Good News: Oberlin

Emily and Tom and the boys at Oberlin

Here’s a roundabout way to tell you some good news: 31 years ago, in the summer of 1987, I visited Oberlin College for the first time with my dad. It was, around that time, my first choice. My college counselor had only recently started working at my high school; he’d been an admissions officer at Oberlin, his alma mater, for a number of years before that. In other words, when Carl said he thought you should go to Oberlin, it wasn’t interchangeable for him with, say, Reed or Hampshire or Kenyon or Brown or Wesleyan. It meant more.

I got an acceptance letter from Oberlin, but I also got one from Harvard, where I ended up, and where I met Emily. She and I fell out of touch for 16 years, then reconnected, then got married.

Which leads us, 11 years later, to our wonderful news that Emily is joining Oberlin’s creative writing faculty as a tenure-track assistant professor. And I’m still pinching myself, but I am delighted to say I will also be teaching creative writing this fall at Oberlin as a visiting assistant professor.

Emily and Tom and the boys at Oberlin

I haven’t figured out yet how to reach Carl (or if he’s still alive). Odds are, three decades and hundreds of advisees later, he doesn’t remember me. But still, I want to let him know that in my roundabout way, I finally got to Oberlin.

It just took 31 years.