Project Graduation

My neighbor’s daughter graduated from high school last night, and that took me back two years to when My Favorite Domer did the same thing.

Grads in our town are lucky — they have what’s fondly called “Project Graduation” to ease them through the transition from high school to the real world.

Project Graduation is an all-night, chemical-free party put on for the grads by their parents. And before you yawn or start dissing the idea, you’ve got to know it’s a blast!

Following the tradition of many years past, senior parents work to secure donations from businesses throughout the community. The donations are used to shower the grads with goodies before they embark on life, whether they’re continuing their education, going into the military, or beginning work.

Some of the gifts in the past have included spa baskets, cash, tickets to events, gift cards, outdoor grills, makeovers, computers, and other prizes. The big prize, of course, is a drawing for a new car (or cash equivalent), sponsored by one of our auto dealers and open to the entire community.

Graduating seniors sign up to attend the event, promising to adhere to the rules — no drugs or alcohol, no tag-along friends who aren’t part of the senior class, no leaving once they’re inside the venue. Into the wee hours of the morning, they play a variety of games, including beanbag toss, balloon pop, blackjack, etc. and receive tickets for their win; these they drop into a hat and wait, hoping their name is called for a prize.

Free food and sodas, entertainment, and music are also part of the event, which is chaperoned by senior parents (who run the games). Teachers usually don’t show up, nor do administrators. This is for the kids and their parents.

Some of My Favorite Domer’s classmates were going into the military; some had just received new tattoos; some were looking forward to being on their own at college. They snapped lots of pictures of each other, shared memories of their school years, and behaved themselves respectfully to us parents.

I couldn’t help but be impressed at their new-found maturity.

Or amazed that so many of them tired before us parents!

My Favorite Domer did his level best to avoid my gaming table that night. Who wants to cling to Mom when your friends are around?

Yet, it was reassuring to know where he was, what he was doing, and that he was safe.

And it made for an incredible bonding experience, realizing that we’d endured no sleep for an entire night. But, oh, how good that bed felt after I got back home, and how grand it was sleeping until noon!


He’s Back Home

Guess who’s son just got home for the summer?

Here, I’ll put up a couple of pictures to give you some clues:

T-shirts swinging in the breeze

An explosion of green T-shirts

With as much rain as we’ve had lately, I’ve had to capitalize on the rare sunny and breezy day for drying clothes outside.

Don’t even bother warning me about the high pollen levels! I’m hoping that, by the time My Favorite Domer returns to the college up North, the pollen spores will have miraculously evaporated from everything I dried naturally.

Besides, he really likes that clean, outdoorsy scent — better than most laundry detergents!

As for the unpacking, well, that’s taking a bit longer (as is the job-hunting). I truly feel sorry for young adults these days — the economy is so sluggish and good jobs are hard to find.

Traditional seasonal jobs (fast foods, retail, etc.) are being snatched up by older people who’ve been unemployed for a while; big companies might hire one intern but can’t afford to pay; recent grads find themselves taking any job just to be out of the house (and like as not, it’s Mom and Dad’s house they’re living in).

We can only hope improvements are on the horizon.

Life in the Buff

Nestled in the woods along one of the roads I travel to and from South Bend is a nudist colony. I know this because one of the other moms of a Notre Dame grad told me so.

I’ve seen cars go in and come out of there, and I can’t help wondering what kind of people are comfortable with that lifestyle.

Think about it. Do they have visitors (family, friends, delivery people)? Do those visitors have to de-robe before entering? Do they have to shield their eyes from staring, or wear a blindfold?

Trust me when I say some nudist colonies have Websites. Some of these places offer special events like tennis, jogging, etc. Some are more suited for singles, but others are for entire families.

What if your mom and dad (or your young adult children) suddenly decided they wanted to join a nudist colony? Would you feel comfortable visiting them, or would you insist they clothe themselves and visit you?

I rather like to think nudists are people just like you and me, only naked. They’re not participating in mad orgies or waiting to jump on each other like animals or finding their jollies in leering at their neighbors.

Or are they? I don’t know.

I’ve been accused before of being a prude. It’s not a label I relish exactly, but it is what it is. So while I’ve been told never to say “never,” shucking my clothes on a permanent basis isn’t something I’d do willingly.

I rather like clothes. They protect my skin from the damaging rays of the sun and from Old Man Winter’s chilling blasts. They hide things I’d rather not show the world, things milk-white from where the sun never shines, or the way none of us is truly symmetrical, if you know what I mean. And they’re colorful to the eye and interesting in texture and, if you’ve chosen wisely, figure-flattering.

But residents of nudist colonies prefer au naturel. Why? What is it about being naked that grownups find appealing? Is it a return of sorts to childhood? Is it a savings of a clothing budget? Maybe they just find it more freeing?

As a writer, I might need to know the answers to questions like these. A nudist colony could be a fascinating setting for a novel! So anybody with answers (factual or fictional), help me out, okay?