Kickoff your Reunion Weekend 2022 with a conversation with two of our Reunion Chairs! Barbarajean "BJ" Schaefer Blodgett '72 and Tarrah Price ’21 joined our hosts to swap stories of their time on campus and share what being a Laurentian means to them.
[Theme Music Plays]
Denny: Welcome back to Scarlet & Brown Stories podcast. I am Denny Morreale, class of 2007 and with me today is Amelia Jantzi. We are both very excited because this is reunion week here on campus and we are very excited to be welcoming back hundreds of Laurentians from across wide range of class years and our guests today are here to help us get excited about it.
Amelia: We have two fantastic guests for you, who are both reunion chairs of their own milestone. We have Barbarajean Blodgett, class of 1972, who will be appearing alongside Tarrah Price from the class of 2021. We have a member of the 50th reunion and a member of the first reunion.
Denny: First ever first reunion.
Amelia: First ever first reunion who are expressing their excitement for reunion, what it means to be a Laurentian and what it means to stay connected to the St. Lawrence community. And I think from here, we should just let them tell their story.
Denny: Let's jump right in.
Denny: With reunion coming up and both of your classes coming back, we thought this would be a great time to get together and see how you guys are feeling. To start us off, would you like to say a bit about, kind of who you are and what your experience with St. Lawrence has been so far?
Tarrah: I'll let you kick it off, BJ.
BJ: I graduated from St. Lawrence in 1972 with a degree in Fine Arts. I had taken minor classes in education and graduated with a job, which back in 1972...
Denny: Yeah, that's not bad.
BJ: That's pretty impressive. I took a job in the Watertown City Schools teaching art and never left. I'm one of those rare birds that has had a total career with one company.
Denny: That's lovely.
BJ: That's not to say I didn't get swept around, which was wonderful because in New York State, they're certified in art K through 12 and so I was able to spend time over my 36 year career in everything from junior high, back then was grade 7 through 9, all the way down K-6, the little guys, the wee ones. And so it was a truly rewarding experience. I never went to work a day where I had to say, "God, I hate my job. I hate my job. I hate my job. It's work." It wasn't work. And the children loved coming to the art room, not so much because of me but because cool stuff went on. And so it was just a glorious career. I truly enjoyed it and I was lucky enough to have had both my daughters as students. For 45 minutes each week, I was Mrs. Mom.
Amelia: Oh, I love that.
BJ: Mrs. Blodgett or Ms. Blodgett, however. That was pretty cool. Of course, the first person who got their name on the board for misbehaving was one of my daughters.
BJ: Let's test the waters here. Let's see if she's really going to nail me. I did. I did. It was quick. Punishment was swift. But in any case, it was a wonderful career. I enjoyed it enormously and I thank St. Lawrence for giving me a wonderful education, A, and B, the confidence that I could think clearly, write well and react on my feet. And those three things are essential if you're a teacher. Very essential if you're an art teacher but I'm forever grateful because my four years there was an experience. Back when I had graduated in my mind, it was the best back to back four years I'd ever had in my life.
Denny: I like that. I think I haven't thought of it that way but I might say the same. I don't know if I've ever had a consecutive four years than were better than those.
BJ: Yeah, me too. I've never had four consecutive. I'd had a really good one and then...
Denny: Yeah, exactly.
BJ: Back four years at a time in your life when you're so impressionable 18 to 22, it doesn't get more impressionable than that. And so my affinity towards St. Lawrence is so strong because in that block of time, St. Lawrence rules reign supreme, nothing else consumed my life as much as that time. I dare say there for me, it was a real cornerstone of my life.
Denny: That's wonderful. Very nice. You've had a very interesting experience with St Lawrence too. And what's interesting about having the two of you on is that very different experiences in a lot of ways, but we wonder if there might be some things that hold true. So do you want to give us a kind of overview introduction of how you got to know St. Lawrence and how you got from there to where you are now?
