Congratulations to the Secret Gardeners! VCFA July, 2012 graduates





I was going to blither on about ereaders in this post, but since the weather has cooled a bit, I’m in a better mood. Cheery as all get out, in fact.  So for all of you VCFA folks scattered hither and yon, here’s a brief recap of yet another splendid ( but hot) residency.

 Item 1:

Marion Dane Bauer, aka Mama Bear, came back to campus to receive an honorary MFA degree, awarded by President Tom Greene. Marion was one of the founders of this extraordinary program, and we’ve hoped to award her this honor for a long time. One reason? We’d get to see her again. And we did! The brief ceremony reduced a few of us to tears, which we followed with applause. And she received a standing ovation from everyone–current students, alumni, and faculty—before she read from two books.It was all glorious. Congratulations, Marion.


Item 2:

We celebrated our program’s 15th year. Fifteen years, and I remember when we were in diapers. And wasn’t the tenth anniversary just last year? Apparently not. How did we mark this auspicious occasion? With champagne, many beloved alumni, and the Board of Trustees.

And cake. Not just any cake. The most amazing cake anyone has ever seen, baked for us by Birchgrove Baking in Montpelier.


Yes, this is all cake, even the Moleskine, and each title represents a faculty book. Don’t tell anyone, but I got to take home the whole “Reading to Peanut” cake because it was on the bottom and the lovely Maureen Hourihan saved it for me. (Thanks, Maureen. I blow kisses in your direction. )  (Photo by Elizabeth Law, stolen from facebook.)  Even though, as I have mentioned, it was hot, the cake did not suffer.

 Item 3:

 For the first time in living memory, we had a wedding, and it occurred during the Saturday night masquerade party extravaganza—a bi-annual event (not the masquerade part) that celebrates the graduates. Graduating student Miriam McNamara married her partner, Allison Murphy, in front of a star-studded, masked, and feather-rich audience that was even blessed by an appearance from Gandalf himself, alive and well in Montpelier. Who knew? I can’t post photos (we respect our students’ privacy), but no matter what you imagine, it was better than that. Except, as I may have mentioned, it was hot.

 Item 4: I have it on good authority that someone got a tattoo.

 Item 5: I have it on equally good authority that there was a bat on the second floor of the Dewey dorms. There was also a bat in one of the pieces in the workshop packet of April and Leda’s workshop. It is a cosmic coincidence.

Item 6:

Alumni appeared in droves, much to our joy, and stayed around all weekend. It was the something-annual alumni mini residency, during which the one and only Linda Sue Park gave a mini-class, which was probably not so mini. The organizers did a bang-up job (as far as I could tell), and the campus was buzzing with news of books published, starred reviews, and contracts signed. Yippee!

In sum:

I am mentioning a few of the more unusual highlights. We also experienced outstanding lectures and readings from graduates and faculty, laughter and tears, and intense workshops. People worked hard. Graduation was impressive, and the large alumni hall was filled to overflowing with proud families of the beaming graduates. Congratulations to the Secret Gardeners, and may you return to us for occasional deep watering.

 That post about ereaders? It may come along one of these days. They annoy me for so many reasons. For now, I’ll stay cheerful.

New addition to post: photo stolen from facebook of The Secret Gardeners!


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