“Parent’s Day”

It was probably the first, the last, and the only day of its kind on the peaceful campus of Adams State College, in Alamosa, Colorado, a town about the size of Roswell, nestled in the heart of the San Luis Valley.

Parents Day, as planned, was the first day of freshmen orientation. For a modest fee, parents could accompany their freshmen children for a tour of the college, eat a couple of meals at the cafeteria, then spend a night sleeping in the dorms.

What could go wrong?

“Brooklyn Julie” met us at the door and showed us to our rooms. She was the resident assistant from some place in New York. A fast-talker, we were her wards. She lead us to the third floor of Coronado Hall, where our parents would be sleeping. “Parents” is misleading, because only the mothers attended.

Each floor of Coronado Hall had a study area, and this is where our parents met. Big Ann and Little Ann were among the first we met. Big Ann was a boisterous Texas trophy wife, a sorority girl back in her day. Little Ann was her daughter, a cardboard cutout of mom, in appearance. In personality, Little Ann was a mousy little thing who had lead sheltered life.

Brooklyn Julie showed us a pony keg she had bought for the occasion. It was against the rules, but she thought it would be a nice ice-breaker. Big Ann was like a fish in water, taking it upon herself to pass out beers and make introductions. She was the only college grad among our moms.  The rest were working girls who had married young. Parent’s Day was supposed to be the college experience they never had.

As the mom’s hit it off, Little Ann and I decide to go to a lecture. The presidents of every college club were introducing themselves. I remember best the College Republican lecturing about the value of family, and personal responsibility.

After the lecture, Little Ann coaxed me into going to the local college bar, the Purple Pig. “I’ll buy,” she said. How could I refuse?

We walked into the bar, and as luck would have it, two seats were waiting for us. We ordered a pitcher. Way in the back of the bar, we kept hearing a festive commotion, so we asked the bartender what was going on.

“Wet T-shirt contest.”

So we’re sipping our beers and we kept hearing the hoots and hollers of voices that sounded vaguely familiar. Finally, we stood up on our bar stools, looked down the beer hall, and there was Big Ann, standing on the stage with four other co-eds. Gone was her teal blue, Dolce & Gabanna silk blouse. She was wearing a Purple Pig T-shirt instead.

Little Ann sat down. “Shoot me. Just shoot me now. Let’s get out of here.”

As we left, the crowd was chanting “Skin to win! Skin to win!”

The night was young, so we checked our activities brochure. The college was showing a vintage film called “The King of Hearts” so we decided to go. Great film. A rite of passage for all college students.

After the movie, we headed back to mom land. The pony keg had been sucked dry. All the moms were wearing Purple Pig T-shirts. Somebody had won a little pig trophy. I heard Big Ann tell Little Ann “Lighten up, toots.”

At around ten o’clock, I said good-night to Little Ann and we headed back to our respective dorm rooms for some much needed slumber. Big day tomorrow. An outing to the Sand Dunes.

Must have been around two in the morning when Kool & the Gang started blaring through the quad. Took it upon myself to investigate. Sure enough, it was coming from those she devil moms of ours. The little study area with the pony keg? Now it was a dystopian den of vice with jugs of wine and fifths of booze. The dainty hor d’oeuvres had been cast aside, replaced with a half-dozen pizzas. No moms to be seen. Then, I heard a cheering sound.

Looking down the hallway, there were about twenty of our moms, all wearing Purple Pig T-shirts and what I could only hope were swimming suits underneath. Brooklyn Julie had unfurled a yellow slip-and-slide down the hallway and lubed it with baby oil and shaving cream. Small plastic shot glasses and half-chewed limes littered the aisle. Our moms were taking turns sliding. Fearing discovery, I sneaked away.

I’ve no idea what depraved reindeer games our mothers invented to amuse themselves that night. Clearly, those she-wolves had abandoned polite society hours ago. All I remember from the next day was that all of our moms left early, wearing sunglasses on a gray September morning.

College. It’s an experience.