• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
This area does not yet contain any content.
« The Scene of the Crime | Main | Still Kickin' »


Julie The Nephews Mama attended her eighth grade reunion last week.  That's what we do Cincinnati, on the West Side; since nobody ever goes anywhere-- or if they do, they're soon to return-- not only do you reunite with your grade school classmates, you're probably a five-minute drive from the parish in which you grew up.  My grandfather, who lived to see his nineties, attended yearly eighth grade reunions right up to the end, when it became an annual chicken game of Who's Not Dead.  Attending your eighth grade reunion in a rented undercroft while a full set of grandparents watches your children in the house you were born into:  It's pretty much the most West Side thing which ever West Sided, and I include in this calculation a bowling league heading to a parish festival for a few beers and rounds of Split the Pot before adjourning to a Skyline Chili for the evening.

Next year, I have a reunion, too.  Not eighth grade, though.

Not high school, either.


The ten-year one. The ten-year college one.  A decade since the Era of Regina North; that I can buy.  Ten years since I left?  Ohhellno.

When the first postcard about it arrived, I freaked out and tore it up and threw it away, because if the bulk mail doesn't exist, neither does the time span.  But now it looks like I'll be giving a reading and a signing on campus during the reunion, and... this exists, now.

This part of the year is always about time; counting down to Christmas, counting down to the new year.  We lift squashed masses of faux evergreens out of dusty boxes:  What's this?  What did we do with this last year?  Where's the ornament we put on that side of the tree every year?

Now I'm forced to measure what I've accomplished in the past decade.  Did I do what my professors thought I would?  Probably not; I'm not incarcerated yet.  I guess the question to ask is if I'm the person I hoped I would be ten years from the day I graduated.  That answer is no-- and that, really, is why that reminder postcard wound angrily up in the trash, not because people are failing to card me with disturbing frequency.

But a pocketful of nephew pictures, a husband, and "I've got a little website" ain't too shabby.

tip the bartender

class of '99 at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (9)

If you move a lot, like me, you don't get the postcards... or the reminders of how old we really are!

December 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElisabeth

A husband, a master's, A published book, a web site and two adorable nephews beats the hell out of still single, on disability, have an uncurable disease and fat.

Yeah, I got the post card too....I looked into air fare today. I am starting to save now. cause really why shouldn't I fly 1000 miles to see you and have you finally sign my book, when I can be at your house in 3 hours and less than one tank of gas.

10 years does seem to have gone way tooooooo fast. I was supposed to have accomplished something by now. I'm not sure what but something. I'll be the one everyone is thankful they didn't turn into.

December 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKell Belle

I don't think people will look at you that way at all! You give yourself FAR too little credit. You do a lot to make others happy and are a very dedicated auntie, and that's far more good than most can say. And God has more plans for you yet.

December 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

MB, "You do a lot to make others happy and are a very dedicated auntie, and that's far more good than most can say. And God has more plans for you yet."

Why can we be so gentle with other people, yet be so unkind to ourselves?

December 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnne from Iowa


You are right, we can be unkind to ourselves. I just had such plans when I graduated college and have seen none of them come true.

Sometimes helping others and being a good aunt just doesn't measure up when talking about what I've done for the past 10 years. I see how much all my friends have achieved and I feel like I am in the same place as when I graduated. I know God has plans for me but sometimes I feel like I am swimming in circles waiting for them to be reveiled.


December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKell Belle

[...] of the Crime Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2008 by MB Well, this should be interesting:  As I mentioned, I’ve been invited to read/speak on/answer questions about/discuss/hurl at an innocent public [...]

December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Scene of the Crime «

10 years is a tough one. I had mine in 2006. Made sure I was thin enough, happy enough, married, hair looked good... but the interesting thing was that all those people I was trying to impress that weren't all that friendly with me the first time around were REALLY nice. Did I change or did they? Whatever, it was fun and I'm glad I went.

December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

I've never received one of those invitations. Not for grade, high or college school. That's fine by me because I too would not like to see how old my school mates have grown, nor would I like them to find out how little I've accomplished.

December 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

MB, I'm proud of you! How many of the rest of the Class of '99 get to give talks on their published novels at our 10 year reunion?

All of our lives have taken trajectories we didn't anticipate when we graduated; some have been good, some less than stellar.

But we can still be proud that we are women of Saint Mary's, because, after all, that's who we are.

I'm looking forward to that speech, because I get to say, "I knew her when..."

December 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarah the BFFE
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.