Chasing Shadows

I recently took a long overdue trip back to my alma mater, the illustrious WPI in the not so illustrious city of Worcester.  There were a lot more things to do as a student than a tourist.  I did, however get the chance to visit most of the old haunts. 

The campus has seen a bit of growth.  One parking lot has grown into an admin building and a much beloved lawn has been cut away to make room for a campus center.  While the center is very nice and a much nicer spot to hang out than the Wedge.  I will always love the places that were mine more than anything new.  And my inner dryad will lament the loss of the lawn and trees forever.

My old neighborhood is still a very questionable area, but there have been some definite improvements.  The “crack house” is gone and appears to be a respectable home now.  And a few of the old haves have been demolished for a very swank set of new small apartments with reserved covered parking.  My old building appears unchanged and according to the mailbox was still co-ed. 

I spent the morning visiting the art museum home of one of my favorite places.  And one of the most naturally calming places I’ve ever been:  The Chapter House.  It was a tiny haven of peace against the chaos inherent in college life.  Even now, the memory is a soothing balm to raw nerves.

And, of course, no visit would be complete without a jaunt up to Bancroft Tower.  I can’t count the number of nights we spent at the top gazing out at the stars.  It had the best view in the city and the added thrill of trespassing after hours.  It was a right of passage.  And it’s full of memories.

Everywhere I went was full of memories.  I saw shadows of my younger self peeking around corners.  On campus she was leaning against the rail at the  Alden loading dock waiting for a Masque meeting to start, taking a break from a read-through.  She was in my old apartment window watching the shade of Chucky skip merrily home.  She was in my old room still crying over her first broken heart.  I caught a glimpse of her peering out from the heights of Bancroft Tower surveying the world with her three cohorts. 

And I’ve realized that she’s still in me.  The six years since leaving WPI haven’t changed me much.  It was those four years there that made me who I am.  My whirlwind trip was too short to see everything or everyone that I’d hoped to, but I saw enough to stop chasing the shadows of my college self and find her still in me. 

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