So I drove up with him, arriving at like 2am Friday. We were going to stay with Beth, but she wasn't feeling well (read: overnight at health services), so we stayed with Sarah, which worked out well, with Sarah being Beth's suitemate and all. We were a bit down, since it seemed like everyone was away or incapacitated for the weekend, and it was seeming like we picked the worst possible time to go.
Friday I had lunch with Kelsey, who I hadn't seen in a year and a half. Which makes some sense, since she spent most of that time in England making shoes. Oh, silly Brown people. So wonderful to see her and catch up, but it paled in comparison to what happened just before.
You see, my favorite teacher ever, or at least the person who had that title for most of my schooling, was Paul, my 2nd and 3rd grade teacher. He left the school about 2 years later, about when I did. I wrote him a letter when I was around 13, just to say hi I think, but he never wrote back. I never forgot him, though. I somehow knew that he was a Lower School principal at a Friends school somewhere in New England. I never bothered to check where, until a month or two ago, when I found out that he's at Moses Brown. Which happens to be like 4 blocks from Brown. And I didn't know this the past four times I've visited! Time to make up for lost time.
Around 11:00, I dropped by unannounced to his office. He didn't recognize me at first glance, but did as soon as I mentioned my name. I thought he'd remember me, and boy did he ever. Remembered my roles in the two class plays. Remembered my mom's name! It was amazing. It was so good to see him. We talked for about 10 minutes. Then he took me around introducing me to people. Had me meet a new teacher, just to show him that the kids really do remember you. Had me meet a classroom full of kids and tell a little about myself. (Tempted to screw with them, say something like "And remember, pot isn't as bad as they tell you it is!" Good thing I didn't. I'd be a bad teacher.) Then he had to go, but we agreed that I'd call him before my next visit, and we'd do lunch or something. EDIT: I almost forgot! Before I left, he loaned me a copy of a book. It was a book, written by another former student of his (though no one I knew), about a kid's first day at a new elementary school, based heavily on Paul's class, designed for ~3rd graders, and dedicated to Paul. I read it immediately. So many great memories that I'd forgotten about or that had faded...
Needless to say, this put me on a high for the rest of the weekend. I didn't even care who wasn't around.
And it ended up not mattering. Shabbat time, and services were fun, if small. Then dinner afterwards. And Zach showed up, even though we thought he was gone until Saturday night! And Eli showed up, even though we thought he was gone until Saturday morning! And Anat showed up, even though we had no idea where she was at first! And Beth showed up, even though she could only eat saltines! On top of the other various students (yay, intangiblehugs!) and alumni. (See, it happens at other schools too, the alumni-who-never-leave phenomenon!) So good to see everyone.
After dinner, people stayed at Hillel seriously late, talking and laughing and playing games and relaxing. Such a bizarre and beautiful change of pace. Penn Hillel really is too stuck-up for its own good. Then Saturday morning, when I organized a leaderless form of services that a friend of mine kind of invented, which he calls "rooftop davenning (praying)". There were about 5 of us, which is about right for that. And then again at Hillel all day, relaxing and talking and playing "Puerto Rico" with Zach and Anna. I think I spent 15 of the 25 hours of Shabbat in that building, and it was perfect.
Came home to a disappointing Eagles game, and decided I need more of the Brown vibe. Now I'm probably going to Jews In The Woods this weekend, for more of the same. Man, I love that place.