Monday, December 20, 2010

College Road Trip 101 - Adventure at Reed College

So how did we wind up at a Faculty Christmas party at Reed College in Portland, Oregon?

It wasn't our intent - nor did I budget time for this festive occasion...but obviously the best laid plans are made so they can be changed by forces beyond ones' control.

And so it was as our adventure at Reed College was coming to an end.  We had a wonderful time meeting some of the staff - getting the lowdown on College life in Portland and taking a whirlwind tour of the campus.  We said our goodbyes to the most excellent staff and entered back into the light rain to become one again with our little red Kia.

Stop.  You cannot enter the parking lot.  Some "distraught individual has taken refuge on the campus."  and oh by the way...he has a loaded weapon.

Nice. Distraught and loaded weapon.  What a wonderful combination.

We could see our car.  It was right there. I could almost reach out and touch it. But no. That would have crossed into the "no can be here" zone, so back we went.

The building that we ended back up in at Reed is a long Gothic-looking building with wonderful stone work, bearded face carvings and ivy filling the nooks and crannies of the mortared bricks.  The trees that caress the sides are a combination of oak and redwoods with moss clinging to the bark and some with a feathering of ferns growing from the crooks of branches.  The buildings are celebrating their 100th year of existence with beauty and grace...and a madman somewhere on the east side with a gun.

And there we set.  In a small room with comfy leather chairs sipping tea and cider while munching pretzels and oreos waiting for sanity to prevail.  One by one, the staff donned coats and left the building in pairs until only a handful remained.

Then. The call came.

Join us! We are having our staff Christmas party and, well, since you are stuck here you may as well come enjoy some food and live music...


A Party.

A Distraught Individual.

A loaded gun.

Don't these people read the papers? Shouldn't we be worried? Shouldn't we take cover?  Shouldn't we drop and roll?


So we moved to the West side of campus...away from the "activity" and proceeded to meet and greet the Dean and other assorted tenured staff.

We sat at a table with lovely people who really didn't take much of an interest in us until I mentioned that we were REALLY from Alaska.  And as always - the very mention of Alaska opened up an active conversation.  We discussed Moose, fishing, poor hotel choices, and the school districts between Anchorage, Eagle River, Wasilla and Talkeetna.  My usual shyness evaporated and I came alive.

Then - the situation holding our car hostage was lifted.  Just like that. No more concern over loaded weapons. No more despondent male over the holiday season. Joy was restored in Whoville and we departed the campus as if we had just been through a typical college interview.

No harm. No foul. No bloodshed. No bullet holes. No worse for wear.

We were free to go...and somehow, Reed has moved into the #1 position of college choices...


  1. Although the gunman WAS found dead in his car...

  2. interesting...we had no idea he was found in a car. The report we were given by on-site police was that he was traveling by foot onto the campus. My heart goes out to the gunman...