I came, I saw, I found my way back to the interstate.
Which was a small miracle, let me tell you.
An amazingly, briefly empty-street shot up at Arnold Hall, taken in the morning before the main rush.
Morgantown is located in the tippy-top north of West Virginia, near the Pennsylvania border. Nestled in the mountains, it’s slung out along the Monongahela River’s path through said mountains, and West Virginia University is slung out along with it, making it one of the most “all over the place” campuses I’ve ever seen. Students walk, or take the rapid transit system. If it’s working. I hear tell it’s not always working. But they’re young and energetic. They can walk.
Downtown, small blocks of one- or two-lane steep streets were packed with people and cars yesterday as something like half the town’s population flooded into dorms and apartment buildings. Weston is rooming in Arnold Hall. (Someone asked on a previous post about Honors Hall. Weston wanted to room with his best friend from high school.)
We got to the dorm around 10ish, after miraculously finding it. (Everything involving a vehicle in Morgantown is miraculous.) Miraculously, I found a corner to dump off Weston, his girlfriend, and his stuff in front of the dorm, and miraculously the cop that ran over to tell me that I COULDN’T STOP THERE let me when he saw how small Weston’s pile of things was. He’s a real boy, let me tell you. He took a backpack, a football bag with his clothes, a few Wal-Mart bags of assorted personal items, and his computer. THAT’S IT.
Unloading is a three-point system in which the person in the car must drive away and find a place to park. Another person (the girlfriend, in this case) stays on the street with the stuff. The student goes inside the dorm and gets their room key.
Miraculously, I found the only available parking space in Morgantown about 3 blocks away. It had 24 minutes on the meter. There was a bank across the street. I got quarters, stuffed them in the meter, and hiked back to the dorm. This was uphill, of course. Everywhere is uphill there.
And don’t let anyone tell you any different.
On the streets, confused parents and students milled, music blasted from apartment windows, drinks (INCLUDING BEER!) were set out on tables on sidewalks, and sorority girls sang in doorways.
Back at the dorm, Mariah came to the lobby to lead me to Weston’s room, which was on the first floor. Or, it was on the second floor. I’m not sure. Entering through the door, it appeared to be the first floor, but on the other side of the building, it looked like the second floor, resulting from the steep street. His minimal supply of necessities were in and he was already getting on his computer.
I made his bed, since I had a feeling that would be the only time it happened in the next two semesters while he lives in this room.
He promptly rearranged all the furniture.
His roommate wasn’t arriving till the afternoon. Madison, my cousin’s son, is a sophmore this year. All freshman students are required to live in a dorm the first year. This year, he lives in an apartment building across the street from Weston’s dorm, which will be handy because they’re all great friends.
Weston’s dorm is a couple of blocks off High Street, the center of downtown high life, and I took them all to lunch at a little Italian place. Sort of. First, I took Mariah to a little Mexican place for a vegan meal to-go, which she took to the Italian place, where everyone else wanted to eat. The cashier at the Mexican place started reeling off their late-night hours, selling to the college students, and suggested it was a great place to stop in after a night at the bars.
I smacked him left and right and rolled him up in a burrito then he said, “Oh, is he a freshman?”
After serving as a tail-gunner in World War II, my father came back to West Virginia and graduated from West Virginia University. He bunked at the WVU dairy farm where he milked fifteen cows before breakfast. After they got done milking, the university bussed them over to their classes then back to the farm where they went to bed early to get up at four a.m. and start milking again.
I like to tell this story to Weston over and over and over as an example of what he will be doing if he plays around too much and loses his scholarships.
I’m actually not worried about Weston partying. That’s just not his style, nor the style of the friends he chooses. (Oh, how important it is, the friends they choose. Happily, Weston chooses wisely.) I’m more worried about him not getting up in the morning and his lack of “organizational life skills” that seems to attend many super-smart people.
His roommate was arriving as we returned to the dorm, and I tore Weston and his girlfriend apart and drove home. It truly was a miracle that I found the interstate again, and I’m never going back.
Except maybe this fall for a football game.
Or to make his bed.
I’ve discovered it’s much more scary to send a kid to college than to boot camp. The government is looking after Ross and clocking his every move. Weston is looking after himself, which is disturbing and terrifying. For me. However, I’m pretty sure, he’s about to have the time of his life.
I put my thumb and forefinger together real tight and left Weston with this advice: “You can have this much fun.”
And also left him with a mere $30 cash and three bags of Tostitos to guarantee that within 24 hours, he WILL find the cafeteria!