I brought nothing to my freshman roommate relationship (although she thought it was cool that I was from Iowa). On paper, she was just a girl from Richmond. But in person, she was a triplet who had grown up in Cairo going to a British school. As a result, she (and her sister who also attended W&M), held high tea almost every day at 4:00 p.m. throughout our entire four years at the College. Over time, there came to be a “tea group”; approximately 7-10 people (the same 7-10 people) would attend tea every day. The group consisted of my roommate and her sister, the sister’s boyfriend, the sister’s roommate, me, and four other people who lived on either our floor or the sister’s floor (we all lived in the same freshman residence hall). While she and I did not remain roommates after our freshman year we remain friends. She was at my wedding, and this past Sunday, I was at hers. Not surprisingly, the reception was not a dinner and dancing but instead a full-on tea. I even got her teacups from Tiffany as a wedding gift (pictured below).
None of us are fantastic about keeping in touch and so this was the first time I had seen the tea group in over five years since my own wedding. Most of us had gotten another degree, married, bought a house, and grown into functioning adults. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up, chat, and pretend like it was still a campus afternoon at 4:00 p.m. where we got together around a tea pot and some crackers (admittedly the catered tea ceremony at the wedding was a little bit grander). And that’s what this community is all about. Even if the lines of communication go silent, the connections never go away. That’s why the word community is so overused at W&M; because it’s the most accurate way to describe how this place and its people get into your blood. I likely won’t see the tea group again for another five years if not longer (as we’re all married save one there will be no more weddings that bring us all together) but when the invitation comes, I will RSVP affirmatively. These are people I saw every day for four years and they changed my perspective and my life in wonderfully rich and awesome ways. So while we may not email regularly or get together frequently, we will always be connected through the bonds formed at this wonderful College…and we will always have tea!
– Wendy Livingston