If she follows in my footsteps, I hope she treads carefully


Last Friday, we took a trip to SUNY @ Geneseo because it’s on Zoe’s list of potential colleges.

~ Online photo. The one I took turned out like caca which is photographer for YOU SUCK AT PHOTOGRAPHY ~

Hello, my alma mater!

Can I call it my alma mater if I only spent my freshman year there because I came down with a massive case of stupid before my sophomore year and screwed up my life for the next couple of years and ultimately wound up graduating from SUNY @ Brockport instead? Which was fine because I liked Brockport well enough but I adored Geneseo and one of my biggest regrets in life is that I graduated from a college that I would have dated and maybe even slept with had I been drunk enough but never, ever would have considered marrying. For the record, I’d have married Geneseo in a heartbeat, even while totally sober.

Is this post getting weird for anyone else?

God, I wish they’d come up with a vaccine for stupid. Then I would have graduated from Geneseo and wouldn’t have typed anything remotely resembling an admission to having drunken sex with an entire institution of higher learning. Only its architecture and geography and daily life, not its students, mind you. Just in case any of you were shouting ANDY, YOU IGNORANT SLUT at your monitors.

If you’re not familiar with classic Saturday Night Live, then this post is probably getting even weirder for you.

This was Josh, our tour guide. You can’t tell from this photo but he was smart, witty and absolutely adorable. Barring any unforeseen results from a background check, a DNA test and a quick streaming of seasons 1-3,897 of America’s Most Wanted through Netflix, he’s exactly who I’d like Zoe to date while she’s in college.

I like to think I caught him in mid “Would you go out with me, Zoe? But only after you’re done with your papers and studying for your exams. And only if you don’t like to drink or do drugs or have premarital sex. We can sit on the hill and watch the sunset and at no time will my hands or any other part of my body come into contact with your hands or any other part of your body.”

See? Adorable.

This is a massive periodic table of elements decorating a wall in their science building.


Zoe and Helena quickly hurried after Nate who was already out the door.

It’s lonely being me.

~ I found this photo online as well. I forgot to take one of my own. ~

This is the new science center at Geneseo. Isn’t it purty? It wasn’t around when I went there. Neither was electricity.


Kind of.

It was spring break when we were visiting so this dining hall was actually empty.

Ergo, I did not take the above picture.

You could probably deduce that on your own but I like to be helpful. Besides, it’s not often I get to use the word “ergo.” I love that word. Makes me sound smart! And a bit snooty.

The different food stations were pretty impressive. Everything from Asian to Italian to vegan to traditional diner fare. Let me tell you, when I went to Geneseo, they didn’t have nearly as many options for food as they do now.

It was pretty hard to cook without electricity way back then.


Kind of.

The infamous Seuss Spruce in the quad! I bet late at night, after the bars shut down, this tree looks perfectly straight!

Again, it’s lonely being me.

The College Union with all the flags representing the countries at which Geneseo students have studied abroad.

I see Greece!


I think everyone should have the chance to go back to college in their forties, when they’re old enough to really appreciate all the opportunities it offers. I mean, c’mon … show me a twenty year old who is going to recognize the value of being able to wake up in Mykonos and order hot, meaty dolmades with avgolemono sauce all over them for breakfast? Without having to wake up in Southern Pines, pretend that it’s Mykonos and ask your eighty year old mom to make them for breakfast, only to have her yell HELLO? I’M EIGHTY YEARS OLD. HERE’S SOME TOAST.

Oh, and there’s also that thing about appreciating the opportunity to study the geography, history and culture of another country as well.

But mostly, when you’re in your premenopausal forties, it’s about the food.

The Director of Admissions was nice enough to take this photo of us. I’m going to send it in with Zoe’s application to remind her of the strong family unit that stands behind Zoe, ready to support her in her academic endeavors.

Good thing she didn’t offer to take our picture ten seconds later because then I’d have to remind her of the dysfunctional family unit that argues with one another because one member wanted to run all over campus and take a lot more photos and her kids and husband just wanted to eat lunch.

Zoe said she wanted to go to Geneseo because she liked their hoodies and sweatpants and these water bottles …

… and the fact that a Starbucks was immediately accessible.

Oh, and something about its excellent academic record.

I love that my girl has her priorities in order.

I teached her good!

~ Nope. Didn't take this photo either. All cameras hate me. ~

We went up into the village for lunch and I recognized the bronze bear statue on Main Street from my college days! Legend has it that if a virgin ever graduates from Geneseo, this bear will climb down off the fountain and run away forever.

