Alma Mater (poem by Marie Scharfe Jerge)

Alma Mater

By Marie Scharfe Jerge

I remember the exit for Northampton off Route 91
the anticipation building as I drove through town and
up the hill, to catch a glimpse of the Grecourt Gates
ivy covered bricks, the path past Paradise Pond
a young woman eager and excited about the future

I remember Jordan House four years my home;
housemothers, housemates, big and little sisters
Christmas gnomes and endless doggerel
Friday afternoon tea and cookies
bridge marathons and linen napkins

I remember Introduction to Art History
flying down the hill by Wright Hall on my bike
reading and research, papers and blue books
alumnae correspondence from the 1870’s in the archives
the way my hands shook the first and last time I took No Doz

I remember singing. rehearsals, performances
Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass,
Verdi’s Requiem, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, Iva Dee Hiatt
Chartres Cathedral and San Marco, Venice on our European tour
selling bagels in the dorms to help finance travel

I remember climbing Mt. Tom on Mountain Day
road trips to Dartmouth and Yale
Frank Zappa, smoking, drinking and
I Am Woman blasting out the windows of the Quad
when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in tennis

I remember dressing in white for my first Ivy Day Parade
I cheered for alumnae in the 50 year class as they marched past
I marveled at their confidence, was inspired by their accomplishments
I wondered if could live up to their expectations
I wanted to be worthy of the applause some day