Tarrah: Yes. So I agree BJ, the best four consecutive years. I'm definitely holding on to that one. So I'll give you credit whenever I say it, but my sister went to St. Lawrence and naturally she never stopped talking about it. So when I was sort of going through the process of where I wanted to go, I was on the Alpine Ski Team at St. Lawrence. And that was a pretty big factor of where I wanted to go, because I was competing at a pretty high level. So that was number one. But then because my sister hadn't stopped talking about it. And then I came to visit, got my pub cookie in my welcome bag for my tour. And then we went to a hockey game that night. So I think like that was it combined with the pub cookie and the hockey game and meeting everyone and just seeing such a close-knit community.
Tarrah: I remember, I think it was Power of Pink day at St. Lawrence and so my sister was very involved at her time there. So she was going and doing that. And so she kind of left me and she was like, have at it explore, but it was really cool because I was very young, not a lot of confidence, so I kind of explored, but St. Lawrence kind of gave me that confidence to sort of walk around on my own and be nervous for sure, but I felt welcome enough. So then I went to St. Lawrence was on the Alpine Ski Team and the golf team. So those are two pretty cool experiences. And then also I was a student delegate to the Alumni Executive Council had a great experience with that was really fortunate because that was good and bad. That was sort of COVID time.
Tarrah: So in a way, missed out on some cool opportunities to meet people in-person and check out Canaras and get to sort of connect more in person, but it was during COVID time. So it was pretty cool every Friday or Thursday night at around the same time for, I would say a couple months, we would get to go on Zoom and connect with everyone on the council. So that was huge for me getting to sort of connect with people. And it was a highlight of my week for sure, getting to go on the Zoom with everyone, but sort of as my time progressed and I was a senior and I was looking to graduate, obviously COVID is still a thing and, but was much more a threat. I feel at the time in which like I was there in graduating. So our class didn't have any really traditions that we got to do all of the classic ones, that BJ. I'm sure. If you could think of anything, your favorite things that say Lawrence was probably one of the traditions.
Tarrah: So that was something that kind of impacted my whole class. I would say it never really brought us together. We were all sort of scattered around being leaders within our little circles because we couldn't really come together. And then as graduation got closer COVID was an issue because we couldn't bring everyone together to graduate. So that impacted a lot of people because it's such a milestone in one's life to be able to walk across the stage with your family and your classmates.
Tarrah: So that sort of all combined kind of made, I would say my class have sort of mixed reviews on how they felt about the school and I don't think it was anything to do with the school. It was more so just the situation. So myself and one of my peers, Cooper McCrillis, we sort of came together and tried to come up with an idea of how we could bring our class together and make them re-fall in love and reconnect with the school in a way that would make them excited and happy and rejuvenated and all of that. So yeah, we approached the advancement office and they were super keen, had a nice coffee chat with Joe and Cooper outside the bookstore and yeah, here we are a month or so until reunion. So very excited to be here.
BJ: You know, Tarrah, you used some words that I use when I tried to invigorate or excite my classmates. Not only am I a graduate of the class of 72, I'm also my class reporter and I've been the class reporter for 40 years. So they know me better than I know them, just because. In any case, when I think of reunion, I think of these words and you touched upon them, return, reconnect, reflect, and recharge. Okay. The return part is the hardest part is to get people to come back to campus. Okay.
Denny: That's so true. Yeah.
BJ: And, oh, it's too far. Oh, my kid's graduating that weekend or, oh, I can't get a babysitter. There have been so many excuses. Eventually, you're not old enough yet, but eventually you're so old that your kids are grown. There's no more excuses. I will hunt you down, get the hook in and reel you in. You're coming to the reunion because once you're campus, the magic starts. And I can't say that enough. There's something magical that takes place on that campus. It happened for me like you, I didn't have a sister, but I came to visit St. Lawrence my junior year at high school. And my parents stayed with hockey coach, who they knew very well. I stayed with a bunch of women at Rebert Hall who believe it or not, the following year wound up being my sorority sisters little did I know, but the thing was, I got to see firsthand what life was like on that campus. Having been the first child in my family to go to a four year school. So this was a big deal. This was like, holy smokes, this is wonderful. Everywhere I went, whether I was with these young women or not, everybody smiles and says hi to you on campus. Holy smokes, who does that? I mean, not in my high school. Good grief.
