Today's New Activity: Chillin' with the Gals at The Fountain
Nicole--because she lives within walking distance of it--often takes Maya and Sureya for picnic lunches near a fountain at San Jose State University. She's described how nice it is to have a wide-open patch of grass where they can play while she does her art journaling. I've been wanting to go with them for a while now and just finally had the chance today. Oh man, what a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
Kelsi and the boys met up with us on the way over, and we made a three-Mama, five-child stroller brigade through the forever-under-construction-and-renovation campus, sparsely populated this time of summer, with just a few hints of professors returning for preparation and new student orientation tours parading through.
First we tried to cajole our children into eating, but soon they were off doing their thing--playing in the fountain, running and running and kicking a beach ball and running, and sitting and standing on Kelsi's double stroller while Maya, their constant mini-Mama companion pushed them up and down the wide sidewalks.
Apart from trying to keep them out of the way of slow-moving electric carts, passers-by on bicycles, and reversing-in, super loud cement trucks, Nika, Kels and I were all able to relax pretty well and catch up.
Late into the afternoon my son started to get antsy. He was doing a fake whine that I rarely hear unless he's well overdue for a nap, so I figured it was time to take him for a stroll and see if he'd fall asleep.
I have to say that--while I love every chance to get together with my gals and talk as we've done for 20 years now--this 15-minute stroll was my favorite part of this particular day. I always enjoy returning to the campus where I learned so much and found my stride, eight years ago now. And I love seeing how it's constantly evolving. Since I've graduated it's sprouted two new monuments, both of which I was happy to show to Monkey and give him a little history lesson at the same time.
This statue is a tribute to the hands-raised-in-protest overture made on the part of San Jose State alums Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. We stopped nearby and I said to him, "this, my son, is called civil disobedience." :) I swear I did not prompt him to do what he did next:
Gotta love the bunny Pez dispenser in hand!
Next we wandered past more construction and on to a recently erected monument to another famous son of San Jose, Cesar Chavez. A mosaic gateway depicts him, sister-in-United-Farm-Workers-movement Dolores Huerta, and everybody's favorite civil disobeyer Mohandas Gandhi.
Finally, we continued along a temporary fence put up to separate areas under construction, which had been covered with students' renditions of famous portraits. Not bad!
I love having the opportunity to take my son to the places that hold meaning and memories for me. And as much as it will change as the years pass, more buildings torn down and others built in their place, I hope it will always fill me with familiar joy and a distant or not-so-distant sense of pride to have been part of this campus and, thereby (however feebly) connected to all those who have made this lovely, big-small northern Californian city shine.