2011.5.04 "Go blu..." don't even say it

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The past four years have been a little peculiar with a daughter at the University of Michigan. In a family so heavily laden with Michigan State graduates, it’s been uncomfortable at times.

It’s all over now. Commencement was Saturday and we had a most interesting weekend.

Maddie lives in a large old house with 11 other students. It was once a glorious place before it became part of the student ghetto. There are so many interesting features hidden behind the...well, behind what students have turned it into over the decades. 

The house was the scene of many a party, but a special one was planned Friday night. This was for the parents, with the guests furnishing the food, of course.

Maddie said it was the boys who cleaned the house that morning and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve served as the greatest offenders of cleanliness.

The state of the house was something that parents discussed during the party. One mother said that when she visited her daughter during the school year, she simply shut out everything the moment she walked in the front door. She had a self-imposed blindness as she quickly went up the stairs to the haven of her daughter’s room, where everything was calm and orderly.

I was always somewhat surprised before I reached the front door—all that debris on the porch. Students knew parents would visit from time to time, but I’m sure those who favored some cleanliness weren’t about to serve as the cleanup crew for those who made the mess. 

Maddie was somewhat of an outsider at the house. The other three girls knew each other from high school in Troy. Many of the boys were friends from Traverse City. Maddie was the small-town kid from somewhere else. Sort of a cultural exchange program.

The party received a few odd looks from passersby. Loud front-yard parties are common in student housing areas, but this one had old people there, along with young siblings of a housemate.

I’m sure the affair ended early—after all, the guests were in their 50s and 60s—and the graduating seniors were to meet at 8 a.m. the next morning to prepare for the walk into the stadium.

Colleen and I made our way inside the stadium Saturday morning and soon the black-robed seniors began filing down the stairs on the far side of the stadium. They looked like ants making their way along a food route. It must have taken a chilly 45 minutes for all of them to enter and take a seat. I suppose Zac Johnson and Dominique Cox from Morenci were among them.

Six honorary degrees were awarded, including one to film maker Spike Lee who by far drew the biggest applause of the day. It’s a tradition for Michigan’s new governor to serve as the commencement speaker. Outside the stadium, the chants from the protesters could be heard; inside, Gov. Snyder was given a mostly polite reception.

College president Mary Sue Coleman paved the way for his introduction by talking about opposing viewpoints and quoting Woodrow Wilson: “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”

I smiled when the student commencement speaker made reference to how things began for the Class of 2011: a football loss to Appalachian State. She mentioned that to point out that today—the end of four years together—wasn’t so depressing after all. Don’t they talk about anything other than football in that town?

She said something that really explained U of M to me. She said they’re the victors who know they’ve won the game before it even starts. I wondered what sport she was referring to, but then I realized what she had just done. She encapsulated the attitude (I almost wrote arrogance) of the campus perfectly. It’s what a non-fan finds so annoying about the place. Surprising news: There are brilliant students doing amazing work at colleges throughout the state, not just in Ann Arbor.

I think it was Pres. Coleman who asked parents if their child was a better person now than the one they dropped off four years ago. That was easy to answer.

We have a daughter who made wonderful strides forward during her four years there, and never once did I hear her say “Go blue!”

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

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