Voices Raised, History Shared

Reflections on returning for a 30th Reunion.

Dear Friends,

This summer, I attended my 30th reunion at Bryn Mawr. I have learned that despite doing practically nothing active for 48 hours, I nonetheless am capable of eating vast amounts from buffet meals simply because they are arrayed before me. I have observed that there is no limit to the number of adorable owl-themed tchotchkes purchased from the bookstore that can be added to one’s personal collection. I was reassured to learn that my classmates and I “look exactly the same!”—the (many) intervening years notwithstanding. I was abashed to discover that I am barely breathing in and out when compared to my sisters from the decade classes of ’48, ’58, and ’68 (40th, 50th, and 60th reunions respectively!), many of whom are in better physical shape, vastly better traveled, and/or supremely more accomplished than I. I now know that babies at Reunion are always adorable and charming, but teen children attending their parent’s reunion mostly appear to be attempting out-of-body transmigration throughout the weekend. I have learned that White Russian cocktails are an excellent source of calcium. I have seen and envied matching class muumuus and pondered the likely attendant liberation from foundation shapewear. I have determined that bagpipes played during the parade of classes can magically reduce a pool of otherwise acerbic, critical thinkers into a blubbering mess. I have heard the combined voices of nearly a thousand women joined in song, eerie and haunting and delightful under a vast Bryn Mawr sky.

I feel, now more than ever, the power of tradition and the mantle of history that is Bryn Mawr. Are things exactly the same as they were when I lived on campus? Of course not. But being immersed with alumnae/i and current students spanning seven decades in age reminded me that I am—we all are—most profoundly a part of this institution, inextricably enmeshed with those who have gone before us and those still yet to come.

Saskia Subramanian ’88, M.A. ’89
President, Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association