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Joel in graduation gown.

Graduating from Michigan

May 4, 1996. Five years of classes, five years of tuition payments, all leading to this moment. In the morning, a general university commencement ceremony in the Michigan stadium. Jacky Lewis drove across the country with me from Santa Cruz; we arrived the day before, just as Joel was about to go out to dinner with Maureen and Harold and Alex. Jacky and I sit down with the three of them. Among the capped and gowned grads below, among the engineering students, Harold and Maureen spot some of Joel's housemates from 821 Packard Street: two or three of them have written "821" on top of their mortarboards. While the university president gives an address, beach balls bounce across the liberal-arts section of the graduates, and someone flings a frisbee. I try to take a photo but my camera doesn't respond.

For a number of reasons, some more irrational than others, I am feeling dark and desolated, and now, to cap things off, my damned camera isn't working. "Don't be so happy, dad," Joel says after the ceremony when he comes up the steps to join us.

In the afternoon there is another graduation ceremony, the real thing -- the Engineering School ceremony where the diplomas (or semblances thereof) are handed out.

      Joel and others waiting.

      Above, Joel sits with the other candidates, listening to the speeches before the diplomas are handed out. Joel is third from the front, second from the left. I think. These are very distant photos but are brought to life a little by PhotoShop -- which was invented by a couple of UM engineering grads, by the way!

      To the right, Joel and Susanna Li (I think) leave their seats to join the line to receive their diplomas. Susanna and her twin sister Rebecca both earned master's degrees in environmental engineering.

      Below, Joel receives his diploma while one of his housemates (see the "821" on his mortarboard) leaves the stage ahead of him..

Joel lining up to receive his diploma.

Joel receiving his diploma

      Joel blissing out after the graduation ceremony. Sort of a weird shot -- I've never actually seen him look like this, but it was me who took the photo.

Joel in his graduation gown.

      Joel talking with his friend Susanna Li.

Joel with Susanna Li.

Joel and Maureen the morning after.

      Joel and Maureen the next morning. We met at 821 at eleven-thirty, just early enough for Maureen and Harold and Alex to get an early start back to Iowa City and late enough for Joel to sleep off some of his partying from the night before.
      At 821, his housemates call Joel "Doc." No, I don't know why. At 722 McKinley, where he was living before, he was called "Batman" because he wasn't afraid of bats.

Joel at the Bagel Factory.

      After Maureen and Harold and Alex left, Jacky and I go with Joel up to the Bagel Factory for breakfast, or perhaps lunch. (He and the others had breakfast at four in the morning at Denny's, he says.) I try to talk to him here, try to say some of the things I haven't been able to say the past couple of days. Thinking about when Alice Todd and I came up here with him five years ago, how new it all seemed. How swiftly the time has gone. And now he is a citizen of this place. He has accomplished so much.


Joel and I outside 821 Packard Street -- first pic.

Joel and I outside 821 Packard Street -- second pic.

Joel and I outside 821 Packard Street -- third pic.

      After we'd come back from the Bagel Factory, Jacky took these shots of Joel and me on the front stoop of 821 Packard. I wasn't feeling quite as low as the day before, but there was still a great field of sorrow about me. There was so much change in the air. Jacky and I were going to drive east to see my sister Jackie in Kensington, Maryland, before she died, but it was painful to leave.
      We left him and went away in the old Toyota pickup. We spent a couple of nights with Jacky's friends in London, Ontario, and then she decided she couldn't go on with me. From Ann Arbor she took the Greyhound back to Santa Cruz, and I drove back alone and did not get to see my sister after all.

[Nota bene: This page, like all the others in this site, is in progress. The text is mostly irrelevant and hastily written stuff designed just to fill the gaps between the photos -- and the photos themselves are not the best, but simply what I happen to have on hand. Please let me know if you find anything false, misleading, offensive, or intrusive to your privacy. It's hard to maintain privacy on the internet! Let me know too if there's a photo or something in the text that should be removed or something that should be added. I have not set up this site primarily for my own sake but for my family and friends -- and I welcome all corrections, additions, and suggestions about how to improve it!]

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      Joel in 1985-1986
      Joel and Tommy in Canadian Rockies
      Highschool graduation
      Joel and Unity in Yosemite
      Joel at Rocky Ridge, 1995
      Joel at Año Nuevo, 1995
      Graduation from Michigan
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Copyright 1999 T. N. R. Rogers. All rights reserved. Last revised 10 jun 99.