Freshman Daughter, Freshman Dad

By Larry Druckenbrod

As his only child embarks on her collegiate journey, a freshman parent chronicles the experience—40 years on from his own days as a college freshman. Larry Druckenbrod is also assistant director of Career Services.

I’m with ‘my friend’

“Dad, I’m going to the library with my friend” Valkyrie said.  “That’s great Valkyrie, it’s good to go to the library with friends and get some studying in” I applauded.  I never went to the library with friends because I wouldn’t get much done.

“Dad, I’m going to Mansfield Hollow Dam with my friend.  They say it’s pretty there” Valkyrie informed me. “That’s great Valkyrie, it is pretty there.  Lots of hiking, some volleyball courts, or fishing if you prefer.  You can bring a kayak, or have a cook-out.  Lot’s of nice scenery at the Dam” I shared.  We didn’t have a nice hiking place near my college.  We went to the Brown Derby.

“Hi Valkyrie, what doin?” I asked when I called her.  “I’m hanging out with my friend, listening to some Beatles” she sang.  Right, Beatles.  “What Beatles are you listening to?”  “Ummm….Blackbird, Piggies, Back in the USSR, White Album stuff” she said, with a Liverpudlian accent.

“That’s nice Valkyrie, to have a friend who likes the Beatles is a good friend to have indeed.  I’d probably like a friend like that” I said.

So, it’s happened.  Valkyrie has a ‘friend’.  Turns out that guitar amp that she found for me was borrowed from her ‘friend’.  I’m an unwitting accomplice in her friendship.

I met my first college ‘friend’ in my freshman psychology course.  She had rose colored glasses.  Really, she did.  And worn blue jeans with tears in the knees.  Not store bought worn blue jeans with tears, but the real thing, worn from wear.  I didn’t talk to her in class though because I was shy.  Nope, that’s not right.  I didn’t talk to her in class because I was too chicken to say anything to her.  But I looked at her a lot and missed some important stuff from the lectures and looked away quickly if she glanced at me.

Then one day mid-semester I was in a local store and rose colored glasses sauntered in.  I said to myself “now or never chicken livers” and walked up to her.  “Hi I’mlarryandI’minthatpyschclasswithyou..wouldyouliketogooutsometime?”

She looked at me with some vague hint of recognition and said “are you a freshman?”  “Yah” I sputtered.  “I’m a sophomore” she iced.  “Ok” she said, “how about you come over on Friday, my roommates are having a cookout, here, write down my number.  And don’t mention that freshman thing when you come over.”  And out the door those glasses went.

Dads worry about their daughters.  They don’t want any heart breaks happening.  But dads know that hearts get broken.  Dads want their daughter’s ‘friends’ to treat them with respect.  To be a nice person.  To be thoughtful.  Considerate.

So I asked Valkyrie “why is he your friend?”  “He’s considerate” she answered.  “Give me an example of considerate” I daddily requested.  “Well, one night the bus got us back to campus real late, like 3 o’clock in the morning.  I called my friend and said ‘I’m back’ cause he wanted me to call and let him know.  And then he walked over to Gampel and met me when the bus arrived, and walked me back to my room so I wouldn’t have to walk alone” she glowed.

Guitar amp, Beatles, and considerate.  Ok.  “So how about he meets me?” “Sure dad, he asked if he could meet you” she said.  Now that’s refreshing.  I never ‘requested’ to meet my first friend’s dad.  He was a police officer in Milford.



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