I guess it’s a good thing I never did graduate from Geneseo! The residents would have really missed their bear.

alsldkfowoita ooiwieras sls a owiers apwoitaspp vlwoieur apsoei.

Sorry. My fingers were laughing hysterically.


Oh my God.

*insert all kinds of flashbacks*

The Vital and the IB (In Between) were the two main bars in Geneseo back in the eighties. I can’t even tell you how much time I spent at them between 1985 and 1986. I can’t tell you because I can’t remember. Hangovers will do that to you.

To this day, I can’t even hear Mr. Mister’s Broken Wings without being bombarded by strobe lights and tasting shots of Sex on the Beach in my mouth and automatically checking to make sure no one is rubbing up against me, spreading some communicable disease on the back of my shirt.

These places would be a precursor to that whole mess of stupid that befell me right before my sophomore year.

Zoe is not going to be allowed anywhere near these places if she goes to Geneseo, even if I have to install an invisible fence all around her body.

In fact, I blindfolded her before I took her out on Main Street.

Gotta love the initiative of the young, broke, college student.

Zoe didn’t leave her phone number because she couldn’t see to write, what with the blindfold and all.

While Zoe is aware that it’s completely up to her which college to attend, provided we can afford it, I can’t lie … I hope she chooses Geneseo. It’s one of the best SUNY schools and it holds a sentimental place in my heart.

And if she does choose Geneseo, her father Dave, Nate, Helena, her fiance Josh and I will all attend her graduation and clap enthusiastically and I’ll take loads of pictures as she walks across the stage and receives her diploma and summa cum laude honors.

And I’ll make sure to get a crisp, clear shot of that little bronze bear scampering off into the wild blue yonder.



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38 thoughts on “If she follows in my footsteps, I hope she treads carefully”

  1. Avatar

    Looks like there were a few differences between when I did my big “college tour” and Zoe’s….. (besides the electricity, I mean πŸ˜‰ ) ….. Namely, (a) my mother made me dress up for each school visit, even if I wasn’t meeting with any administration-type folks for an interview, so I had a skirt, blouse and hose on as we tromped about campus after campus after campus. (B) My parents left my siblings at home – for each of us, the trip was Solo Bonding Time With Mom and Dad, which meant spending several awkward and uncomfortable hours in cars, restaurants and hotel rooms as I was all I’m 16, Know Everything & You Two Are Old & Tragically Unhip at the time. The only time I ever had a free moment away from them was the night we were in Ithaca to visit Cornell and Ithaca College and for the first time ever, I was given my very own hotel room (adjoining my parents’ with a shared door that I wasn’t allowed to lock from my side, but still). The down side of that was that my parents wanted their own room so they could do things that no 16 year old wants to ever imagine her parents doing, nudge nudge wink wink. At least that is what I was convinced of at the time. Talk about flashbacks….. *shudder*

    Oh, you know what else? My dad would accost random students while we were on campus and ask them, all conspiratorially, “Hey, give us the *real scoop* on this school….” I’m talking about plunking a tray down in the dining hall or plopping himself down into a group of couches in the student center sort of accosting. (Because we *always* ate on campus at each school. Dad wanted to check out the campus food since that was what I would be eating for 4 years if I went there……..)

    So, in conclusion, no matter how irritating your family may’ve found you, you were already a million, billion, squillion times cooler than my parents were when they took me to visit schools back in the Dark Ages (aka the 80s).


  2. Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your visit with the college. I loved reading it and laughing. I also loved the pictures. No school every had that kind of dining area or store when I went to school. We kinda had electiricity. Oh and I think the calculator was just being invented by then. lol

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      Yes, I did! I was going to buy it off of Amazon but I checked with my library first and they had it! And while I haven’t gone through the entire thing yet, I can say that I’m glad I didn’t have to buy it because so far, Zoe doesn’t fit the eligibility requirements for most of the scholarships. πŸ™

      But I’m going to go through the whole book, page by page, and hope that at least a couple fit the bill.

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    How come you were allowed to take a photo of the tour guide? My family disown me, and then say “You better not be going to put that on your blog?” What’s the secret to your success?

    Do you think they have the same presentable tour guide for all the tours, to lull the parents into a false sense of security?

    Another classic Creative Junkie post – ergo I’m your biggest fan (just wanted to use ergo, need to sprinkle it liberally into my conversations today!)

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      Apparently, the *click* of my camera was akin to a sonic BOOM. Ergo (yay!), the moment I took the shot, my kids immediately moved to the back of the group and pretended they didn’t know me.

