A Stroll Down Memory Lane

by Karen

10 years ago, I graduated from high school in a small town about 45 minutes from Philadelphia, PA. Two and a half months later, I began my college experience at Clemson University, located in Clemson, South Carolina. For me, the choice came down between Clemson University and Virginia Tech. And honestly, there was no choice (sorry Hokies). From the minute I stepped on the campus during a visit my senior year of high school, I knew where I was going to college. Not only is it a good school (Clemson earned Public College of the Year from Time Magazine in 2000 and has since continued to receive national exposure for it’s research and other academic pursuits), it is beautiful campus rich with history, and has a student body (and alumni) filled with Clemson pride. I guarantee that if you come across Clemson alumni, they will have a college decal on their car, a Clemson flag in their yard, and a wardrobe filled with orange shirts.

During this vacation to Georgia, we knew we would have the opportunity to take a quick overnight trip sans little guy. We decided to take a stroll down memory lane and spend the night at Clemson. So on Friday morning, I picked up Clay from the Greenville/Spartanburg airport and we made the journey we have made countless times before from Greenville, SC to Clemson University. Those familiar with the area know that the school is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and Lake Hartwell. They also know that most roads leading to the school are peppered with orange paws (pictured above) and from the moment we saw them, we knew we were getting close.

We walked around downtown Clemson and grabbed some lunch before making our way to the campus. Our first stop was Clemson House (pictured behind us), which is where we met almost 10 years ago. Back then, it was a dorm mainly for sophomores with the occasional freshman. For whatever reason, I was assigned to a fifth floor Clemson House apartment for my freshman year (this means I managed to avoid communal bathrooms during my college experience…score!) and lived with three other girls. Three weeks into my freshman year, I met a sophomore boy who lived on the third floor. Almost 10 years later, we have been married for 6 1/2 years, lived in NY, NC, and OK, and have a 20 month old son. Interesting tidbit – one of my roommates also married the boy she met at Clemson House a couple of weeks into our freshman year, and Clay’s sister, Martha, and her husband met at Clemson House too. I am telling you – it is a special place. Or maybe the apartment-style living is just conducive to co-ed hook-ups.

We spent the afternoon strolling around, visiting the buildings where we attended our favorite classes, the library where we spent many hours studying, and the little spots where we would meet for a quick cup of coffee between classes. Because of the holiday weekend, it felt like we were the only ones on campus.

Due to the vacant nature of the campus, I made Clay take a picture of me in the amphitheater in front of the reflection pond (library is in the background). I may or may not have been singing an off-key rendition of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.

Paw prints are everywhere on campus. Since the weather was approaching 100 degrees with ridiculously high humidity, we cut the campus tour short and checked into the hotel where we basked in the air conditioning. We went to Pixie and Bill’s (a favorite place for special date nights in college) and sat next to a group of rambunctious 40-something-old women who were obviously having a ladies night. We didn’t mind, we were too busy dining on salad with orange poppyseed dressing, blackened filet and shrimp with a creamy creole sauce, grilled zucchini, roasted potato rounds, and cabernet sauvignon. It was nice have a meal without scolding a toddler to stay in the high chair or not to put a knife in his mouth.

On Saturday morning, we checked out the football stadium after a quick breakfast at The Huddle House. The food was eh. I couldn’t get a good shot of the stadium because a lot of construction was going on and entire portions were blocked off and locked. We did manage to find an open gate that a crew member probably forgot to close so we snuck inside to take a look at what had changed since we’d been there last. Unfortunately, we were unable to get into the upper deck. Sigh. Interesting tidbit – in college, Clay repelled off of the upper deck of the stadium with some other ROTC cadets. Sadly, I wasn’t there to witness the event.

After getting the obligatory shot of us inside the stadium we got into the car and made our way back to Georgia. We did stop by the world’s largest firework store to pick up some things for our July 4th celebration, as per our brother-in-law’s request. It was our first time in such a firework store and let’s just say that we enjoyed the people watching and were amazed that some of the goods were legal. And with that, I am off. My beloved and I are heading to the store because we’re in charge of dinner tonight. We’re thinking seafood. So thank you for reading and I hope everyone has a happy and safe Fourth of July. We will be spending ours in the car, heading back to Oklahoma. What are your plans? And do you enjoy visits to your alma mater?