BJ: But the fact of the matter was I felt so at home at this place that I applied early decision, I never looked at another school. Period. End of that. I said this is it. This is for me. I can thrive here and boy did I ever, it was just wonderful. So that return part, going back to campus, the reconnect, when you come back to campus, you're seeing your old friends and you get on the phone. Well now it's email and whatever, but I'm going, are you going to come? Come on, let's go. It's all that reconnecting with old friends and believe it or not, some of my best friends now are people that weren't in my sorority or weren't my best friends on campus. They're people in my class that I have met over the years that I've become closer to because kept going back, kept going back.
BJ: The reflect part is the part where just like that. Bruce Springsteen song, Glory Days, a bunch of old people sitting around talking about the glory days. It's a wonderful opportunity to say your memory is of certain things, but someone else on the same campus at the same timeframe has a very different recollection of their experience. And you kind of mill those together in this wonderful story of what took place when you were there. My class right now, Tarrah is doing a memory book way better than a yearbook, way, way better. I mean a yearbook doesn't come close to this memory book, because everybody gets a page, or two if you got a lot of stuff to put in there. You get to talk about your life, answer some quick questions, if you will, load it up with photographs, et cetera, and it's all yours, nobody gets to edit it but you.
BJ: Then the recharge part. So you come back to campus, you reconnect, you reflect and you recharge, and that's the part that's so essential. You leave there saying, man, that was such a great time. I'm so glad I went there. I've got to tell everybody else why St. Lawrence is just so wonderful, because trust me, I've got friends, they blew off their four years wherever they went to school. And they're like, you really are going back to your 50th reunion. Oh my word. Ugh. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's why reunion is important. It, it just gives you an opportunity and you are so lucky, Tarrah. I know it sounds bad that COVID hit you, but you're getting a second shot. You're getting another at bat. This is like extra innings for you.
BJ: And I'm so happy that your class Tarrah is going to have that second at bat. You're going to hit it out of the ballpark. I know you are.
Amelia: How does your class feel about this reunion? They excited like how many people are coming back, like tell us about this experience with getting your class together to come together for really the first time.
Tarrah: Yeah. So BJ, I love those four words. They're so succinct to, I think what encompasses it. And I've never been to reunion. I was going to work the reunion when COVID happened. So I was pretty bummed about that because I had heard about how fun it was and all of that, but said it to sort of experience those words through coming back. But in terms of my class, I would say I have a different sort of path I would say with our class than other classes, because it's a unique approach in the way in which to connect with my peers in my class. Explain why it's happening, explain what's happening because we graduated and we left and it was kind of, I think, confusing to a lot of people, just the time and everything. So I think it's been really interesting and I think a lot of people in my class are sort of in a different point of their life.
Tarrah: So coming back to reunion, it's harder to take time off work or to travel cause it's expensive to do that. So I think that's one aspect that I didn't really think about when all of this was happening, but it's been good. I think people are really excited. I think they can't wait to check out the hoot, because many people in my class didn't even get to go into the hoot. Oh, that's right. So that's one thing I will say. They're pretty excited about that and just experience the school, I think for my class, because there's so many older alum and cool opportunity for us to meet, sort of connect with them and get insights to everything, but in a more casual, unique experience. So yeah, it's going well and continuing to foster the excitement.
BJ: One thing that my class figured out a long time ago was the use of affinity groups. Basically what we've done is divide the class into groups, Greek houses, sports, different activities on campus. For example, Laurentian Singers, call Laurentian Singers in our class. Kappas call Kappas, Deltas call Deltas, Phi Kaps, call Phi Kaps, Beta call Beta's, but there's overlap because some Beta's are football players or some Sigma Chi were soccer players and so on and so forth, but once we nailed down all those affinity groups, it became very apparent that was a driving force. That if so, and so was going to come well, then I'm coming to, but we'll drive together or we'll, whatever. If you can learn to do that early, it will really ramp up your ability to get people back to campus. That's who the only people they really want to see. The woman that I've spent the most time with recently is my traveling partner, Pat Welsh Schultz, she was a Delta when I was on campus. So we were like fighting over the same people that come in the house, all of that crazy nonsense that goes on. Over the years, this is the best part, she and I have become such close friends because we always came back to reunion and what's remarkable is she's getting an award, this reunion to the Atwood Manley Award. So it's like, very nice.
Amelia: Cool. Congratulations to her.
