Almost every week, my son and sometimes my daughter have dinner with their grandmother. While the kids cook, she chops — Blue Apron meal kits are big on chopping — opens a bottle of wine, and listens to their stories about the world of construction management, high school teaching and coaching, and the lives of millennials. Like many her age, my mother-in-law has given up all pretense of editing her thoughts. Instead, she shares her wisdom with unapologetic honesty and a lifetime of experience. They listen. So does she.
During a fabulous alumni family picnic hosted here last weekend, which was catered by three Poly graduates, I had an enlightening conversation with the grandson of a member of the Class of 1969. While the young lad devoured a cheeseburger as only a 5-year-old can, he told me about his new school, the cheeseburger, the ice cream he was going to have, and his sister. There wasn't a lot of eye contact because he was busy surveying the scene, his gaze darting about. His grandfather chimed in periodically, nudging his grandson with a gentle reminder about the question I had asked or to tell me about something that I might find interesting. They were a great team.
I am struck by the unspoken connection that exists between these generations. Kindred spirits, they are both capable of a devastating eye roll when talk of the child/parent in between them unfolds. Because neither one is fighting for the independence that will define them. they can let down their guards, and their conversations meander into hidden nooks with uncorrupted patience, unseen by most.
On Saturday, I talked with alumni from classes as far back as 1948 and their families, including a soon-to-be member of the Class of 2031. Representing their generations admirably, they loved that they had been or would be part of this community. They shared generously and candidly about their experiences here and their hopes for the future. They are proud members of the Poly community.
Leaving the final performance of the Upper School spring musical on Sunday, I bumped into a second-grader who was spellbound at what she had just seen. It turned out that it was not so much what she had just seen — the singing, dancing, costumes, and set — but whom she had seen: her favorite babysitter on stage performing with a passion that signaled to future generations the unfettered joy of being part of an ensemble and to the past a great reverence for those who graced the stage before her. The circle continues.