By LIZ MARCHI
We are on our way home from Roanoke, Virginia. I have spent the last 10 days doing something I don’t do much of, revisiting a place in time. The occasion, my 40th College Reunion at a small, Virginia women’s college, founded in 1842 beneath the shadows of Tinker Mountain in the Blue Ridge. What joy to have my Montana ranching husband share this time with me. We were girls who took the road less traveled: rigorous academics, no boys, no sororities, isolated from the urban pace to learn, think, cry, grow, imagine, experience, reach, laugh and cry. We reunited after 40 years as women, in my eyes, so incredibly beautiful from living lives of meaning and purpose. One classmate said it beautifully, we have survived the best and the worst and we are still full of energy and vigor for living and that softness of the south which is both a gift and a curse.
I loved knowing the amazing things we are doing and have done but that was not top of mind for anyone: the joy and celebration of reuniting was so powerful. It was a new first for me. Although I am the only one of us on a ranch in Montana, we are living and working all over the world. We are teaching, flying, running businesses, many of us have raised families, but this time was about us. The hugs were long and strong. We danced, ate, drank, laughed and talked and rocked. Everyone should understand the magic of a rocking chair on the front porch: in our case, Front Quad at Hollins.
After a weekend of long, long goodbyes, dear Montana friends joined us for a week of history and recreation in the Old Dominion. Our friends have been to 105 countries but never to Virginia. Years ago a friend brought them a comb from an old Virginia resort about which they remained curious all their lives. When I mentioned that I was planning to attend my 40th, they said let’s join you and visit that resort, which we did this week. To their delight, they were able to secure a NEW COMB. So every comb over isn’t necessarily unattractive.
We spent yesterday and today in Lexington, Virginia where several of my more famous southern relatives are buried. We walked the beautiful grounds of Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute where friends teach and have attended. This morning we visited Natural Bridge which was surveyed by George Washington and then owned for a time by Thomas Jefferson and is still privately owned although a national historic landmark. Virginia has history, our country has history. Montana is home and we are on the way back. We still have a lot of history to write in our beautiful state. May we do it with intelligence, unselfishness and grace.
Liz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild. She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go into overtime.