BJ: She was a fundraiser in development for St. Lawrence right out of college, pretty much. And she has done a professional fundraising for various not-for-profits, her whole life and so she really has it down. And so she's like a little machine. She knows how to establish large gifts, who knows how to approach people for very significant gifts. And she's very willing to teach others how to make the ask. The thing is you don't give until it hurts. You give until it feels good.
Denny: I like that. I've never heard that. That's good.
Amelia: Denny's going to file that away for a rainy day.
Denny: I mean I'm involved in fundraising that's I always have been and I tend to do small dollar donation stuff, but I've always sort of told people like once you get into it... This isn't even just to St. Lawrence, but certainly to St. Lawrence as well, donating to stuff feels good. And it like, it makes you feel really good and it can be kind of addictive and contagious and like once you've done it, you know to calibrate that to the level that'll make you enjoy the kind of ritual of it.
BJ: It's really true. It's like Christmas, you're so joyful that the gift you gave is so well received, you know? It's they say it's better to give than to receive and it's so true.
Denny: It really, it really is. Yeah. The Christmas comparison's true. It's one of those things you don't realize it as a child, but then when you're an adult, the giving other people gifts is exactly, is far more like satisfying part of the holiday.
BJ: But that's true about St. Lawrence. I've met such incredible people, not just in my own class, but the generations. And Tarrah you was so fortunate to have met the alumni council people. I likewise was on the alumni council. I met some people that were old enough to be my grandparents and they had the same feeling, the same warm fuzzies about pit horns. The time they spent there as time they spent there as I did. And so I have a theory.
Denny: I want to hear this. Yeah. So one of my questions I've got here is relates to what do you think the secret sauce is?
BJ: It's the cookies, it's the pub cookies. [crosstalk 00: 17: 33].
BJ: It gets the hook in and it just reels you in. I knew Jack Taylor very well. He was the food coordinator for St. Lawrence while I was on campus. And he stayed. I mean, he, you know, I gained 15 to 20 pounds my freshman year, you know, easily.
Denny: Yeah. Likewise.
BJ: The food was great and it got better. I mean, when I we'd go back to reunion and say, what is this look at this food court now. Oh, my word, this buffet, holy smokes. We were served, you know, you ate what was put in front of you, that kind of thing back in the day. Oh sure. But it was good food and Jack Taylor was so proud of the kinds of things he could bring to the North Country and he established this wonderful thing called Recipes From Home. And so I'm certain...
Denny: I've heard of this. Yeah.
BJ: On certain nights it was Mrs. Jones' pot roast or so and so's grandma's Apple Brown Betty or whatever. And it was just so fun because, you know, if you were homesick, there's wonderful home cooking. But also it was just the idea that people at St Lawrence were listening. They were taking student input and putting it to use and there's something about that that's very telling about St. Lawrence. I was on campus during probably the most tumultuous time frame in American history. My senior year Martin Luther King was assassinated senior in high school. Martin Luther King was assassinated. Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. The war in Vietnam was raging and there was a draft of 18 year old men and older. It was just a crazy, crazy time. And so that going on and then being on campus, we're like two, two very different worlds.
BJ: You know, we're in a bubble. So to speak, you know, protected from some of that. I think the sense of engagement of the people in my class and the other people, upperclassmen that were on campus, we were allowed to get engaged. We were allowed to March, we were allowed to express ourselves. We were allowed to agree to disagree. But because of that, a lot of stuff changed. I entered St. Lawrence with a dress code I had to wear a skirt to meals, a dress to dinner. The men had to wear jackets and ties. There was a curfew for women. There were Saturday morning classes. You were not allowed to go into a fraternity or a male dorm unescorted, or at all, the only place you could go was the lobby of that building.
Denny: Oh, wow.
BJ: It was high time to bust the move and our group of people on campus those years, those four years.
Denny: So that was when it transitioned.
BJ: Correct. Tear down these walls.
Denny: Wow. Okay. Cause I've heard, tell of these is like traditions that you would hear from people, but didn't actually know precisely when it happened. So that's real interesting.
