17 May 2010
Ask any parent who has put their child through college to describe the overwhelming and mixed feelings that take over when you witness your child receiving their college degree. It’s simply a wonderful moment in time filled with memories of the past, pride for the here and now, and a sense of great anticipation for the future.
Our weekend was almost a miniature family reunion complete with friends and family who have played an important role in Allyson’s 22-year life. Nanny and BobBob, Uncle Mike and Cousin Emily, Aunt Becky and Uncle Doyne, Rebecca and Sweet Pea Annie – and of course, Lee, Anna-Lee and me. In addition, Allyson’s Jeffrey was with us the entire time and we had the pleasure of his parents Don and Darla joining us Saturday for our special dinner and graduation, along with Allyson’s Fairy Step-Father Scott, my longtime friend who lives and works in Columbia.
We spent a wonderful two days at The Taylor House in Columbia, MO. It’s a beautiful old home perfectly preserved and on the National Register of Historic Homes. It was the superb setting for a family gathering like ours. Other than Thursday night dinner at The Heidelberg and Friday lunch at the legendary billiard hall and hamburger joint Booches, all meals were enjoyed at the B&B, which made our time together much more intimate.
Because we rented the entire home, we decorated with photos of Allyson from the time she was born until just last week. In addition, everyone had the chance to look through her college portfolio, capstone project and other scholarly accomplishments during her time at Mizzou. The culmination of the weekend ended with the Saturday evening Journalism School graduation ceremony at Mizzou Arena. Two-time Emmy Award winner Bill Geist of CBS News Sunday Morning (and 1971 Mizzou graduate) was the speaker – and it was certainly the very best graduation speech I’ve ever been forced to listen to. Following the ceremony, Allyson and her gang of girlfriends hosted a private soiree at Quentin’s, a downtown hangout popular among the students, for the girls and their families.
It was the perfect weekend to celebrate the many accomplishments of a wonderful young woman who has worked very hard to successfully complete her degree at one of the top Journalism programs in the country. It was especially meaningful for my father, Bob Sells, a 1957 graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School. Daddy chose not to walk on his graduation day. Instead, almost 53 years ago, he married my mother on that Saturday.
Now, to tell you about my wig incident . . .
Allyson and my mother have been more than upfront in their pursuit to get me to wear a wig. As for me, I’m quite content wearing one of my many hats that fit quite comfortably on my head and don’t scratch. But everyone who knows my family well knows that my mother and daughter consider themselves to be quite the fashionistas. So this past week I was persuaded to finally pick-up the wig I ordered from St. Vincent’s New Outlook. After picking it up Wednesday, I tossed it in my bag without much thought – okay, maybe with the exception of thinking, “Am I really going to wear this wig out in public?”
Give me a hand because I actually wore the wig all night Saturday, for the graduation and pre- and post-festivities. And it was okay - other than feeling scratchy on my head, itchy on my face and having this overwhelming sensation that I was wearing a badly executed disguise or trying to live some kind of fantasy. But it worked fine (on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 5) with one exception. As the night drew on, the scratchy feeling on my bald head dominated this wig madness, which required a big old scratch of the wig from time to time.
Fast-forward to Quintin’s, the party following graduation. I’m standing there with my niece Emily in pleasant conversation with Allyson’s many girlfriends and their parents. At some point I turned my back to scratch my head with the wig. As I turned back around, Emily is still by my side and begins to move into action to correct the damage I’ve done - but not quickly enough. At that very moment, I’m immediately introduced to Lauren’s mother whom I’ve never met before. I’m sure she is a lovely woman but it was difficult to get past the look of bewilderment on her face as we engaged in small talk for a minute, where I did most of the small talking. Throughout a brief encounter, a more accurate description of her reaction to me was a stunned and paralyzed look with her mouth wide open. I felt a bit uncomfortable, wondering does she know something about Allyson that I don’t know? Has she never heard a southern accent before? Is their paint on my face? What’s up with the look?
As we ended our pleasantries and she moves on to visit with others, Emily bursts into complete and total laughter. For you see, the crown of my wig was down around my right ear leaving me with a terribly awkward and crooked hairstyle – the length my hairdo on the left side was resting on my ear while my right side had hair draping over my shoulder. Emily said it was her own memory in time, one she will never forget. She quickly repaired my out-of-whack hairdo and we went on to explain to Allyson what I had done to embarrass her, in the event she heard about it from her friends. Fortunately for me, my daughter has been blessed with a large dose of humor too, especially when it comes to anything involving Emily. We must have all laughed for five minutes, and throughout the rest of the weekend.
So I will conclude this blog by saying . . .
To Lauren’s Mom – I apologize for my shocking hairdo. Hopefully if we meet again I will either be wearing my own hair or I will have mastered the art of wig wearing.
To Emily – thank you for standing by as my hairstyle repair technician throughout the weekend. I couldn’t have done it without you – and your great sense of humor!
To Allyson – Congratulations honey for a well-earned diploma. You have made your mom proud. And I’m also thankful that you have the gift of appreciating laughter and comic relief, even when it applies to your Mom. Thank you baby. I love you very much!
Posted by Stacy Sells at 10:00 AM