Saturday, July 24, 2010

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Norwich Free AcademyI'm a little over a month late on this post but as I mentioned earlier, in addition to June 18th being Amanda's 18th birthday it was also the day of her high school graduation and, except for the fact that it was just a little bit too warm, we couldn't have asked for a better day as there was none of the dreaded New England summer humidity hanging in the air nor were there buckets of rain pouring down.

Unfortunately there were also darned few clouds hanging in the air either and had I been using the part of my brain designed for actual thinking I would have brought an umbrella or two with us when my mother, our friend Amy, and I walked over to the Norwich Free Academy campus around 3:00 to attend the graduation ceremony which began at 4:00 p.m. with a massive processional!

NFA Class of 2010 Processional
NFA's graduation is traditionally held on the athletic field behind the school unless it rains and then they hold it in the gym with very limited seating but broadcast the ceremony on closed-circuit TV in classrooms around the campus.  There was certainly no need to hold the ceremony in the gym this year but for those of us sitting in the metal bleachers waiting for the ceremony to begin, it was going to be a very warm afternoon!

Standby Unit at NFA
Every year my company provides an ambulance to be on standby just in case someone is overwhelmed by the excitement and/or heat and this year was no exception.  It's a good thing they were there as three students had problems with the heat during the course of the afternoon but that's no surprise as when you're graduating 546 students it takes time - especially when the speaker from the Class of 1960 decides to go on and on and on longer than the song at the end of Titanic!  Both of the speakers chosen from the Class of 2010 were quite good and quite quick but apparently the gentleman who represented the alumni of 50 years ago didn't realize that people were just about ready to melt in the bleachers across from him. Granted a lot had happened in the past 50 years but this guy seemed to want to cover all of it in intricate details and before his speech was over we could see vultures circling in the air just waiting for someone to keel over while the half moon had risen quite high in the sky!

At long last the speeches were done, the presentations were made, and it was the moment that all 546 of the kids sitting in the glaring sun on the athletic field and their friends and family surrounding them had waited four years for - the presentation of the diplomas!  As I waited for Amanda's name to be called I tried to remember what had it been like for me way back in 1976 waiting my turn to walk across the stage and accept the certificate that closed the door on my youth and pointed me in the direction of adulthood and my own dreams but alas, like so many things anymore, the memories were sketchy at best.  And of course there were no video cameras or score of photographers or parents with really good zoom lenses on their own cameras sitting in the stands to record the event while updating on Facebook and Twitter!

Amanda doesn't have my last name so luckily we didn't have to wait all the way to the O's before her name was called (and mispronounced as seems to be the norm) so shortly after she received her diploma my Mom, Amy, and I retreated to the shade on the side of the athletic field and waited for the ceremony to be over. I certainly didn't want my Mom to be one of the people that my co-workers needed to lend assistance to - especially considering that it was her birthday also and probably the last thing she wanted was a trip to the Emergency Room!

Once the last student finally received his diploma, the newly anointed alumni of the Norwich Free Academy Class of 2010 receded from the athletic field where they were greeted by cheering family and friends all immensely proud of their own graduates - myself included. As happy as Amanda was to have her high school career behind her, I still found it hard to believe that those four years had passed by so quickly and that my very last child had graduated from high school - having been leaped over by her younger sister by a mere six days!

When we got back to the house where Jamie had been waiting as there weren't enough tickets for her to attend her sister's graduation being that her father had come all the way up from Florida to be there, I had Jamie put on her cap & gown that we had brought up from Florida so that I could have a picture taken with both of my graduates.  After all, I was never expecting to have both my girls graduate in 2010 and the occasion needed to be marked.

Me & My Graduates
And look! They're both smiling at the same time! It's a graduation miracle!


  1. What a fabulous day! Congratulations to the graduates and to Mom!

    The trouble with being the photographer IN the shots is they always seem to come out a bit out of focus or heads cut off... This one isn't too bad! It might even benefit from some artistic post-processing!

    big hugs :)

  2. and mom is smiling also, and life goes on.....

  3. Anonymous8:58 AM EDT

    Linda, you are just beaming with pride in those pictures. I'm looking forward to seeeing my children walk across that stage, sort of an ending of one chapter and the beginning of another. You are so blessed to have such wonderful children and their love for you is so apparent.

  4. wonderful, just wonderful!

    smiles, bee

  5. Anonymous9:47 AM EDT

    Aren't you just proud of both young women! Such wonderful, delightful ladies. I love the red cap and gowns.

    Enjoy the new chapter. I assure you that it will be fun. Big hugs!

  6. That's a fab picture of you, Amanda & Jaime

  7. Those big happy smiles say it all! Congrats to all three of you for these milestones...of many more to come.

    Big hugs, honey...

  8. And they are both beautiful along with their obviously proud mama.

  9. What a wonderful day for all of you!
    I know life will hold the best for those two, what with all the talent!

  10. Yes these are good times when the next generation moves into adulthood.

  11. Congratulations to all of you!

  12. What a wonderful photo of the three of you ladies!

    You look so happy and so proud, Linda. ;-)

  13. Congratulations to your daughters, best of luck to them both.

  14. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the last picture!!! How wonderful that they both smiled for you!> :)

  15. What a FANTASTIC photo! Those smiles say it all. It has been a pleasure to watch your kids mature and grow through your blog. Thank you for sharing them with us.


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