BJ: I would say from '66 on, high school class of '66 on, I think really those late sixties were the real, real change going on in America. And it took root in at St. Lawrence. It really found a place there to affect really good sound, social change. Students demanded more people of color to come on campus. The Black Student Union was created Operation Kanyengehaga, where students went to the reservations and helped tutor Native American students. There were a lot of things that were developed during that timeframe. The junior year abroad program really took off the Kenya program took off. So a lot of things started in those late sixties and I'm very happy that I was there to be a part of it. I was a student leader and I was really affected by the opportunities that I had by the administration to affect a lot of those changes. So yeah. It's good.
Amelia: Yeah. It's so interesting. Sort of you talking about these really unprecedented times and the change that came out of them. And Tarrah, you definitely lived through some really unprecedented times, obviously the pandemic, but also there was so much going on in the country at that time. And I feel like I saw some of, you know, the way that inspired our students, but talk to us a little bit about that. Like how has living through the absolute insanity of the last several years, how did that impact you in your class and how was your class impacted St. Lawrence?
Tarrah: So sitting here listening to BJ, I'm like, wow, there's obviously very different worlds, very different situations going on in the world. But I was sitting here. I'm like, wow, there's a lot that just connected with my experience and everything that's happening. So I was on a Zoom and I'm kicking myself because I don't remember exactly who and I didn't read it down. It was pretty big Zoom, but someone said, one time, within this past couple of years that St. Lawrence doesn't make character. It reveals character. And that is something that has stuck with me. So thinking about my past couple of years and everything going on and all the change, and I had some pretty close friends and got to experience the Black Lives Matter movement. A couple of students created the Black Laurentian Initiative, which was a really cool and incredible organization.
Tarrah: They're still continuing everything with that, but that was really, really awesome because obviously I'm not someone coming from a background that knows anything about being in a minority. So being able to learn and to sort of see different perspectives was incredible, super fortunate. So being a member of the Student Athletic Advisory committee and being a leader there and being on my ski team and being able to sort of sit with that and try to make change in a way that I could was really cool. But yeah, it was definitely insane. COVID was crazy, but really incredible opportunities for sure. And a lot of similarities.
BJ: I think, what's neat is that every generation that is at St Lawrence, there's some key thing that ignites, and there's a spark there. If it's, student governance and, or visitation, which is going to the different co-ed dorms, that sort of thing, whether the Greek system, some of those things, all kinds of flash points, if you will, where they can really cause some problems. I think it was the way that St. Lawrence was able to handle those crises if you will that left a mark in a good way, because it was a certain freedom. And I think the faculty, because the faculty's kind of in the middle, when you think about it, you got the administration over here and you got the students over here and there's the faculty right in the middle. And the faculty can go either way.
BJ: I mean, they could side with the administration in some respects after all that's their boss or they could side with the students who they're there for. And so I think St. Lawrence has been able to attract and maintain such strong educators, such strong professors. And I think that's one of the things that separates St. Lawrence from so many universities is that these professors actually teach their classes. They're not taught by TAs and you got to Yale or Harvard or any of those swell schools. And guess what? You may not get Dr. Whohoo who's, written 89 books and so on teaching your physics class, you're going to get the TA. And I'd rather hear it from the person that wrote the book and believe or not when we had to take humanities as a class, it was required class. Everybody had to take humanities.
BJ: Unfortunately, it was taught at eight o'clock on Saturday morning, some of the sessions, but the professor that wrote the book was a St. Lawrence professor. So he even knew the foot notes that were in the book was that kind of passion that these professors brought to their particular field, but their passion for teaching was just remarkable. And I think when we talking about what class influenced them, name your favorite professor, or name your favorite class, what's your favorite memory? You know, and so on, there was no question. I mean, some of us had several, it wasn't just one professor that did it. There were many, and some of them were outside of our majors, which is remarkable. There were professors that had a reputation, their classes sold out, if you will, when you go to registration, you got locked out because they were so popular. What a good feeling that has to be for a professor, A, and B for a college where they have such great educators that the students can't wait to get into that class.
Tarrah: I couldn't agree anymore. I think when I was at St. Lawrence, something I always wanted, and I don't know if I talked about it with anyone or not, or if I just thought it, and I don't know if I should say this or not, but I always wondered why and how there were so many professors, such incredible professors. I mean, the North Country is incredible and I love the North Country, but I mean, me being as active in needing social interaction all the time, I always wondered how St. Lawrence always had all these professors that were like world class professors in the middle of nowhere. And it's in the middle of nowhere, but the middle of everywhere. I always wondered that, but I couldn't agree more. I took some of my favorite classes. I actually was just asked a couple of months ago what my favorite class was. And it's still sitting with me because I didn't have an answer and I should have.
