Saturday, August 24, 2013

You Had to be There

     I finished reading John Green's Looking for Alaska last week. As with many of the books I have read recently, I didn't really know much about the book before I read it.  I had just heard some recommendations for John Green's work and I decided to check it out.  I was pretty excited when I read the synopsis that the book took place at a boarding school in Alabama.  I just knew this book was going to remind me of my time in Marion and I was right.  
     You see, I went to college at a Southern Baptist women's college that was three blocks away from a military boarding school in small town Alabama.  MMI, the military school, was a high school and junior college.  While I was there, they added 8th grade to the school.  Most of the younger students were locals who opted to attend the school over the local public school so they could receive a better education. However, there were several students at the school who were sent there because they were behavior problems. Personally, I always thought this was a bad idea.  It didn't make sense to me to send children who were acting out away to a school with limited adult supervision.  Even with the rules in place at the school, there were always antics going on.  Pranks and partying were regular occurrences on the campus.  All while I read the book, I could imagine similar events taking place in Marion.  Pudge and the Capitan and Arizona all reminded me of people I know while I was in school there.  So Looking for Alaska really brought me back to a different time in my life.
      Marion was a special town that seemed to be separated from the rest of the world.  I have often said that I had a unique college experience but no one would really understand it unless they had lived it as well. It's like all of us who were there share a secret that the rest of the world can't be a part of. It was hard to leave the bubble of Marion at the end of my 4 years there but it was time to move on. I cherish the time I spent there because it helped shaped who I am.  

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