Thursday, July 18, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I was 17 when I graduated from high school, and wouldn't turn 18 until the following February.  I had only been driving for a year and a half, when I drove my little blue VW Rabbit ("Bunny") to Austin in August 1987 to start my freshman year at the University of Texas.  I'm shocked that my parents let me do that.  But I was so dead set on being free and getting started with my independent, parent-free life that I'm sure I didn't give them much of a choice.  I was living on campus, so technically I didn't need a car, but I wanted mine anyway.  

In that first semester, I became an expert parallel parker, squeezing Bunny into the tiniest available spots.  My previous car had been a 1976 Chevy Caprice (think: very large boat with wheels) so Bunny was a breeze! 

When I applied for dormitory housing the spring before I graduated, there was a tiny little mix-up and they assigned me to a men's dorm.  My maiden name was George and with my uncommon first name, they just assumed I was a boy.  I was notified by mail sometime in June that George Haunani would be heartily welcomed into Roberts Dormitory in the fall with a roommate named James or Jack or something more masculine than was acceptable to my conservative parents.  (eek!)  Phone calls were made, new letters were sent, and in August of that year, I walked into my reassigned female dormitory with an adorably cute roommate named Jennifer Brown.  
We were instantly best friends.  She was from Houston, too.  She played the piano.  She talked incessantly.  She loved Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith.  And she was bubbly and outgoing...the perfect complement to my tentative, cautious personality.  

Jennifer and I quickly made friends with the two girls next door, Tamara and Gail, and we were inseparable for the next four years.  

Jennifer and I spent almost every free hour in Tamara and Gail's room.  Jennifer was a complete mess, so our room was never as inviting as theirs.

We ate together, studied together, went to football games, shopped on the weekends, and socialized with our companion dorm (which, coincidentally, was that Roberts dorm I had previously been assigned to.)
Spring dance with Roberts dorm
Co-ed softball with Roberts dorm.  I was so pitifully uncoordinated that they let me keep score.  :)
Halloween party with...yep...Roberts.  Sheesh...with 49,000 people on that campus, you'd think we would have branched out a little more.  
We were all so different, but so compatible.   Tamara was a Marine Biology major.  Gail was a Mechanical Engineering major.  Jennifer was a music major.  And I filled in all the gaps for us.  I was a Psychology, then Architecture, then Oceanography major until I finally settled on Elementary Education with a minor in music and Latin.  That either makes me sounds really impressive or really flighty...I'll let you decide.  :)

I loved these girls and could not have asked for a nicer group to help me make that transition from sheltered teenager to independent adult.  I was so excited to leave home and start my own life, but I really had no idea how to do that.  Neither did they.  We learned together and made tons of mistakes, but we all came out of it relatively unscathed.  We saw each other through mounds of homework and finals, boyfriends, heartbreaks, questionable parties, student teaching and summer internships.  We stayed friends through the whole thing...and we all graduated!  
Tamara's graduation party in 1991
my graduation...a year later
Tamara's wedding. She married one of those Roberts Dorm boys!
And that's Gail and I in the mass of flowered fabric. (sigh...80s bridesmaids dresses...)


  1. Love this! How awesome you made such wonderful friends at college and made all those wonderful memories! So neat to think we were living almost the same life miles apart years ago...only to finally "meet" in this wonderful world of bloggy land.

    My college life was much the same. I met my very best friend on the very first day of college. She was in my wedding and is actually Madison's godmother.

    Thanks for the memories, friend!

    1. Oh, we would have so much to talk about if we lived closer! Hurry and write another blog post so we can compare notes. :)

  2. I COMPLETELY LOVE this!!! I am right there with you....floral bridesmaid fabrics and all. Had a good laugh at the fact you were made the score keeper :) What great memories, huh?