Tales of Homecoming
Homecoming is a very special time of year. I never got homecoming for high schools, probably because I went to a high school without a football team and with very few alumni at the time. Still, the idea of going to back to high school to watch a foot ball game is so foreign to me. What do they do at high school homecomings? I guess there’s a dance, seeing as my sister-in-law is going to a homecoming dance with her boyfriend soon, but is it for alumni too or just for the students? Isn’t homecoming supposed to be for the alumni? The whole thing confuses me a little, probably only because I’ve never experienced it for myself. College homecoming, on the other hand. That I get.
This year I attended my second homecoming at Geneva College and it was surprisingly small. When I was a student I missed most of the activities due to play practice and generally got out of the theater just in time for them to take down the street fair. There was the one year when it poured rain, but I didn’t stay long for that one, just peeked at the world of homecoming and then went to the history museum instead. So as an alumna of Geneva I finally actually get to enjoy homecoming as a participant in activities.
When you think of homecoming in general you think of the football game and the crowning of the king and queen and stuff like that. We never go to the foot ball game. I feel a little bad about that as my best friend was in color guard all through college and I never managed to come see her twirl, but I also married a man who doesn’t understand football so if it’s a choice between sitting through a game or going out with him, I’ll chose him any day. I’m sure he’d sit through it with me if I asked him to, but I’m not going to do that to him. It’s not worth it at this point. So instead we walk around the street fair and look at the petting zoo and get BFCaT, because you can’t go up to Geneva without getting BFCaT coffee, or wassail in the case of my husband. He says it tastes like fall in a cup. You know fall has officially begun when BFCaT starts selling wassail. It’s pretty good, I’ll admit, but not something I’d drink a full cup of myself. Then again, I’m not much of a cider person in general.
Mostly we just go to see friends. Last year we managed to gather my husbands full group of friends. We did breakfast at BFCaT and then hiked up to the Geneva “G” that overlooks campus from the hill across the river. It was an impressive hike, and an impressive view. It’s quit the hike, but totally worth it. It was also a pleasantly cool day, which helped, I think.
It was awesome to see old friends last year, to go back and see my theater friends who were still there and getting ready for Peter Pan at the time. I didn’t make it to the theater that time, but I had gone in the week before, so I didn’t feel so bad about that one. It was a good time all around.
Comparatively speaking, this year was a bit disappointing. Less friends, warmer weather, and a rather sad looking street fair for this abnormally early homecoming weekend. I think moving it up two or three weeks threw a lot of people off. We still got to see a few old friends, and hang out with them for a while, but it wasn’t the grand gathering it was last year, and no Twirly, which makes everything a little less exciting. My husband and I spent the night at my parents’ place so we could go easily over to Geneva in the morning. We got the usual BFCaT hot beverages, the first hot beverage I’ve had this fall, in fact, and then wandered while we waited for the rest of the group to show up. This year I was surrounded by men. We enjoyed the petting zoo, as usual, and marveled at the number of tiny people who have been produced by people we knew in school. Families of two have turned into families of five somehow in a seemingly short amount of time and it’s weird. It’s funny how you don’t think about other people’s lives moving on while you’re not there to see it.
The big highlight of this year for me was seeing the renovations to the Bagpiper Theater. I did a few shows in the Bagpiper and it was a cute little space, but with the main Studio Theater scheduled for destruction the old Bagpiper needed some new updates to make it into the workable space the theater group needs. So they expanded the lobby and leveled out the floor and painted the whole thing black and are redoing the outside so it’s not a peeling green painted building anymore. It’ll be a fresh start inside and out and it’s going to be awesome. The lobby looks so good with the new detailing and paint, and I’m so excited to see their next play in the round. It’s not the Bagpiper I knew, and it’ll never be the Studio Theater, but it’s a great space on it’s own now and I think it’ll serve them well.
The rest of the day was spent getting ice cream and hanging out in College Hill Ice Cream, where they have the most amazing chocolate ice cream I have ever had. And a really good salted caramel as well. Basically every thing they have is good so if you’re on college hill in Beaver Falls you need to stop there. Seriously, you won’t regret it. Once we had enjoyed our ice cream we went to get yet more food, but this time actual food, at Hollywood Gardens. It was interesting. The food was very good, and I think if I were more confident in my beer tastes I might have tried something, but getting something you’re not sure of on tap is so much more intimidating than getting it in a bottle. Still, it was a nice place to sit and talk and enjoy the company of friends we don’t see nearly as often as we should.
I don’t know if we’ll be going to homecoming next year or not. I’ve enjoyed my homecoming experiences thus far, but I’m not sure if it’s an every year kind of thing. I mean, we’re in the area, so we might as well, I guess. It’s not a hard trip for us, but as the years go by the number of people we know is undoubtedly going to dwindle, and some year we may not know anyone, really. Still, the nostalgia value may be enough. The chance to walk around the campus where we met without it being creepy will always be a little tempting, and at the very least there’s BFCaT and there’s CHIC, and really, what more can you ask for than great coffee and amazing ice cream?