Monday, October 08, 2001

In My Life

Miami grad starts life as a townie

By Laura L. Smith

        Laura L. Smith is a stay-at-home mom. She is making new memories in Oxford with Max, 7 weeks old, and Maddie, 3 years old. Her husband, Brett, teaches marketing at Miami University.

        The late summer sun beats down on the swarm of students coming to this town of 12,000 — whose population doubles each fall.

        The Beta Bells remind everyone they haven't eaten lunch yet. The kids' stomachs are jittery — full of anticipation. Making friends. A year on their own.

        It is the same every year. The models of cars and styles of blue-jeans change, but the emotions and rituals do not. It has been 14 years since my freshman year at Miami University in Oxford.

        I remember the details of “move-in” day as if it were yesterday, and I'm excited for this year's freshmen. This college is idyllic.

A Miami merger

               But today, I see Oxford through different eyes. After 10 years in Atlanta, I have been drawn back to Oxford as a resident, a “townie.”

        I am 32, married and have two kids, instead of 18, single and ready for sorority rush.

        My husband and I are a Miami Merger (two alumni who get hitched). We tempted fate by kissing under the fabled Upham Arches. It is said whoever does so will get married. In our case, the myth became a reality.

        There is a higher power bringing us to fulfill a purpose. After always dreaming of doing so, my husband is teaching this fall in the marketing department.

Still captivated

               How unpredictable the circle of life is, bringing us back to our alma mater. We remain captivated by Oxford. The manicured greens. The Georgian architecture. The setting breathes nostalgia and tradition.

        Now, instead of loitering outside of King Library chatting with friends, we watch our children frolic around campus, which they view as a gigantic park.

        We no longer stay up late nights watching bands and socializing in the Uptown bars, but we still dine on one-of-a-kind foods in Uptown: cheese fries from Skippers, steamed bagels from Bagel & Deli and hot slices of pizza from Bruno's.

        We have learned that there is more to Oxford than what lies within the invisible walls that define the university. There are neighborhoods and families, parades and carnivals, preschools and libraries, civic concerns and governmental issues of a small town. And in it all, we have found even more magic than we remembered here.

        Share recent moments in your life by mail: In My Life, c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:

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