Random Thoughts on Commencements and Initiations and Regalia
This past Saturday was our college’s undergraduate commencement. I alway piss and moan because I have to get into hot regalia and attend the ceremonies and in the end I’m always glad I attend. When I was growing up, graduations were alway important. Education, especially higher education was highly prized and viewed as an honor and a priviledge. Truthfully, I went to one of my graduate commencements so my grandmother could go, rather than from any sense of it being a special occasion for myself. She was cool. She went to a Normal School and taught in a one room school house. She got her BS from the University of Maryland in 1959, my uncle driving her three hours to attend classes in the summers.
So I have this history about graduations and commencements. I always felt they were akin to an initiation where the graduate is standing on the threshold of a new life, participating in a ceremony that links them to the scholars of that college and to the world in general. Most people don’t act and think that way. Nowadays, there’s almost a sporting event atmosphere about them with parents cheering, beach balls being tossed around and so forth. A loss of sacredness.
This year’s graduation was way long. One of the librarians I work with got a major statewide award. Very exciting. People seemed more respectful and well-behaved. Maybe because the University Police are now armed? [ironic and testy comment!]
When you sit in the faculty seats, you are close to the stage and you see a lot of footwear. Sometimes you worry about the young girls who totter around in very high heels. I’m actually glad that flip flops are in fashion. It’s easier on their knees and less of a falling hazard. The young woman who sang the National Anthem and the Alma Mater had her formal flip flops on–they were black. So you have the basic black little dress and the basic black flip flops.
One young man had his robe’s zipper pulled down so it was obvious he wasn’t wearing a shirt and he was wearing only birkenstocks. Most of us imagined [shame on us!] he wasn’t wearing anything underneath. I’m just glad he didn’t moon the audience. It could happen.
It’s nice to see the families so excited about their kids’ accomplishments.
On Monday morning as I was going back to work, Mouse saw my gown and hood in the backseat of the car. I don’t wear the mortarboard hat anymore since five years ago when the hat slid off my head and hung down around my neck as I processed through the crowd of moms, dads and grammas. Mouse’s comment was–
“there’s not much difference between being a witch High Priestess and an academic. The clothes are really alike!”
Glad I stopped wearing the damned hat!
We had a wonderful and outrageous wedding in our backyard the week before. I wore a pale blue robe with a textured velvet shawl. The bride wore black and purple. Only in a pagan wedding does the clergy wear white and the bride wear black. All that matters is that everyone was happy.
May you find happiness and comfortable footwear!