Sunday, October 4, 2009


I’m back!
Did you miss me?
Here’s what Jo worked on while I was gone…

My daughter, Kaity, and I just returned late last night from our trip to visit several colleges she’s considering. Our first stop was Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Upon landing in Minnesota, we rented a Chevy HHR, which I nicknamed "the blind spot." I’ve been in submarines with better visibility.
The first thing you see driving into Northfield, assuming that you can see, is the giant Malt-O-Meal factory, conveniently located in the middle of town. As we walked around the college campus, you could smell the factory everywhere you went, which turned out to be a selling point for Kaity. It smelled like a freshly opened box of cereal. Delicious!
I felt a little like an intruder on campus, not being young enough to pass for your average student, and not being distinguished looking enough to pass for a professor. When Kaity wasn’t with me, I worried that I looked like "The Carleton Strangler", cruising the hiking trails on the edge of campus, looking for my next victim.
The town of Northfield is pretty small if you take away the two colleges it’s home to. Their claim to fame is thwarting a bank robbery by Jesse James’ gang, killing two of his gang members in the process. I read all about it in the hotel room’s "attractions" binder, containing two lonely pages.
Next, we flew over to Connecticut and drove our new rented car up to Amherst, Massachusetts. There are five schools in the area: Smith, Mount Holyoke, Hampshire, Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts. If you attend any of these schools, you’re able to take classes at any of the other four, so we tried to see them all, wearing holes in our shoes in the process. I have a cousin that goes to Hampshire College who was nice enough to tour us around there and give us the inside scoop. She also turned us onto a big thrift store that they have in town. Kaity loves finding the strangest antique clothes at thrift stores to confuse bystanders with. She bought a plaid jacket that both of us agreed looked really good… and we noticed that it was getting some looks on campus, reaffirming our belief that it was a quite the find. Later that night, standing in front of the bathroom mirror in her "new" jacket, Kaity realized how much it looked like a bathrobe. And it really did. I laughed so hard that neither of us had seen the resemblance before. I guess we have some blind spots of our own.


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