Tarrah: It was a moment that I needed to have one, but there were so many that I couldn't... I could go on for forever, but I think something that's different about St. Lawrence is that the people are real and you can connect with them. And the professors have flaws. Advancement has flaws. Communications has flaws. Everyone has, students have flaws. Everyone has flaws, but it's not something that's hidden I feel. I mean, I think sometimes everyone always tries to hide their flaws, but for the most part, St. Lawrence is very open and real. I remember when my class got pretty overwhelmed with how we were going to be sent off before graduating. And so I jumped on a Zoom with President Fox and I was talking to him and I was asking him his thoughts on it all.
Tarrah: And obviously everyone makes decisions that they probably could have made a better one, but then you can only make a certain decision based on what you have at the time. But he was telling me all of this and he was telling me how he could have made this better, but it's life. And I sort of that moment, I was like, wow, you're a real person making very big decisions, but you're being honest about how like that's life and that's how it goes. So I think that's something with St. Lawrence with even now working, whenever I do something or do a project wrong or whatever it might be, or delete a file or whatever it is. I realize that you're just real and that if you tried to hide any of that, you can't, it always comes up. And I think that's something that St. Lawrence has instilled in all of us.
Denny: Really appreciate that observation it's having been here sort of in the administration. I'm an alum, I think in alarming, number of administrators are actual alums and then of course the alumni councils alums and the trustees are alums. So it really kind of is the St. Lawrence community. When you think about it, but I did have a question for you, Tarrah, something I've been curious about almost from the beginning. I remembered thinking to myself, because we have now currently four and a half year old son, who's been living through the pandemic and he wore masks like a champ. He never batted an eyelash. He thought it was fun. He would happily wear them longer than any of the rest of us would without complaining cause to him, it's just, oh, cool mask. Right?
Tarrah: With dinosaurs on it.
Denny: And I hypothesized in that instant that he's probably going to have a weird kind of nostalgia about the pandemic, right? Because masks he'll see them and it'll be like this weird kind of Americana or something that associated with his childhood. I'm just curious. I know this is a weird question. I think a lot of people were curious, how are students handling this? And I'm wondering if you have any kind of weird, COVID specific things that came out of being a student and amongst that creative and maybe a bit mischievous and enthusiastic group of people that are the St. Lawrence people. If you have any weird nostalgia already related to your time as a student in that very unique time period?
Tarrah: So great question. It's wild that you asked that because when I moved to Boston and I was sort of figuring out what I was bringing. I had this little bag and before I went back to St. Lawrence in the fall, cause I sent us home in the spring and then we came back in the fall masks everywhere all the time. And I didn't really have a mask because I was living north of Toronto with my family and we didn't really go out because Canada was very locked down for a very long time. That's right. And so I didn't really have masks because I didn't go anywhere and I didn't really do anything. I would wear one into the grocery store and that was pretty much it. So then it went coming back to school. I was like, oh my gosh, I'm going to be wearing mask all the time.
Tarrah: I have to be an athlete. I have to like be a student. I have to be a leader. I have to do all these things, but I need a mask. So I naturally, as we do now went online and I ordered the cutest mask, most comfortable masks I could find, but I still have them and I don't wear them anymore because I don't know why I don't wear them, but I was going to get rid of them because sort of lessening up masks and everything recently. But I was like, I don't think I can get rid of these, because I feel some sort of connection with them that I went through all these things.
Denny: I'm like you. I'm such a sucker for that kind of thing. I'm right there. Yeah.
BJ: I see in a vision a patchwork quilt. Oh, that's such a good idea and you frame it.
Tarrah: You know what? I'm going to do that. And I'm going to, I don't think I can do a quilt cause I don't think I have quite enough. I'm going to do a pillow. I'm going to do a pillow size.
Denny: Oh, that's nice.
Tarrah: I'm going to do that. I'll send you a picture after
BJ: It's fun.
