The college journal of Honey Walker — If found, please deliver to Casas Dulces, Magnolia Promenade.
Week One, Day One – Freshman Year
I felt just like I knew I would when I arrived at the university this morning, only worse. I was scared, homesick, and feeling so anxious.
All these kids are smarter than me. All these kids come from families where everybody goes to college, and everybody has for generations. They’re loaded with skills and talent and motivation and support.
I’ve got the motivation. I’ve got a kind of support–though not the kind that comes from having been there, done that. I don’t know if I’ve got talent, and I don’t yet have skill. And I’m the first one in my family, on either side, to go to college.
I’m alone and I’m here.
All my life, for as long as I can remember, I knew I’d go to college one day. My dad always said, “When you go to college” this, and “When you go to college” that. It was never “if;” always “when.”
When I was little, I never questioned it. Just the way that some girls always heard “when you get married,” and never question if they’d get married, I always heard “when you go to college” and never questioned it until I entered that phase where I questioned everything.
My dad said, “You’re going to go because it’s what smart girls do. Plus, you’re like a pioneer for our family. You go, and you’ll lay the trail, and soon everybody in our family will go. Heck. Once I retire, maybe I’ll even take a class or two at community college.”
That was inspiration to me–to think my dad would go to community college. He’s got more brains than anybody I know. He just needs courage to use them.
Just a few minutes ago, when I sat down to write this journal entry, I checked my email and found a message from Dad:
Hey, Honey. Guess yer there by now. Hope yer happy and settled. Yule do great. You always have.
You know how you were always aksing how come you were gonna go to college?
I figger now is the time to tell you strait up.
Back when I was in hi school, I knew a girl. She was my first love, I gess you coud say.
I wanted to marry her and have a family with her.
But she wanted to go to college. I figered that she needed to do that. she wanted it, and she was so smart and amazing. So. I let her go. I joined the marines, and she went to college. I met yer Mom, and the rest is history.
But I decided from the moment that she left–that girl I loved. I decided then that if ever I had a dautter. When I had a dotter. I would send her to colage. She would go to college. No dout about it. So thats how I raized you. And your that amazing.
Honey, now your there. Do me proud. I know you will.
Ever loving you, yer
Whenever I get an email or a note from my dad, I always hear his voice. It’s like the spelling doesn’t matter–or even it helps me hear it better–because I concentrate on the sound so I can make out the words and when I hear it like that, I hear my dad’s rumbling deep bass, and I can even feel that voice in the spaces in my bones. That rumble of love.
I never knew my dad loved a girl besides my mom. I never knew that he wanted me to go to college out of some kind of honor towards a lost love. It doesn’t feel creepy to me, because all my life, I was surrounded by my dad’s love for my mom. They’ve always been crazy for each other. You can feel it like a washing machine rumbling through the house–this buzz of love they feel for each other.
So it’s not like a betrayal. It’s like an honor towards what wasn’t. What he wished for, but what he released, out of love and respect. Now, I guess in a way, I can see that my being here, the real reason for it, is love.
I sent my dad a quick reply, to let him know I was here safely and I got his message, and then I got an email from my mom.
Hey, Honey Bun! We miss you already! We want you to know that the dog ate real well. Princess ate all her kibbles plus some gravy that Dad cooked up just for her.
So, how is it? You let us know all about it. And remember, Honey. No boys. You’re not at college to meet boys. You’re there to learn, Honey.
Ok. We miss you!
XXOOXXX Mom and Dad (and Princess) ❤
I wrote a longer reply to Mom, that contained a little bit of what I’ll write below, and all about how, yes, there are boys here! And yes, they’re nice. And yes, I will be friends with them. But that doesn’t mean I want to marry them.
In fact, the first person I met here was one of the guys staying in this dorm.
Before I even moved in, Brandon came running over to show me some video of our dean. She looked nice, even if her choice of a skirt was questionable for someone dancing on top of a table.
I didn’t want to laugh too hard because I hadn’t even met our dean yet. In fact, I have still to meet her! She took off for the park about the time we were all arriving, and before I went to bed, Brandon showed me this photo of her sleeping on the park bench! I guess maybe she doesn’t want to be here with all us freshman on our first night, or something.
Anyway, when we were still just moving in, this other guy who lives in our dorm was all mopey. He looked like he was going to cry. So I said hi to him.
He’s really cheerful, and he loves nature. I like his style. He’s got all these skills in all these different areas, but he was so kind of lost, too, that I didn’t feel intimidated. In fact, I was the one to cheer him up, and all through the rest of the day, he kept looking up to me!
We played some cards with the other guy who also lives there and with the one other girl who lives there, too, Emma. Now Emma is intimidating–she’s a genius and loaded with skills.
While I was practicing the violin–murdering cats, as Dad would say–she sat there with this pained grin the whole time. I guess she’s like a virtuoso. But she was nice. “Good bow angle!” she said.
I’m trying my hardest to be brave and not to let her intimidate me. This far away from home, I could use a friend, even if she is a genius who’s way better than me at everything.
I’m trying to dig down deep and find that inner core of strength that my dad, the Marine, tells me we’ve all got inside. Lord knows I could use my inner Marine now!
Walking into the dining hall for supper, I saw this painting that Emma had done. It was amazing. It looked really meaningful–significant for the first day of college, somehow. I asked Emma about it over supper.
“It is about the first day of college!” she said. “We’re like the gnome, right? So small! Yet so sure of our greatness. Yet the world around us is so huge. So very huge. And mostly, it’s pretty dark and pretty dense. But because we know inside that we’re great, we’re able to climb up to this precipice where we stand illuminated! That’s us! Here at college! Ready to be enlightened!”
It seemed a little presumptuous to me–but the guys really seemed to get into it. For me, I’m just hoping I don’t flunk out. I’m just hoping I can hold my own here, with all these kids who come from these long lines of scholars.
I thought back to that inspiration for my dad–that girl he loved long before. I wonder if he raised me to be like her. It’s true that I’m not that much like my mom and dad. They don’t like classical music. They’re not vegans. They don’t wear organic cotton or drink organic coffee or read Shakespeare or Jane Austen or Zora Neale Hurston. But Dad raised me to do all those things. I wonder if all along he had this idea that he could set me into that life that she left for…
It’s kind of a heavy responsibility to have to hold the image of another.
I wonder if this is even who I am and what I want. What would I have chosen for myself, if I hadn’t been molded into this form?
I thought of how I’d been shaped. That girl must have been something if my dad loved her so much. And if he loved her so much that he let her go, so that she could have the life she wanted to live, she must have been amazing. And if he loved her so much that he wanted his daughter to be like her… well, he must have loved her a lot.
I know my dad loves me a lot. I know he loves me for me, even if he has tried to shape me to be like someone he once loved. I like who I am, too. I’m not sure, but I think this is how I’d choose to be, if we ever had a choice in such things.
I might not be sure of who I am. I might be full of fear and trepidation at this adventure that lays before me, but I’m also full of courage. My dad’s a Marine. My mom’s a strong woman who’s always inspired me to do my best. And my fairy godmother–she just might be amazing.
And me–they all three helped to fashion me. I owe it to inspiration itself to do my best in this big scary adventure. After all, this is what I was born for.