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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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It feels like I was at college 5 minutes ago, and also a lifetime ago. Which I guess is what twenty years is. Someone's lifetime. Someone could be reading this who was born the year I graduated from college. Crazy!

Tasha and Pat

Listen, twenty-year-old: in the years since you were born, my friends Tasha and Pat did not age even one little bit. I think they have a couple of portraits tucked away in their respective attics. I'm not going to look into it too deeply.

Wandering the halls at Wellesley

I wandered some of the hallowed academic halls with Tasha, as we tried to remember where our Italian class was. It was not where we thought. Then I broke my hip! I walked it off.

Looking at Amy's photo album

Here's my friend Amy showing us her old photo album that contained all manner of light-rinse denim and permed hair. The perms were all mine, sadly.

My friend Irene (you'd remember her as my shower-obsessed friend) informed me on Saturday afternoon that we were going to sing. In a semi-circle. Because that's what we did in college (as the Wellesley Widows, dear lord) and that's what we were going to do now. Also, people would be watching. I attempted to protest, but you just can't argue with Irene. Maybe it's because of how good she smells.

We rehearsed for all of five minutes, like so:

still singing

And then:

Wellesley Widows reunion

People came (I bet Irene ordered them to! It's like she's MAGIC!):

Our patient and generous audience.

Nothing will cause me to break out in hives more than the phrase "impromptu a cappella," but this was fun and not even a little bit humiliating.

Impromptu a cappella

I miss singing with people I love.

Below is Pamela Daniels, who was our class dean. She retired a while back, and when she did, I wrote her a letter to thank her for saving my life. Which she did. I had a challenging sophomore year, and she met me, every day, just to talk, for weeks. Maybe months. She wrote me back such an amazing letter that I almost wanted to send her a thank-you note to her thank-you note. She is an extraordinary human being, and I am so fortunate to know her.

Me and the now retired Dean Daniels

I had no idea she would be at the reunion. Then she strode in, all stately and regal, and I walked up to her kind of tentatively and she looked at my name tag and said, "You wrote me that letter!" That was ELEVEN YEARS AGO, you guys. She gave me a huge hug and oh, I cried.

Scott took this picture (and all the others, by the way), and while he was futzing with the camera she whispered to me, "He's in the arts, I hope? Tell me he's in the arts," and I said yes, Dean Daniels (I can't call her Pamela), he's in the arts. Doesn't the beard give it away? No?

This is the cover of our '70s revival band's first album

Here we are, walking through what was, when we were at school, a parking lot. Now it's wetlands? I was very confused.

This was a parking lot.

You couldn't pay me to go back to 1991, but then again, maybe you could pay me to go back to 1991, maybe just for a little while. If I could bypass the fashion mistakes and just hang out with my friends.

Me hugging Tasha

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Reader Comments (53)

YOU are just so damn beautiful! Truly lovely!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJasmine (Djazzo)

Where's all the dudes? (kidding) Is it crazy that I think that Dean Daniels has the same kind eyes as...EDEN KENNEDY?!! Glad you had fun. Great pics, ArtsyScott.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCincy

Oh my god, Cincy, you're right. Eden is going to look just that amazing at Dean Daniels' age, too, I can FEEL it.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlice you're making me feel bad that I missed mine. And yeah, I wouldn't mind going back to 1991. Minus the angst about my future, of course. B/c that sucked, big time.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErika

My first thought about the Dean Daniels photo was, "wow, Alice got her picture taken with Jane Goodall!" AM SMART.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Well! This has somehow made me nostalgic for people I've never met, and people I haven't lost touch with. Beautiful.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTherese

You all look so fresh-faced and lovely and self-actualized and organic (?-- not quite the word. ) I would buy facial cleansers and yogurt from any of you, in an instant.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterroo

It sounds like your reunion wasn't nearly as angst-ridden as mine was. Maybe I will look as awesome as you did at my 20th. I can only hope. Yeah for Seven Sisters!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkate

Dean Daniels was my dean, too. I credit her (and her awesome editorial skills - that woman WORKED my grad school personal statement) for getting me into grad school. Grad school, alas, didn't stick. I haven't spoken to Dean Daniels since I graduated. But I do feel as if I've let her down. SHE gave me an awesome chance and I blew it. That woman changes lives.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkiki

You look so lovely, Alice. (And Dean Daniels too!)

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwhoorl

So, I know its not the point of this really sweet post, but with all the photos it really jumped out at me and I just have to say... Wow, going Silver was a really good call. Your hair is gorgeous.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCara

Love this post-because as an educator/counselor your story about your Dean really got me. Of course she remembered the letter. We all keep a file or box or treasure chest with those notes/cards/letters in them. Mine are my most treasured possessions, up there with my son's first lock of hair and ultrasound. They reaffirm our professional choices. I'm positive she has read it and re-read many times in those 11 years. Bless you for putting your thoughts to paper and letting her know:)

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I am twenty! Here I am, being twenty and reading your blog! Excuse my jubilance; most addresses to twenty year olds are patronizing, so I'll take neutral recognition wherever I can get it. You make me so excited to graduate! And write letters! And wear fashionable adult clothing!

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle

I have to echo what everyone else said- you are STUNNING. And your story about Dean Daniels made me tear up a little. Sounds like you are both lucky to know each other.

June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

We just went with my husband's grandfather to his 75th college reunion.

Your hair is so pretty

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

The phrase impromptu a cappella makes me break out in hives too, but for different reasons :) To each their own and all that.

Love this post, though. Almost makes me want to go to my next reunion. Almost.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

What? No video of the impromptu a cappella? Ripoff.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbeta dad

Just had my ten-year reunion two years ago...we laughed because at my fifth, I'd just started dating this great guy I told my buddies years later, I'm due with our first child.

It's so cool to go back to the place that brought you all together for the first time with the perspective you've gained through the rest of your life since college, isn't it? You look beautiful and I'm glad you obviously had such a great time!

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdie Frau

I'm glad you had fun! And had brunch with Brendan! I'm not sure there's anyone from my college days I would care to reconnect with, maybe give me another 5 years to think about it.

Can we talk about how fabulous your hair is looking? Can we? Because I really like it. I'm thinking of embracing my gray as it's coming in and I think the way yours is working is adorable.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthe grumbles

Best reunion post ever. I miss singing with people I love, too. And your story about the dean is wonderful.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM.T.

Love this! Warms my heart, and I especially like how awesome your hair looks (from one who's going natural, too).

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucy

You know, I mock my hometown, but Wellesley is beautiful, and Wellesley College spoiled me for any other college campus. It is simply the most beautiful campus I think I have ever wandered around in. On. Of which.

This makes me mildly regretful I didn't go to my 15th reunion. College for me wasn't necessarily easy, but I thank God for the friends I made there. College friends see it all, the awkwardness, the pretension, the drunken confessions, the questionable outfits-- and they still love you anyway.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMermil

Did the Widows ever sing in an arch at Princeton between fall of '88 and spring of '91? Because then I TOTALLY would have seen you. And that makes me feel even closer to you than I already do. Is that a weird thing to say?

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMomVee

Ohhh, this made me SO nostalgic for Wellesley I got a little teary-eyed at my desk (Class of '98!) I haven't made it to a reunion yet (sister got married the same time as the 5-year and work got in the way for the 10-year), but next time I just have to.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris C.

You look so happy and relaxed in these photos. Love the hair.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTawny

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