Proper Hugs

I was 18 years old when I left home for the first time to go to the University of Nebraska. My parents drove me down to Lincoln, Nebraska, a mere hour-and-15 away from my home town, but it felt like the other side of the world. At least I reckon they drove me, since I don’t clearly remember having a heartfelt goodbye at my house, with my mom telling me, “I need a proper hug” ala Michael Oher and his mama in The Blind Side. But I don’t know how I would have gotten to Lincoln otherwise as I didn’t have a car.

I remember it was a Sunday. I opened my dorm room door and met my roommate for the first time. She was a stranger, but not much of one because she had been a cheerleader for another small Catholic school in a town not far from Columbus. A Catholic school that played our Catholic school in football, basketball, and track. She seemed nice, and we liked each other immediately.

That evening, a friend of mine from high school who was also attending the University of Nebraska and I met up to walk around campus. We happened to run into a young man we knew from a neighboring high school, a young man who had been recruited by the football team and was going to play football for NEBRASKA. Let me tell you, in Nebraska, there isn’t much that’s better than that.

We hung for a bit, and then Mr. Football invited us to come see his fraternity house and watch television for a bit.

Sometime around 10:02, I suddenly remembered that my dorm had a curfew, and on Sundays, that curfew was 10 o’clock. It was my first day away from home and I was going to be locked out of my dorm room. What would my roommate — another nice Catholic girl — think?

I was able to slip into the dorm as another student was leaving. I ran to my room and quickly explained my situation to my roommate, who — being a nice Catholic girl — believed me because she knew nice Catholic girls wouldn’t lie.

That’s a long and dumb story, though entirely true. Yesterday Bill and I had a chance to see Addie’s dorm room for the first time. We met her very nice roommate. She showed us where she had her classes and where she met with her advisor. She gave us a tour of where she eats her meals, picks up her mail, and does her laundry. We had a quick breakfast with her and listened as she told us about all of her classes and many of her adventures.

Shockingly, none of her stories included getting locked out of her dorm room her first night of college. The truth is, there is no such thing as a curfew anymore, so it MIGHT have happened to her too if there was.

I asked for a proper hug, and said goodbye until next time.

For a brief time, I felt simpatico with Addie as I remembered the feeling of being a freshman in college, away from home for the first time.

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