Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wellesley Girl

I was interested to hear recently that select colleges and universities in the United States are now allowing students to bring their pets from home to live with them on campus. Way back when at Wellesley, men were barely allowed to step foot inside the dormitories, where they had to respect a “knock-twice” system to give fair warning whenever entering the girls-only restrooms. These ancient statistics contribute to why it is difficult for me to imagine my still all-female alma mater “allowing” guys and cats and dogs to live with the coeds.

I wasn’t a Cat Lady at Wellesley. I studied art history and never attempted to take courses in veterinary science at Boston University, the school in closest proximity to Wellesley that offered the discipline. When I said good-bye to our cat Fluffy, at home, and entered Wellesley as a freshman, I don’t remember thinking about her much, much less pining away for her. I am not proud of this fact. Naturally, if I could turn back time, I would head for college only on the condition that Fluffy accompanied me every step of the way.

It has been thirty-two years since graduation, and if I return to Wellesley as a continuing-education student, I will need to rent a van that accommodates our four female cats, their toys, and their litter boxes. Actually, I think that one of our cats, in particular, is best suited to join the subspecies classified as a “Wellesley Girl.”

Miss Tommie has all of what I remember as being the vital ingredients. She is serious and reserved. She does not like to call attention to herself. She is attractive, but not glamorous. She never would wear tons of makeup or gaudy jewelry that clinks in the dark. She would strive to be an original, never a copycat.

And when Miss Tommie graduates from Wellesley, she will fulfill her manifest destiny and grow up to become a Cat Lady, just like her mother. How did I go from Class of ’78 to Cat Lady 24/7? That is the question that often stumps me and, I’m sure, would intrigue my former art-history professors.

Query of the Day: Would you/do you bring your cats to college?

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