Zip Code changes: Graduation & my fond farewell to Endwell — #AtoZChallenge 2023

Z is for Zip Code changes: Graduation & my fond farewell to Endwell. Last of 26 posts in the April 2023 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: Endwell: My High School Years. Happy dance: I’ve completed my 5th A-to-Z Challenge!

After all the ups and downs of my active high school life, Graduation Day finally arrived on June 23, 1968.

The weather was perfect as my classmates and I rose from chairs on the Maine-Endwell football field and walked up to collect our long-awaited diplomas — to the applause of our families in the stands.

I remember it as a truly magical day! It was my gateway to college. I’d be going to the University at Buffalo orientation weekend in July, then moving to the UB campus in August — my first Zip Code change.

Pre-college prep

That meant a summer of pre-college prep: pulling together all the college necessities, from towels and washcloths (with name tags ironed into them!) to school supplies — and a suitable campus wardrobe.

M-E Graduation Day, June 23, 1968. After all the ups and downs of my active high school life, Graduation Day finally arrived — a truly magical day because soon I’d be headed to college. Photo by Liz (Stoutner) Laurence.

Happily, my fashionista grandmother Liz (Stoutner) Laurence offered to purchase my clothes for college. She knew how to shop the outlets and get good deals, so I ended up with a gorgeous wardrobe — including the low waisted brown wool dress shown below, which I loved.

Orientation weekend went well, too. I stayed in the dorm, got a campus tour, and met some female classmates — so I’d know a few people in the fall. I was really getting excited!

Leaving for college

Before I knew it, the big day had arrived! My family drove me to Buffalo, stayed at a nearby motel with a kidney-shaped pool, and did vacation stuff while I settled into my UB dorm. Then they stopped on campus to say goodbye before driving back to Endwell — with hugs and kisses all around.

With my brothers Jeff (l.) and Mark (r.) in our Endwell, N.Y., rec room (1968). I am wearing the low waisted brown wool dress that my fashionista grandmother Liz (Stoutner) Laurence bought me for college. Photo by Norman J. Charboneau

Standing near the parking lot of UB’s Main Street campus, I watched as my parents and four younger siblings pulled away in the rowdy, crowded station wagon — our familiar family car departing for the first time without me.

I was 18, I was on my own, I was going to miss them — and I was surprised to find myself crying. Pretty soon, though, I collected myself and returned to my dorm to get started on my new college life.

Home for winter break

Fast forward four months and I was transformed into an established college undergrad returning home for winter break. I was happy to see my family and excited to see my high school friends!

That’s when my mom said I’d had a call from Navy Guy — my ex-boyfriend Junior’s dreamy older brother, who was stationed in Florida but apparently home on leave.

“Navy Guy?” I asked, astonished. “Are you sure you don’t mean Junior?” Yes, she was sure — and handed me his number.

“He wants you to go with him to a party at Rick’s,” she added.

Go with him? To a party at Rick’s? An athlete in the class ahead of me, Navy Guy was out of my league in high school. But now? Amazing how things can change when you’re away at college for a few months!

Rocking the hippie look in college. After four months at UB, I was transformed into a college undergrad returning home for winter break. Photo by Rona (Ditchek) Weiss

Alas, by the time I called him back he had another date. But it turned out that everyone was home for winter break, and everyone was going to the big blowout at Rick’s house — which was party-central during high school. And no one needed a date.

So I went, too — and what a party it was! The place was packed and smoky and everyone was drinking age. Pop tunes had given way to psychedelic music. There was dancing, there was flirting, the lights were low. Nerdy high school guys had morphed into handsome college guys or working guys — and pretty soon I was making out with one of them! (It was the Sixties, after all.)

My fond farewell to Endwell

I didn’t know it then, but Rick’s party ended up being my fond farewell to Endwell — the most memorable sendoff I could have asked for.

Susquehanna River near Endwell, N.Y. Photo: Data USA

After my first year at UB, I came home to the surprise announcement that my dad was transferring to General Electric in Syracuse, N.Y., and we’d be moving there over the summer — my second Zip Code change.

Endwell, N.Y., had been my hometown from second grade through high school — a source of lifelong friendships and the locus of so many formative life experiences. How could I know when I left for college that I’d be leaving my hometown for good?

Yet despite the move, my fond memories of Endwell have endured for decades — and are shared by so many others who grew up there and now live elsewhere. We carry our hometown within us, and no Zip Code change in the world can alter that.

Up next, Reflections and Recap of Endwell: My High School Years. Please stop back! Meanwhile, congrats to my fellow A-toZ bloggers and many thanks for everyone’s visits and comments along the way.

© 2023 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

12 thoughts on “Zip Code changes: Graduation & my fond farewell to Endwell — #AtoZChallenge 2023”

  1. I too have enjoyed your journey and the similarities and differences between our lives in different countries. In some ways I don’t share your affection and loyalty to my zip code.

    We didn’t have a graduation until University ended. Our final year exams were set across the state and so we had no formal farewell at high school. We just dispersed as our exams ended, which varies depending on the subjects we studied.

  2. I’ve changed zip codes three times. Every time, it took quite a while to get used to the change. Especially the first time.

  3. Congratulations on completing the challenge and thanks for sharing you stories.

    I have enjoyed comparing the similarities and differences between your high school days and mine in Australia.

  4. What a terrific ending to your A-Z high school stories! I love how you made that work for Z.

    Congratulations on completing the challenge!

    Thanks for all the encouraging comments on my blog.

  5. Congratulations on completing the Challenge. I enjoyed your posts! Zip code change – that’s a good Z. And then to have your folks move right after you started college. I guess my son (who lives elsewhere in the county he grew up in) is fortunate in some ways – we never moved in his lifetime and he can “go back home again”, something that I can’t do, either. (My late Dad moved three years after I moved out). I agree that we carry our childhood zip codes in us – I know I would have been a different person if I hadn’t grown up in New York City. Alana ramblinwitham

    1. Thanks, Alana! It’s been a fun challenge and I enjoyed your theme/posts as well. And I appreciate you letting me know about other blog hops that I can visit throughout the year.

  6. Congratulations on completing an interesting A to Z Challenge!
    I guess where we grew up always stays in our hearts and minds no matter how many zip codes we change.

  7. Congratulations on coming tothe end of this year’s blogging challenge, with an imaginative choice of title for the final tricky z letter. I have enjoyed reading your High School experiences – very different from mine in the UK. The term “graduation” was reserved for getting our university degree, and little was done then to mark our finishing High School – times have moved on though and it is rather different now, I think. Our granddaughter has another 3 years before she finishes High School , so we will find out then!

    1. Thanks, Susan! I’ve enjoyed learning from you and other bloggers outside the U.S. how different your education system is from ours.

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