Memories of home will flood students this weekend as Oberlin welcomes visitors for its annual Parents and Family Weekend.
It is the time when relatives and friends come from far and wide to visit their loved ones studying away at Oberlin college and Conservatory.
First-year Jennifer Dominguez is looking forward to her mother's visit from Kent, Ohio, and after two and a half months without her daughter Martha Dominguez is, no doubt, excited to visit. "My mom called me two weeks after I moved. She said, 'I'm passing through Oberlin and I wouldn't want to infringe on your social life, but you know, we could just get coffee.'" Dominguez laughed at her mother's behavior. "I keep saying, 'Mom it's okay.'"
There are many events from Friday morning to Sunday evening scheduled to entertain the new visitors and students. Dominguez and her mother are looking forward to cutting the rug at 'Sco Swing night, but not before they get "uppity" with Saffire - one of Jen's favorite music groups. "I think we're gonna hang around here. She likes to swing dance and I wanna take her to see the Uppity Blues Women," she said.
Both Dominguez and her mother are inviting her roommate to come along for the fun. "This weekend we're going to my grandparent's house with my roommate because her parents ... live in California, so they can't come."
Martha Dominguez will be staying at Chez Jennifer for part of the weekend. "She's spending Friday night in my room," said Dominguez. "Saturday night she's spending at my grandparents' and she's going home on Sunday."
For the time that Jennifer has been gone, Martha Dominguez has used various coping strategies to deal with the sudden stillness in the house. "She misses me so much," said Dominguez. "She sleeps in my bed. She listens to my music. She goes to the high school a lot and attends chorus and drama productions. She does all these things [high school events] that she would have done had I been there," said Dominguez. Laughing, Dominguez mentioned her mother's new fondness of the two cats she left behind for college. "I know she pets the cats a lot. She says, 'I keep petting them. They miss you so much.'"
The difficulties of separation are reciprocal, however. Jen spoke of her difficulties with the traditional homesickness she feels for her hometown. "Probably the most homesick I felt was when I was home," she said. "I realized how much I didn't belong there anymore. It's a very alone feeling-that you don't fit into where you come from."
Dominguez also misses the familiar tastes and events within Kent itself. "There's this vegetarian restaurant called the Zephyr. I miss $3 pizza night at the bar next to the Zephyr. It's fabulous pizza," she said.
Parents and Family Weekend may be considered an event for friends and relatives to fill some of the void students leave behind. "We really depend on each other because it's just us. Probably more so her than me. All she sees is the void the stuff that's not there. Me, I'm the stuff," said Dominguez.
Mother and child reunion: Jennifer Dominguez and her mother Martha Dominguez are shown together five days prior to Jennifer's college freshman enrollment. (photo courtesy Jennifer Dominguez)
Copyright © 1998, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 127, Number 8, November 6, 1998
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