Debbie Robinson's Facebook status sums up the event perfectly:
“Gas for trip to Emory & Henry College = $3.99 per gallon;
Overnight at Blakemore House = $52 per night;
Watching Royal Wedding with my college girlfriends...PRICELESS.”
Debbie (E&H ’80) drove to Emory from Cambridge, Ohio. Eve Solomon (’80) drove in from Charlottesville, Virginia. And Susan Taylor Leathers (’81) travelled from Brentwood, Tennessee. The three spent the night at Emory & Henry’s guest house, The Blakemore House, in order to share a great weekend of reunion and to watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Late to bed and early to rise, the trio made the expected pilgrimage to Bella’s for Pizza on Thursday evening, stayed up until 1 am catching up on the news, and then rose again at 4 am to watch the pomp and circumstance live as it was happening.
Other friends dropped in for appearances. Mary Beth Bauman Graham (’79) glided in wearing a black and white cotillion dress before 7 am on Friday, but had to head to work instead of sticking around for the fun. Mary Henry Bolt (’79) socialized and also offered her laptop as a means of back-up video feed when cable-outages were threatening to interrupt the royal plans (turns out the Blakemore House has satellite tv). Ellen Givens Urbanski (’80) checked in occasionally by Facebook and Phoebe Wood Conway (’80) called in to see how the royal reverie was going. Thirty years earlier, friends in this set gathered in the wee hours to watch the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Eve was in charge of the full reunion schedule and made sure that every moment was accounted for and full of fun. During the ceremony they followed proper form for drinking orange juice. Eve explained the rules: “Whenever they say ‘Your Royal Highness’ you take a sip of juice. When someone says ‘Jolly ole England’ you stick out your pinky to drink. And whenever someone says ‘commoner’ you take a swig.”
The only glitch in the plan was that their tiaras didn’t make the trip to Emory. No worries, because the true crowning moment came later in the afternoon when the college chums were heading to a local day spa for some pampering. “I, of course,” said Eve, “signed us up for the Princess Package.”
The fun was somewhat tempered by the fact that the surrounding area had suffered such devastating weather via a tornado that hit Glade Spring the night before their arrival. Susan lamented that because their television feed was by satellite they were unable to follow any of the local news about the disaster. Debbie, who sat in a traffic back up at Glade Spring for 3 hours, sadly shook her head at the extent of damage she saw while driving through. “There were not words to describe the heartbreaking devastation.”
Friday evening the friends wrapped up their time together with dinner at The Harvest Table restaurant in Meadowview.
Susan is the owner and editor of the online newspaper, Brentwood Home Page (brentwoodhomepage.com), and was recently named Woman of the Year by the GFWC Brentwood Woman’s Club. Eve is the PALS testing specialist for UVA. And Debbie is the executive director for the Cambridge/Guernsey Visitors & Convention Bureau in Cambridge, Ohio.