The Magazine of Marquette University | Fall 2005

 

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BEYOND THE CAMPUS

Symbols of friendship

They were once RAs busy planning icebreakers for O’Donnell Hall’s freshman women. In the experience of building a hall community, they built one among themselves. The women still practice the icebreaker skills learned then, in 1984, when they reunite every fall and celebrate the year’s passages. Each one brings something to these reunions, a symbol carefully chosen to depict the year. With these symbols, they break the ice and get comfortable again.

To the first Symbolfest — they’ve given their reunion a name — they brought one symbol to represent their lives and one to describe their friendship. “My symbol of where I was in life was a glass half full,” recalls Cathy Crowe Cauley, Arts ’86, H Sci ’97. “I felt blessed by my education, relationships and family, but I knew that there was more out there to fill my glass. My symbol to represent our friendship was an old but well-preserved shoe. Our friendship is ever present, always comfortable.”

Early on, their symbols were about first jobs, first homes, first babies. Later, their symbols represented a decision made to go back to school, a divorce, day-to-day worries.

“My symbol last year was my ‘fitness suit,’” says Mary Peters-Wojnowiak, Dent Hy ’86, describing a swimsuit made for women who feel they’ve moved beyond the bikini class. “The fitness suit symbolized my recognition that I am no longer 22. I need to recognize the next stage of life (40+) and get comfortable with it.”

One year, two women brought the same symbol — a magnifying glass — and told how they were reexamining their lives. Ultimately, the symbols and the fest they celebrate are about staying connected.
“We spent an enormous amount of time together as RAs,” says Teri Wlezien Wood, Comm ’89. “It’s a remarkable moment for me when we sit down together and reconnect. Afterward, it’s like New Year’s Day,
like starting over and wondering what my symbol will be next year.”

Staying connected through Symbolfest

  • Teri Wlezien Wood, Comm ’89
  • Lorie Czerwonka Walter, Arts ’87
  • Meg Watt McKenna, Arts ’86, Law ’92
  • Cathy Crowe Cauley, Arts ’86, H Sci ’97
  • Tam Bacino Fitzgerald, Dent Hy ’86
  • Mary Peters-Wojnowiak, Dent Hy ’86
  • Marti Wambach Fechner, Sp ’87

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