In my sophomore year of college, I attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst through a national exchange program. I paid the same tuition I paid at my home college of University of Oregon. It was a way to see something new without spending too much money.
Now, 25 years later I’m back with my husband and two young sons in tow. It was so strange to drive again around the campus, see the skyscraper dorms and look at the big central pond where I used to relax with friends.
It looks about the same but I am so different. Back then I loved attending all the rock and pop music concerts I could find. Now I seek out the best playgrounds and children’s museums.
We found a great one that wasn’t there when I was at the school-the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. He is the illustrator of such children’s classics as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? This gem had a wonderful children’s book library, galleries and a children’s art room.
The boys had so much fun trying out the paints. Lee and I enjoyed learning about Carles’s interesting life growing up in both America and Germany and living in Germany as a child in World War II.
Afterward we drove by 19th century poet Emily Dickinson’s homestead, which is in Amherst. That was here when I was in school but I didn’t check it out once. Yes, I was 19.
Last week we enjoyed spending time in Bennington, Vermont and seeing their revolutionary war tribute- the Bennington Monument.
We also visited the charming century-old library. There I learned that Vermont offers free preschool to ALL 4-year-olds. Amazing! The librarian was surprised California didn’t offer it.
I never thought about figuring out where the rock concerts were.