately, someone else brought name tags along, and she was among the first to arrive.
The living room had been polished to a high gloss on the assumption that people would go out onto the patio for maybe a few minutes and then come back inside for the remainder of the evening. Nope. People went out to the patio and stayed there for the duration while we added more and more chairs from inside and out to the ever-expanding circle. Later in the evening it started to get a bit chilly, so I went inside, gathered some shawls and throws, and passed them around.
For me the most meaningful part of the evening came when we did a Round Robin, and each of us stood up and recapped what happened during our fifty year plus “intermission.” We were remarkable young women back then—people brought photos—fun-loving and studious both. And what we’ve done since is remarkable, too. One of us, Linda, my freshman roommate, went back home to Welton, married her high school sweetheart, and then home schooled all NINE of her children—K-12. We had lost touch completely, and it wasn’t until I wrote an e-mail inviting her to come to the reunion that she learned that Judy Busk from back then had become J.A. Jance, an author whose books she had read.
Because Linda had driven over from southern California, she ended up spending the night here at the house. Unaware that we have a resident thief in the house, she unwittingly left a pair of shoes unguarded in her guest room. Guess who stole them? Jojo. We found them the next morning, tucked out of sight under a chair in the family room. By the way, Jojo also took advantage of being unsupervised long enough to make off with and eat an entire bag of chicken doggy treats. I found Jojo and the empty bag when I was going around the house turning off lights.
But back to the Round Robin. Many of the women are still married to the guys they were dating back during our college days. Some of us had short marriages to begin with and longer marriages later. One said she has proved to be an unsuitable wife several times over. A few others have been widowed in the past few years.
Not surprisingly, many of us became teachers after graduating from college. Some of us still are, volunteering in tutoring situations long after retiring. One has devoted time and effort to helping immigrant families settle in and thrive. Some of us have maintained friendships on an almost daily basis while one pair unwittingly encountered one another at an art show a few weeks ago and discovered they were both Pima Hall Girls. They were both at the party!
One woman, a large animal vet, has served for years on the board of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and another, who grew up in 4-H and worked with her late husband running a plant nursery operation in Phoenix, has served on the board of the State Fair. One woman with a lifetime interest in music helped found the Southern Arizona Symphony on a wing and a prayer, doing concerts in venues that were less than wonderful. Their timpani drums had already been loaded into the Temple of Music and Art when the place was locked down due to a gas leak. (How the drum set was smuggled out of the concert hall remains a mystery, but it was.) As for those lean days when the group was first founded? Those are a thing of the past. In a week or so, the wing part will be airplane wings as the symphony flies to Brazil to do a series of concerts.
And speaking of mysteries, one lasting Pima Hall mystery was finally solved on Saturday when, after 50 years, the guilty party finally confessed to her misdeed. Hanging over the mantel in Pima Hall’s living room was an odd piece of art, a paper print—supposedly of South American origin and allegedly quite valuable—which was, as far as any of us were concerned, plug ugly. Sharon Jane Brown Maddux, who like Mary Poppins was “practically perfect in every way,” happened to be on the dorm Christmas decorating committee one year. In the course of putting up decorations, Sharon managed to roll the offending art work into a very small tube which she concealed in the back corner of a locker in the basement. When the decorations came down, surprise surprise. The wall hanging was nowhere to be found.
Mrs. Van, our house mother was not amused. There ensued an investigation in which every girl in the dorm, yours truly included, was hauled into Mrs. Van’s apartment and interrogated—all of us, that is, except for Sharon. Mrs. Van knew that Sharon would NEVER be a part of such a shenanigan. At the end of the year, Sharon “just happened” to find the print when she was cleaning out the locker. As a result she left Pima Hall with her penchant for perfection undiminished.
All in all, it was a lovely evening. We ended by singing Pima Hall, our castle tall. From the stories I heard, it would seem as though most of our dreams really did come true—maybe not the first time out, but over the long run. I know MINE certainly did, in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined way back then.
We came away from Saturday evening vowing to find more of us for “next time.” As for when will next time be? Next year, same time same place?
It could happen.