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A joyful return to Washington College.

Last May marked the five-year reunion for my graduating class at Washington College in Chestertown, MD. I eschewed the hokey weekend festivities, as I wasn’t exactly eager to spend good money to attend a cookout with people I was never close to in the first place. The classmates that I actually want to see are the ones that are still good friends, and I can see them any time, free of charge.

I wound up in Chestertown that weekend anyhow, but only because of fellow drama alum Melissa’s wedding. Still, there was something unsatisfying about spending just a single afternoon in C-town, barely getting reacquainted with the familiar sights and sounds before it was time to drive back down Route 213.

Five months later, I’m coming back for an unofficial reunion that’s much more to my liking.

In an event several years in the making, WaC is celebrating the grand opening of the brand-spanking-new Gibson Center for the Arts, a beautiful (and humongous) facility that is actually big enough to house classes, rehearsals, and performances for both the Drama and Music Departments — which is more than could be said of the charming yet ramshackle building it replaces. While those of us drama folks who made do with rehearsals in lobbies and performances in basements will be smoldering with envy, we are also a group that knows a good party when we see one.

In addition to the official performances and ceremonies that have been planned, the drama alumni of the past decade or so have predictably mobilized. Through Facebook groups and e-mail chains, I’ve learned that there will be a crab and pizza feast on Saturday afternoon (quite the intriguing combo) and an informal reception on Friday night. The latter is to commemorate Crunchable’s own Steve Spotswood, who is being honored with the Horizon Ribbon for his playwriting expertise. By all accounts, there will be at least two dozen friends and acquaintances coming out of the woodwork for the festivities.

Naturally, I’ve had these three days circled on my calendar for months, and I’m pulling out all of the stops. That includes booking a hotel room — a big leap for someone as thrifty (read: “cheap”) as I am.

For a couple of years after graduating, weekend trips to Chestertown were the extent of my social life. What I spent in gas money and three days’ worth of dining out, I made up for in free lodging. In the past few years, I’ve run out of floors and futons to sprawl out upon, which is just as well.

I’m booked for two nights at the spacious Comfort Suites, which will provide the cushiest accommodations I’ve ever had in 10 years in and around Washington College.

Now that’s more like it.

Article © 2009 by Kevin Brotzman