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August 2, 2002

The A-Boy Returns

After four weeks away, we retrieved our son from LA today. From all accounts, his Johns Hopkins CTY class in etymologies was a great experience. He got to experience living in a dorm, meeting other smart kids from all over, and attending a rigorous class. He's memorized a huge card deck of Greek and Latin roots and can now dope out unfamiliar words quickly. What would you call government by women, I asked, looking to see if he'd come up with feminocracy (is that a word?). But since the last week of the class focused on Greek, he unhesitatingly came up with gynarchy (is that a word?). Pretty cool. He had a pretty rich vocabulary before this; now he should be unstoppable. It's great to have found something that Alex liked so well and which seems to be such good preparation for life.

At this point it appears that these classes will be a regular part of our next two summers. Alex wants to return to Loyola Marymount again, and there are other programs on campuses all over the country. When CTY kids hit 16, they become "Nevermores" (sort of like hitting 30 in Logan's Run. There were two Nevermores in Alex's dorm floor this year and they made a point of getting as much out of the experience as they could, like packing everyone in the floor into their room for an overnight.

It's good to have him home again. Once or twice this past month I heard a creak on the stairwell and I turned, expecting Alex to appear saying "Are you hungry?". But it was only our cat or the house settling. Now he's here foraging for snacks and catching up on his email in the den while Star Trek TNG plays in the background. Continuous Partial Attention personified.

So we've had a taste of the semi-empty nest that will come when he goes away to college and we've survived. Good to know that the umbilical cord is this flexible and that he'll back as long as we keep feeding him.