Denny: It's funny that you mentioned that when our son was born, my mom pulled out of the attic, the box that I didn't know existed. I realized I had no memory of these things. And then as I open up the box, she had thought to do this and she remembered stories about me from then and give, gave me that now that I have a kid who I'm now giving it to, but it reminds me of something you were talking about, the reflect word that you had for, I've heard this theory and I'm not, I don't know the exact specifics of it. I believe it was a, like a neuroscience idea or something to that effect, but that we don't store our memories all in our own head. Our brain can't hold all our memories. So we scatter them across our community.
Denny: And so you, as a parent or your parents, they have a lot of your memories stored in their head.
BJ: Yes they do.
Denny: And you realize that when they tell you and all of a sudden you're like, yeah, I do remember all those things, but I didn't until you unlocked it. And a very similar thing happens at reunion in that you get together, you do that reflecting process that you were talking about. And all of a sudden you realize your classmates had stored so many of your memories in their brains. And now as they're like they brought the keys with them and they're unlocking those memories for you. And that might be the most, from my experience with it, the most sort of joyful aspect of coming back for reunion.
BJ: I think so. When I think back I'll have people say, BJ, remember when you did so and so and I'll say, yeah, huh. All in that you blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. On the bus, on the bus to this, to the ski hill. Because back then, Tarrah, we had to have a gym requirement in order to graduate, like two years? So you had to have four consecutive units of gym. Well, I took skiing. There are no ski hills on Long Island where I'm spot. I learned how to ski. So there was a bus and you strapped your skis on the side of the bus and off you went and someone recently said something, oh, BJ, I remember you were so kind to me on the bus, the ski bus. And I thought, I have no recollection. None. And she described the story and I thought, oh my goodness. So you're right. You're absolutely right, Denny.
Denny: So much of that will happen. Yeah. So I know that we're kind of coming up on our time here, but I feel like it would be a good sort of opportunity, Tarrah, you're heading into your first reunion. You have some veterans on the call currently. What do you want to know?
Tarrah: Okay. So my first question is what is the best theme you've seen at reunion for the parade?
Denny: Definitely going to leave this one for BJ.
BJ: One year, I decided we were just going to have these Panama hats. I had a St. Lawrence graduate who did embroidery and she embroidered, you know, 72 is the new 40, because you've heard that expression. You know, people get old, they think they're young. Well, they're not, they're old, but so young. So, red boas and that was wonderful. It was a lot of fun and that was our banner. One of the better ones we did was for my 45th. And because it was our 45th, someone came up with the idea of 45's. We used that as our theme. And so we came up with all of these songs that were on 45's and those were our banners. Well, we won. It was wonderful.
Tarrah: Wow, that's very clever. That's cool.
BJ: We had T-shirts the whole nine yards. But this year, because it's our 50th, my group has come up with a great idea. And that's because we're the next to last class that ever wore beanies. We each got a beanie that came on campus that had a little felt 72 on the front. And it was fabric felt. It wasn't like baseball caps. They were really funny little beanies. And so there was also something called a Boonie. I don't know if that's, that's still exists, but big time because there was no visitation. If you wanted to see your guy friend or your girlfriend, you had to go it alone somewhere, somewhere to just be alone. And so a Boonie was that, you had a blanket, you had a couple of beers or whatever, or sodas or picnic, whatever, but you, and a way you went. And so our theme for our reunion is beanies, boonies, blankets and beer.
Denny: Oh, that's wonderful.
BJ: So the great part is, and this is the best part is that in, I'm giving away a trade secret here, but the wife of one of my classmates has made this magnificent patchwork quilt on St. Lawrence and the patterns that she used is very significant. They have to do with flocks returning. That's one of the patterns that she used. And another one is a friendship pattern that she's using and it's all scarlet and brown. It has the St. Lawrence insignia in the middle and it's a king size. So our theme is that we've got the best boonie blanket ever.
Amelia: That's amazing.
Tarrah: That is truly iconic. So really iconic.
Denny: That's wonderful.
BJ: What's wonderful about, as much as COVID certainly influenced your entire college experience or a good portion of it, Tarrah, that could be the joke. That could be the butt of the joke. I mean, you can return with masks on the rest of your lives and everyone will get the joke, anyone that's living because they will have known, oh, this is the COVID class.