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    Do NOT send the family picture along with Zoe’s application. They won’t see a supportive family, only a potential student with two giant dollar signs sitting beside her. πŸ˜‰

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    “it’s lonely being me”….OMG, that’s the theme of my life too! I would think you and I would have all kinds of fun touring a college campus together.

    In fact, I think I’ll save this post and when my kids are old enough to go on a college tour and ask me what it’ll be like, I’ll share it with them. I’ll try not to sob shamelessly when they refuse to let me tag along with them.

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    What a fun experience, I look forward to doing that with my daughters, kind of, I really don’t want time to fly that fast! Hope she chooses the right school for her and her future πŸ™‚

  7. Avatar

    I graduated in ’84. I LOVED drinking Sex On The Beach [the drink, not the shooter]. I also did some awfully stupid things I won’t admit publicly. I am so glad my daughter is starting college while living right here at home with us. That plus a nice glass of wine at night [when she’s not here, but working] means I can actually sleep at night…

  8. Avatar

    Class of ’89…..ahh the memories!! Another bonus: All the girls end up with stellar legs because of hiking up heart attack hill and rushing across the tundra!

    1. Avatar
      Creative Junkie

      Meg – would you believe I couldn’t even see the tundra? There’s a whole row of townhouses there now, with parking lots! Maybe it’s still there, but it’s nowhere near the wide open space it used to be. πŸ™

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        The tundra is now the wind tunnel, thanks to the townhouses. Don’t worry, it’s still just as miserable to run through πŸ˜‰

  9. Avatar

    Excellent article. Love your wit. I enjoyed my visit to geneseo with my daughter as well. She has decided to go there and was accepted. Starts this fall. Very excited for her.

  10. Avatar

    “I think everyone should have the chance to go back to college in their forties, when they’re old enough to really appreciate all the opportunities it offers.”

    Says it all.

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    Worked @ SUNY-Geneseo 1977-1980. It’s where I met my spouse (he worked there, too, for 16.5 yrs.). He was the College Photographer and his photos still crop up in their publications. In those days, SUNY-Geneseo liked to refer to itself as the “Swarthmore of the Genesee” and then we’d all laugh…Then they made it more or less happen. I can vouch for our having electricity in those days, but we didn’t have computers yet – just IBM Selectric typewriters and (gasp) rotary-dial phones! It is a beautiful campus. I thought I had forgotten about the VS and IB – no such luck! I doubt if Buzzo’s is still around – or maybe Buzzo is. he’s even more of an icon than the bear on the fountain. Barry Sundance swithced from being an indie book seller to being the campus book seller, but his was a cool place. It was tough moving from a huge city to a village of 6,000 people (Geneseo wasn’t even a “bedroom” community in those days because I-390 didn’t exist in its current all connected state), but I’m not sorry I spent some time there…Thanks for the memories.

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    This is Josh the Tour Guide. I don’t know how I ended up at this post, but I did. Thanks again for coming on tour… it seems like you guys really DID have at least half the fun I did!

    (Also, I have a girlfriend. Maybe I should have brought that up on tour…)

    Good luck with the rest of the college search with your daughter!

    1. Avatar
      Creative Junkie

      Well, hey there Josh! Zoe would say HI too but she’s too busy dying of humiliation at the moment and yelling something about what she ever did to deserve a camera-toting blogger as a mother and that thanks to this blog post being “discovered” by one of its main attractions, a scenario I believe I described as OH, FOR GOD’S SAKE ZOE, HOW WILL HE EVER FIND MY BLOG? RELAX. LET’S WATCH REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY, she’s considering going to a college somewhere in Australia. If she does, I hope she brings me back a baby kangaroo as a Christmas present.

      For the record, I was the one who thought you were adorable (in a totally non-cougarish, platonic, mom sort of way, mind you.) Zoe wants it stated for the record that she had no opinion about you whatsoever other than you appeared to have a natural ability to talk and walk backwards at the same time, without injuring yourself. And she liked your shirt.

      We really did enjoy Geneseo and it’s at the top of Zoe’s college wish list. Thank you again for making the tour so enjoyable!

  13. Avatar

    Proud graduate of SUNY Geneseo, class of 1983…your post brought back memories. In fact I took my niece on a tour of the campus in April as she is transferring from another school (she discovered that her Aunt was right about Geneseo and that Albany was just too overwhelming for her). It was wonderful to be back on that campus and take her to lunch at the Big Tree (which was the place my parents would take me for lunch or dinner when they came to visit because God knows I didn’t have the $$ for a meal there). Spent many nights in the IB, Uncle Waldo’s, Gentleman Jim’s, Idle Hour and Vital Spot and still managed to graduate πŸ™‚ So I have to ask did your daughter decide that Geneseo was the place for her???

