Hello there! Hoping some of you reading this remember me. If not, I’ll introduce myself; I’m Mary (Turner) McDole ’79, Nursing major from the very first nursing class offered at Kentucky Wesleyan. After receiving my diploma I ventured out from the swaddle of student life on campus to the challenges of adulthood. For those of you who might not know, I married my college sweetheart, Bob McDole ’78 (Business Administration) and he’s the one who has literally swept me across the country for these past 38 years. We enjoyed some exciting places and survived some not so exciting spots. But we didn’t just survive. We thrived, we prospered. Kentucky Wesleyan certainly prepared us for the challenges. Somehow it’s easier to really see the impact of that when looking back.
Bouncing around from Kentucky to Chicago, Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Chicago again, the Philadelphia area and then, who knew? Really? Who knew, that 1 marriage, 3 children, 8 positons and multiple relocations would steer us right back to Owensboro and to Kentucky Wesleyan College? Gotta love that wheel of fortune!
Opportunity, timing and relationships presented me a new position in the Office of Alumni Relations this past September. Delighted at the opportunity to participate in some event planning and organization to connect fellow alums, I jumped at the offer. This will be fun and right up my alley, I thought. However, my preconceived vision was short sighted. Initially I focused on a “to do list.” There is so much more. This is where the Deja “view” comes to light and it involves people.
Staring out my office window the view is beyond special. The dorms stand across the street. The very same dorms I popped in and out of visiting friends, sharing life, victories and dreams. It’s where I grew up, gained confidence and discovered who I am. New students occupy those rooms now. They too are creating new friendships, celebrating their victories and chasing their dreams. I see them through my window, wearing sweatshirts and flip flops, crunching through the leaves, heading toward class, or a lab. They are walking toward tomorrow and have no idea how quickly it comes. Those leaves fell from the very same trees that were here when I walked these paths. I wonder how many young dreamers have been surrounded by these dorms and these trees? How many lives have been nurtured in this place just as I was?
That’s not all I see. I see me, a younger me with flipped out hair and bell bottomed jeans carrying a stack of books. The sun is out but the air is crisp. It’s more than a memory and I cannot forget. Was it not just yesterday I caught up with Tonya in the hall of the Admin Building to commiserate that last Anatomy and Physiology test? Hmm…? Now Tonya is the Director of Student Health Services on campus. I walked over to grab a coffee and run into another classmate, Libby (although she goes by Margaret now). She is Director of Career Development. We used to share a smile and a class or two, back in the day.
So I’ve cracked open the door and the late 1970’s flood in. I wonder what Lori is doing these day? We roomed together our freshman year. We both aced a Western Civ. Exam and ruined the grading curve for everyone else. (People weren’t too happy with us!). Oh, and there was Vickie, a quiet petite young lady who always had a smile. She shared a room with Cindy. I don’t know where she is or what she did after graduation. I can’t forget Joanne. She introduced me to Bob but I have no idea where she lives now. I remember baseball games and basketball games and professors who knew my name. These are good memories.
I chatted with Cindy recently at the Alumni Board meeting. Poised and ever so articulate, just as I remember her. We had not crossed paths since 1979. I recognized her right away. We will keep in touch. I need to ask her if she has kept up with Vickie! Last month I sat down with Joe at one of our events in Henderson. I recognized him too, even though his face may be framed by a little silver now. Successful, friendly and funny, he hasn’t changed. I spoke with Greg over the phone and hope to reconnect with him in person soon. I saw Cassandra, Keith, Diana and Brian in Louisville at our pre-game reception. We hugged, we laughed, traded memories and caught up. I’m friends with Scott, Gary, Leslie and others on Facebook. Oh, the stories we all could all tell. I feel like I just came back home after a long trip.
I could go on and on, but choose to close with this; if you are an alum, you understand. You’ve probably experienced a little Deja “view” too if you have visited the campus. If you haven’t stopped by recently, you really should. There’s something so special about this place and our relationships. Life is better when shared with our friends and our family. My hope is to help keep us connected.
Give me a call (270-852-3144), send me an email (email@example.com), or stop by the Martin Alumni Center when you’re in town. I also know we will be out on the road and look forward to possibly catching up at one of our many events.
“Loyal be her sons and daughters, ever in the strife always true to one another, till the end of life…”