The Old School Tie

I went each year to Ross’ class play, taking a seat in front row center so I could videotape. One year, this put me right next to a dignified old woman who had to be Signora Pavone, the retired principal of Setti Carraro. Our friend Patrizia, whose recommendation had originally helped get Ross into the school, had asked me to say hello on her behalf, so I looked for a way to start a conversation with this rather forbidding lady.

During intermission, she was approached by a very stylishly-dressed woman, the mother of one of the students, and clearly an alumna herself. When they had finished their conversation, I turned to Signora Pavone. “I’m glad to see that this school has a tradition of alumni sending their own children,” I said. “I went to a school like that, and it’s always a good sign. I assume that lady was also a student?”

Signora Pavone gelidly replied: “That lady’s great-grandmother was also a student here.”

End of conversation. Apparently, as the mother of a first-generation student, I was a mere upstart. Ah, well. Woodstock may be a few decades younger than Setti Carraro, but at least it is led by – and produces – people who are interested in engaging with the wider world around them.

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