veen on the road: reunion weekend in chattanooga.

technically last year commemorated the 20th year since i graduated high school, but because of the pandemic our reunion was postponed by a year. we were able to celebrate the first weekend in october, and i had a great visit to the city that will always have a special place in my heart.

after a ridiculously long drive from baltimore i finally arrived at jesse and jonathan’s on friday evening and we got dinner at lupi’s, one of my longtime favorite chattanooga spots.

on saturday we grabbed food from river street deli and had a picnic in coolidge park before walking across the walnut street bridge and through downtown. there was a saturday market in front of the aquarium and a bluegrass festival happening, so we enjoyed a wander and sat out on the pier for a bit before making our way back across to the north shore. jesse and i quickly ducked into locals only for some goodies and then went our separate ways for the rest of the day.

i made my way over to baylor to indulge in a wander around campus. i had not been able to explore like that since i was last there in 2016, and it was great to take in the changes and reminisce a bit. my old dorm was torn down a few years ago and a beautiful new academic center sits in its place. i know how important the new building is to baylor academics, but man it hurt my heart to stand there and see how the space has changed. inge and i had the best view on campus, and we spent so many afternoons watching the happenings on the quad; i’m sad to think students will no longer have that experience.

i also spent some time sitting on the overlook outside the library. i can’t tell you how many afternoons i spent in that spot, reading or doing homework or chatting with friends, and it was nice to have a few quiet moments to take in that view again. and before i left campus i stopped by to say a quick hello to the track. i was the track manager both years i was at baylor, and with coach mcmahan’s recent retirement i’ve been remembering those days a lot recently. i am still amazed at how much he entrusted me with back then, and the more i look back the more i realize how many of those skills i still use today.

after a little rest back at jesse and jonathan’s i got ready and headed over to stir for our reunion party. i was one of the first ones there and so had the opportunity to chat with as many people as i wanted which was great. i got to see so many of my old classmates, some of whom i knew would be there but also quite a few who took me by surprise. i got to see nate and james and logan and hear all about their families. i was able to catch up with will and meet his wife alexa and ask after his sister sarah who lived in my dorm. and i had a nice long chat with jay, my first day student friend and such a solid presence in so many of my best baylor memories. and beyond that i had the opportunity to see many others i hadn’t seen since our last reunion in 2010.

so happy to see this sweet friend. chattanooga, tennessee. october 2021.

a perk to our reunion being postponed was that the class of 2001 was also celebrating their 20th reunion and after their party ended many of them made their way to ours, so in addition to so many of my classmates i was also able to see natalie and allison and ty and chat with them for a bit.

full hearts. chattanooga, tennessee. october 2021.

the final highlight to my weekend was a sunday brunch date with claire and her mother at old gilman grill. claire was a year below me and also lived in trustee, and although we’ve kept in touch over the years this was the first time we had seen each other since 2006, and we both cried a few times over the course of our meal. it was so, so lovely to see them both and to have some time outside of the large groups to catch up before getting back on the road.

chattanooga will always be one of my favorite cities, and i have long told my parents that whenever they are ready to retire and move there i will happily tag along. stay tuned…

xx

previous chattanooga visits: may 2021 / august 2016 / august 2014

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