Despite living about 5,000 miles from Princeton, N.J., Margie and I have attended most of my Princeton University class reunions held every five years.
I’m convinced that no other university in the U.S.A. does reunions quite like Princeton. For one thing, the setting is comparatively rural and hence inviting. Harvard and Yale, Princeton’s rivals in the “Big Three” of the Ivy League, are situated in urban settings — Cambridge, Mass., and New Haven, Conn. It’s just not the same!
At reunions — and I know almost all colleges and universities do likewise — Princeton offers a rich variety of seminars for alums and families to attend. Two that Margie and I attended this year were on guns and what’s going on with Russia and its neighbors. Guns — talk about a passion-stirring topic! The atmosphere was electric in the packed second floor auditorium in Whig Hall.
But perhaps what most distinguishes Princeton Reunions is the P-Rade, held on Sunday.
The P-Rade starts in front of Nassau Hall, the university’s iconic administration building. The oldest classes lead the way. No surprise, at a 60th reunion, that included my class of 1956. In fact, a good number of my classmates and their spouses opted for golf carts.
But not Pete Freck and I! In fact, at most past reunions we have marched with our trombones in the P-Rade, leading the modest-sized Born Again Class of 1956 band.
Alas, this year our leader Bill Stein wasn’t able to rally enough interest to inspire a 2016 Born Again Band.
But . . . Pete and I marched (OK, walked) holding these signs: Same two guys 60 years later.
And, wow, did they stir a response from the crowd! A course marshall was prompted to jump in and lead a traditional “Locomotive yell” for “Kit and Pete,” ending with: “Tiger Tiger Tiger, Sis Sis Sis, Boom Boom Boom Bah!!”
Seldom if ever have I been so moved!