Like so many parents, I sent my son off to school last week.
But this time was different: Joe is beginning graduate school, 850 miles from
I’ve been spoiled.
Aside from his semester in Madrid, a summer in Boston and
last month’s jaunt with a couple of college pals in Croatia, Joe’s almost
always been within a 2-1/2-hours drive.
His older brother David was about 4 hours away during
college but, coincidentally, was only 10 minutes from his grandfather. And
nowadays Dave is a mere mile across town, close enough to drop off his homemade
tilapia with risotto tonight or to meet up with me this morning at the West
Side rec to help his mom cram for the startup of Monday night tennis.
So while Chicago is hardly the end of the earth, and
Southwest can fly me there almost as quickly as I could drive to Colgate
University (at 10 times the cost), it’s farther away than I’m used to having my
son. I’ll admit to having been a bit weepy just before he left. I was better
Friday, the day he took off. Besides, he’s only a text message away, so I
having nothing to complain about (aside from the sporadic responses to my
Truth is, though, that I’m excited and happy for him.
Chicago is a vibrant, friendly city (but don’t stray into the dangerous
sections, Joe), University of Chicago has a great reputation (aside from its
informal motto as the place where fun goes to die), and computational
neuroscience (go look it up on Wikipedia) is an exciting field of study that
promises to be a good match for his love for mathematics and scientific
|Lots of natural light and hardwood floors|
make an apartment's shortcomings forgivable.
|Several of the drawers and cabinets|
actually open and close properly.
I vaguely remember flying out alone to Ohio State University
to get my master’s in journalism. Somehow I found an apartment, furniture and
food. I felt independent. It was an adventure. I worked hard on my schoolwork,
but it was fun. I hope Joe’s experience will be all that and more.
|Bedroom has two windows and |
lots of closet space;
who needs a radiator?
This spring I met up with two girlfriends from California
and Pittsburgh for a “girls weekend” in Chicago. While waiting for Paulette to
arrive, Ruth and I checked out a few apartments in the Hyde Park neighborhood that
Joe had scoped out online, and she posed for me in each room (see pics). He ended up renting this place, on the
second floor of a building between the university and Lake Michigan, with
hardwood floors and lots of windows (to let in plenty of natural light but
hopefully not the Windy City wind).
I am looking forward to seeing that apartment again at some
point, this time with him and his stuff in it. In a few days he’ll trade the
sleeping bag for a real bed. Before long, there will be a table, a chair, a
When I say Joe’s 850 miles from home, I mean from my
home. Truth is, he’s quite ready to begin finding a place he can call
home. I’ll just be grateful that, at least for now, it’s in a city where Southwest