I grabbed the opportunity to lay my eyes upon my grandchild, faced rush hour traffic south on I75 in the rain.
It seemed just weeks ago that my daughter Ruth and I helped move Amulen into his freshman dorm room at Wayne State University. We packed Ruth’s Jeep and my Prius.
Now a sophomore, Amulen needed my car and dolly to move his belongings out of his dorm room. “Ruth has to work, so one of my friends will help. We’ll take several trips with your car,” he said.
Fine with me. I reserved the morning for the project, and lunch afterwards. Only the Lord knows the next time I’d see Amulen.
Mile by mile, my mind wandered back to the January day my dad drove me north on M20 to Central Michigan University. He wore his black suit and tie for the occasion.
My younger sister, Libby, and I also wore our Sunday best with our dress coats. The style January 1968.
I carried all my belongings in one suitcase, thankful Dad allowed my cocker spaniel, Sweetie, to join us.
We arrived at Woldt Hall and found my room on the ground floor, the “terrace”.
Just inside my room, Dad pointed to a colorful poster of three women on the right wall above a phonograph. “Looks like you have women of color for roommates,” he said. Dad knew the face of every big band leader and the likes of Perry Como, but he had no interest in his daughters’ favorite Motown musicians.
Libby and I looked to each other. “Dad, they’re the Supremes,” I said.
“Oh,” he replied. He couldn’t help but know their fame.
Our college education began.
In contrast to that remarkable day, I drove to Detroit in sweat pants, long-sleeved jacket, and hiking boots for some serious lifting and loading with my grandson and his buddy.
However, Amulen and Brett, friends from Economics class, wouldn’t have it. They packed the car.
“Jaja, why don’t you go to Leo’s for a cup of tea? It’s right across the street. We’ll unload the car and be right back.”
I crossed Anthony Wayne Drive, amazed by my grandson-a Ugandan boy my California daughter and son-in-law fell in love with while working in Uganda.
Outside Leo’s, a female and male Detroit police team nodded and smiled, each holding a 7-Eleven cup.
“I’m waiting on my grandson to return with my car for the last load of his belongings,” I couldn’t help but boast.
“Yes, it’s rather quiet on campus when the students leave for home,” Officer Courtney said.
Officer Brian agreed. “They’ll be back fall semester.”
Dear Reader, Amulen, Brett, and I ordered the same East African meal at Baobab Fare, located on Woodward Avenue. We lifted our mugs of steamy chai tea and posed for a photo.
In my heart, I toasted to their education. To a life well lived with family, friends, significant places, and flashbacks to revive the faded glory of time past.
And someday, for grandchildren to lay their eyes upon.
Contact Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.