    1. Avatar
      Creative Junkie

      The Idle! How could I have forgotten?

      No final decision yet but Geneseo is still in the top three!

  14. Avatar
    Janmary, N Ireland

    Can’t believe Josh the tour guide found your blog!!! Now I can use that excuse to my kids ….. “there is NO WAY it will ever be found”!!!

    Sssshhhh! I wont tell if you won’t πŸ™‚

  15. Avatar

    Class of 1995…..Loved the post! Geneseo is such an amazing place. I am a member of one of 18 Regional Alumni Committees and I can tell you that we are working hard to make Geneseo an even better place. Raising funds, reconnecting alumni to the campus, and creating more learning opportunities for students. I hope she chooses Geneseo! Best of Luck!

  16. Avatar

    I realize this is an old post but my daughter is going in the fall and I was really nervous about there being no campus life but it doesn’t sound as if that will be a problem – of course in the 80s an 18 year old could legally drink…and yes as I did the college tours I wished I could go back and do it again too. We were down to Binghamton and Geneseo and I was actually shocked she wanted to be in the middle of nowhere. Did your daughter decide to go to Geneseo?

    1. Avatar

      Hi Mimi,
      I just noticed your comment and thought I’d give a little bit of perspective from a current Geneseo student. First, I wanted to say that your daughter has nothing to worry about. There is so much to do on campus for everyone. Tons of clubs, teams, groups, basically anything you can think of. Everyone is super nice and willing to help you feel at home. Hope everything goes well!!

  17. Avatar

    I LOVE this. I’m a current Geneseo student & absolutely love it (can’t wait to go back in a few weeks). Thanks for the hilarious post–I hope Zoe ends up choosing to come here! πŸ™‚

  18. Avatar

    Funny though tbh it always makes me feel icky when Dad’s say stuff about their daughters not engaging in premarital sex, even if it’s a joke. Or like, feel like they have a say in their daughter’s sexual activities in college. No one ever makes jokes like that about protecting their son’s “virginity”! Just teach them how to be safe πŸ™‚

  19. Avatar

    Well, an employee just posted a link to your blog on Facebook so expect a lot more comments from alumni who loved your post! I graduated in 1987 and can’t believe how the campus has transformed over the past (gulp!) 25 years. Thanks for sharing your sense of humor and I just know had you stayed at Geneseo you would have been and English major – right?

  20. Avatar

    I tell all of my son’s friends to FORGET about Geneseo. It’s a beautiful campus in an idyllic setting, but it’s what doesn’t happen in a lecture hall that shoots this place down.

    When I went to Geneseo, it was ten years before you. As a “Teacher’s School”, the allure was you could become a teacher and graduate with your certification. This was done at the expense of the tuition paying student — I was not there to become a teacher but suddenly, and within three days of the semester starting — suddenly each “Professor” was replaced with a student teacher. A student teacher in Geneseo was basically a child or peer, generally twenty or twenty one, equipped with the teacher’s edition text book.

    These student teachers were so bad, that like you, I quickly lost interest, and the party scene and bars of Geneseo provided a stronger allure than any form of intellectual stimulus, which actually despite what I was told on the tour, did NOT exist.

    At that time as well in my major, another problem was the faculty if you were lucky enough to get one. Either they were busy chasing tail if they were young enough, or they were incapacitated while recovering from strokes, or going into the early stages of alzheimers. One joke of a class was held in a bar where the students were left up to their own devices for the semester, do determine what the course was about, given a small textbook. That was called “Discussion and Group Dynamics”.

    Geneseo was a major disappointment, a waste of time and money. My parents wouldn’t let met transfer out for some insane reason, so I stopped going to student run classes which in my last semester ended up being 80%! When I had a kangaroo court hearing with a psychotic dean of students named Schumacher presiding, one of the huckster faculty members on the panel asked me if I was suspended for a year, if I would reapply. I looked at the panelists dead on and said; “NO.” When I was asked why not, I responded; “Because this school isn’t GOOD ENOUGH for me.”

    I moved on in life. Unfortunately, I learned more in the dormitories and bars of Geneseo rather than in the classroom where I was paying for an education. Look at the view at Geneseo, get a sub at Aunt Cookies, then get into your car and look at better schools like Ithaca, Syracuse and McGill. The private schools are giving money hand over fist for good students, the SUNY system only has their hand out, no handouts for decent kids. When my son applied to schools, he was being pressured to go SUNY, and I forbid him from applying to a single one. In the end, he got a full scholarship to an ivy league school and I thank God every day I get up that my son did not end up in a joke of a school like Geneseo.

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