Tarrah: Writing that down. Writing that down. This is COVID class because I love this because I think the parade, isn't what I would say my class is focusing on. I'm not going to say that we don't have a theme yet, but I would say that's a really great idea. And I would say COVID, everyone was kind of everywhere and didn't really know what they were doing. So that could be our theme. I'm definitely rolling with that now.
Denny: Very nice.
Amelia: Just like, walk in different directions during the parade.
Tarrah: Exactly. Yeah.
Denny: So I had actually been thinking, because I remember as a senior, I think I worked reunion for part of it. And I was like, parade, you got to be kidding me. That's that's dumb. Right. And then I came into this role and in the first role I had in the office, I managed the student workers and I thought, I can't believe there's a parade of this thing. Adults are going to walk in this parade. Seriously? And then I get there and I see it in real life. And I was emotionally overwhelmed. It was like goosebumps. The whole time student workers were in tears as like certain classes would go by or just like hysterically, like clapping and laughing. And it is the most emotionally powerful part of the whole weekend. I cannot explain it on paper. It looks ridiculous, but it is in real life, in real life. It is just so my advice would just be don't overlook the parade. The parade's awesome.
Tarrah: Okay. So Denny, so you'll, you'll be a spokesperson for the parade for our class.
Denny: Yeah. I highly advocate. It's a mistake to, and also every fifth year reunion, which is normally the earliest out, they almost inevitably don't take you serious and they learn and by the next ones, they're more involved.
Tarrah: That's so funny.
Denny: So another observation I made about reunion, just having seen a lot of them in this role. So I'm actually in a reunion this year. I'm in the, my class is in its 15th and I'm part of that 15th cluster. So you might be inclined to think that being the one year out class, that it'll be a linear thing of like you guys will be having the most fun staying at the latest, you know, and then next will be the 15th and then next will be, but you would be a mistaken. You, your class will indeed, because the fifth always is. So I do think you will be in the running, but you're not a sure fire bet because a funny thing happens, my class will be there and it'll be very cute. There'll be lots of kids running around and we're going to have our feet up by nine o'clock, probably in our dorm room, right? And that's how it always goes. And the same thing for the 10th and the same thing for the fifth, always they come, they party it up like it's senior week. Sure. The 10th, the 15th, the 20th, much more subdued you get to the 35th. And a funny thing happens. They bring their A-game. I'll just put it that way.
BJ: That's the recharge part.
Denny: They have a really fun time. And that continues on through the 40th and the 45th and the 50th. And just trust me. Yeah, you'll see.
Tarrah: All right.
Denny: I'll leave it at that.
BJ: It's that Bruce Springsteen song Glory Days.
Denny: So you may think that you will own the weekend, but in fact, you will have a lot of competition.
Amelia: Well, I feel like we can't possibly top this conversation off in a better way, but I just wanted to thank you, both Tarrah and BJ for just sharing your love and excitement and stories and insights. This hour has gone by faster than any hour I've ever spent. And I wish we could like talk to you all night long. And thank you for everything that you're doing for St. Lawrence and reunion this year.
BJ: Thank You, Tarrah. I can't wait to meet you in-person.
Tarrah: Yes. Looking forward to it. I'll catch you at the parade and then at The Hoot.
Denny: There you go. That's what we like to hear.
Tarrah: Thank you both.
BJ: Thank you.
Denny: Thank you so much.
BJ: Bye bye.
Denny: Well, I am certainly excited for the weekend after that. Thank you so much to our guests. And thank you so much to you, our listeners, and to all of you who are coming back to visit us this weekend, we could not be more excited to see you. And for those of you who are not going to be with us this weekend, you will be there in spirit and we will catch you next time. And until then we will be back at you a month from now with our next episode.
Amelia: Absolutely. Thanks everybody.
Beth: Scarlet and Brown Stories is edited and produced by Amanda Brewer, Megan Fry Dozier, Dennis Morreale, Beth Dixon and Amelia Jantzi.
Amelia: Our music was written by Christopher Watts inspired by Eugene Wright, class of '49.
Beth: Subscribe to Scarlet and Brown Stories on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts.
Amelia: If you have a story you'd like to submit to us, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.