Graduation day at Syracuse University for the class of 1958.
” We’re the Class of ’58, we’re the class that’s really great!!” as we were taught to chant at orientation in 1954. A lot of bull to me, but it was part of the program. I have received my Liberal Arts degree but won’t be there to participate. I left after my last final exam to go to Lake Placid for the summer. I will return the next, and for me final, year to graduate from the College of Engineering with my degree in Engineering, which is the real reason I came to school here.
This means that Marge and I will be separated for the summer. We had a lovely May that year and Marge and I went to Onondaga Park, one of the many Syracuse parks. Not Onondaga Lake which I wrote of earlier. I enclose a picture from Google Images for which I have requested permission to use in this blog.We had been to this park several times as we enjoyed it and not too crowded to have a last private conversation. We were trying to find out what our relationship meant, and what the separation of a summer would do to and/or for it.
I am re-using the photo of Marge and I at the Engineers Ball, also late in the semester in May 1958. I love the way Marge looks in this snapshot with her little Mona Lisa smile. Myself, I think that I have that glazed look of a deer caught in the glare of jacklights. That probably reflects my own glazed emotional state at this time.
We both knew that we did care for each other, enjoyed each other’s company, etc. but was this LOVE??? We agreed to keep in touch over the summer and when the Fall semester came, we would see if this absence had in fact made our hearts beat stronger for each other, or…………who knows?
Stepping back in time, how did we both happen to come to Syracuse University? For me it was rather a cold blooded business decision. By winning a very competitive NY state exam, I had proved my “superior achievement and promise” as my award letter stated. Definitely University material. I had visited several engineering colleges and Syracuse University made the best offer. In addition, being a University, not just a college, it had more to offer in classes and programs. So, they wanted entering students of proven above average intellectual capability. I wanted very desperately to get out of the Siberia of NY state. Free tuition in return for my keeping up a B- average was not that difficult. What a deal!!
Marge was on a similar track. She had won a NY state scholarship and Syracuse had offered her free tuition as well. At that time, Col. Sutherland had divorced Marge’s mother, and although I am sure she got alimony and child support, her mother, Dorothy, had to go to work. Middle sister Pat may have also been finishing college as well at about this time, I am not exact on this and really, it is a side issue other than that funds may have been a bit tight in the Sutherland family. My own father, a NY civil servant, had a steady job, but I had a younger sister who was college bound after I graduated. So, both our families of origin had financial reasons in rejoicing that we received these academic scholarships from Syracuse.
So, soon after our final afternoon of being together, Marge would soon head for home in Cornwall, and I to the Lake Placid Club to work for the summer. Our parting was not “So long it’s been good to know you” or “Buzz off buster.” It was another halting step,a baby step perhaps, forward in becoming a couple. I really enjoyed being with her in the Spring, and looked forward to renewing our relationship in person, come the Fall semester. Though I value my BA degree, it is nothing compared with the memory of the last time Marge and I were together that semester.