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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
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Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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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)

Okay, so between this post and FB posts of my friends, I really miss Swellesley, a Cappella (I was in the co-ed MIT/Wellesley group) and Dean Daniels. I served as my year's first Alumnae President and I remember receiving my diploma at graduation and coming off the stairs. Pamela Daniels shook my hand, pulled me into her arms for a hug and whispered, "They are all yours now!" She was amazing!

Thanks for giving me a does of nostalgia to this '97 this morning! I will be there next June! Wellesley, Wellesley only to be there!

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjlhe1975

I love this. I love those Jewett steps. I too marveled at that parking lot turned meadow. Mine's next year.

Glad you had a great time.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermagpie

I *heart* Noelle's comment above. You go girl!

I too went to a college where there was much impromptu a cappella singing in semi circles, and by the end of four years it was starting to make me twitchy. But now I sort of miss it. And... in the meantime I forgot how to spell a cappella. So I think I'm cured.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulia's Child

Four years ago I was at my 20th at Smith. With my husband, and my 15-month-old son, who loved toddling about the gorgeous campus--barefoot--and being ogled (just my son ... I think ...) by the handful of undergraduates still on campus. He (my son) even learned to blow kisses at the student center staff, which was a big hit, let me tell you. Oh, and I saw old classmates, old crew team members, old housemates. And--I'm not going to lie--I was kind of shocked to see that everyone else had aged, just as I had. In my mind's eye, they were all still 21. It was weird and delightful. Smith's is another beautiful campus, and it was done up very nicely for the alumnae, let me tell you. The groundskeepers probably combed and washed each individual blade of grass.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterReid

OH MY GOSH - you were in an a cappella group in college? I didn't think you could get any more awesome. But clearly I was wrong.

Glad your reunion was lovely. :)

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfalwyn

I've only been out of college two years, but it feels like yesterday nonetheless. But I miss my high school friends more, even though they're closer to reach.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I love this Alice. And you look beautiful. And now, of course, I'm going to make you sing for me next time I see you. :-)

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBoston Mamas

wow, do I ever love your hair.

Oh, your writing, too.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersarah pond

You look so lovely and beautiful in all these photos. You also made me wish I went to Wellesley.

June 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoxanna

Alice, how cool is it that you sang collegiate a cappella? I did four years with the Penn State Pennharmonics, and practically every college memory I have is somehow tied to my cappella community. I hate to be a big cliche, but those truly were some of the best days of my life! We did a 15-year reunion two years ago, and we all sang ourselves hoarse! It was fabulous!

Long live a cappella! :)

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Hayden

I just read Dean Daniel's 2000 commencement speech, which both inspires and suggests how important she must have been to students. Or rather useful, as she notes. Note that next to last graph on a student letter.

June 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJMartin

I will echo the sentiment of your hair looking absolutely stunningly amazing. I'm glad you were able to enjoy this reunion and thank you for sharing it with us!

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteramy

Dean Daniels was my class dean too! What an amazing woman.

Your post makes me want to attend a reunion, something I've never really considered doing before. Only to be there . . .

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. G

they have a couple of portraits tucked away in their respective attics.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervibram five fingers

You look happy! And you have no idea how happy that makes me. Sending internet hugs your way, Alice.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

Nice article, thanks for the information.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersewa mobil

I just missed my 15-year reunion at Wheaton because bringing my boob-obsessed baby boy would have been tricky, but leaving him home would have been even trickier. The part of the the weekend I regret missing almost as much as catching up with my housemates is being forced into that familiar semicircle with the Wheatones where I could relive, if only for a few short songs, that perfect blend (okay, maybe no longer perfect) of voices and the rush of performing in front of people who genuinely want to hear us. It was amazing to be a part of such a group.
I'm glad you were able to experience the magic and the fun again. Maybe I will make it to my 20-year in 2016. My son should be off the boob by then.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimommy

I stumbled onto your blog via Already Pretty and then stumbled onto the reunion post and promptly started missing Wellesley. I was class of 98. And Dean Daniels was so very wonderful. She was not my Dean, but I served on a couple of committees (yes, how very Wellesley) with her and her kindness and ability to remember everything left such an impression on me. So glad you had such a nice time :) And congratulations on your book :)

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

I'm feeling this strange envy for you--I guess because you had that Dean to talk to and she looks so amazing. I wish I'd had Pamela Daniels to talk to in college. In fact, I wish I had Pamela Daniels to talk to NOW. Dean Daniels, what's your number?

And although I still do love my college friends, I have so little in common with them now. So there's also that envy.

Also, I want your hair. It's really good hair.

I wish I had spent my college years singing a capella instead of taking LSD. I'll bet my short term memory would be better.

This post also leaves me feeling freaked out like: HOLY CRAP 20 YEARS WE HAVE ONLY ONE LIFE IT IS PASSING US BY SO SWIFTLY.

I hope this strange reaction means that I'm going to get my period tomorrow. Finally!

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterozma

Love the pics of the Wetlands! Opposite of pave paradise and put up a parking lot?!?

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrain Burps

Your hair is lovely. It's graying properly ... which is the opposite of growing a tuft of gray in each corner of the forehead and not anywhere else. I look like I have fuzzy gray ears up there. I will continue to color until things even out ... if they ever do.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFranca Bollo

I'm waiting for next year - my fifteenth reunion (97!). Dean Daniels was also my dean, and helped me through some angst-y sophomore moments. As my silver starts to come in, I actually think of Dean Daniels frequently. I swore as a Wellesley student that I would go silver as gracefully as she did. Unfortunately, I will never be graceful!

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterL

Oh, this post makes me so happy! I just returned from my 20th at Bryn Mawr, and honestly, words don't do justice to my experience there or to the group of smart, funny, compassionate, kind, loving, accomplished, and just generally shiny and marvelous women I gathered into my life at that place.

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

This made me cry with happiness. Happy reunion to you!

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreen

i have read and enjoyed finslippy for a while and only now discovered that you are a wellesley grad. how exciting! i'm '02.

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

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