May 17, 2009


As y'all might remember, I have been having quite the love/hate relationship with my university. For the last several months I have felt...disconnected. And so I bitched and complained and moaned and bitched about it until I just decided that I hated the place. The good news is that I didn't take my diploma off the wall and throw it in the trash...I just stopped looking at it every day. The bad news is that I stopped wearing my ring.

The ring, you ask? Well, we're kinda' nuts for college rings in my stupid little family. As a matter of fact, my very first piece of published writing was a story about my dad's class ring that resulted in letters, postcards, prayer cards, and gifts arriving from around the world.

My own ring's significance came to be when I went home for spring break during junior year and complained to Mom that the center setting was loose. She told me to leave it there and she would get it fixed. A few weeks later, my ring was sent to me at school with a letter from Mom telling me that she hoped I didn't mind, but that she had replaced the original setting with a diamond that Dad had given her for an anniversary. She knew that I'd always wear the darn thing, so I suppose she wanted me to have something of hers in it to remember her by. She didn't make it to graduation, but the ring did. It's been 20 years ago this week and I don't think I took it off once until recently.

I put my ring back on today. At first it felt a little funny and I wondered if it would drive me nuts. But now it feels like I've gone home again and I probably won't even realize it's there by tomorrow morning.

I dehydrated myself today bawling my eyes out while watching the coverage of the commencement. I was reminded what that place means to me, and I was ashamed that I let stupid reasons get in the way of my love for it. I don't think I solved my silly life or made a difference in anything that's presently wrong with the general state of affairs, but I'm pretty sure that I can, at least, know that I'm part of something whether I realize it all the time or not.

So, God bless you, Class of 2009. May you have nothing but peace and health and love and success in your life. And may you always remember that you really can come home again.

This is my dad's class ring. Robert P. Rich, Notre Dame Class of 1954.

And this is mine. Coni J. Rich, Notre Dame Class of 1989.


  1. I haven't read your blog long enough to know what your love/hate relationship is, but I'm certainly glad that you resolved it! And how great to go to the same school as your father.

  2. Where's Stewey's class ring? Surely he had one from obedience school. :)

  3. Coni, as you've discovered, your strong family history is enterwined with your alma mater, and your whole family, especially your Dad and yourself, are always going to be a part of that history and that institution.

    There is a fine line between love and hate, and our passions rule both. It is only when we love something SO much, that we can become SO disenchanted, that we choose to turn our backs. But that doesn't mean that the love goes away.

    It is the love of your parents that has reconnected you with your heritage, and shown you that no matter what the tides of change may bring, that tradition and deep love transcend any conflicts that you have been battling within yourself.

    I'm so happy for you, that you have discovered this truth for yourself, at your young age. It will buoy you up for the rest of your life.

    No one in my family has attended Notre Dame, but having lived in the area my whole life, one cannot be untouched by that institution. And yesterday was a very special day, indeed. No matter what your political or social positions, there was an electrical energy in the air, reaching all the way up into our neighborhood! We watched part of the ceremony on television, and then listened to the rest on the radio, while we were out and about. And when we saw and heard the military planes circling overhead, keeping the airspace clear, even we felt like we were a part of something extra special.

    So I can fully understand why you felt so strongly about the graduation ceremony yesterday. It was your 20 year anniversary, and I congratulate you on your accomplishments, and to the woman you have become since you moved that tassel to the other side of your cap. Your parents are very proud of you.

  4. Those are beautiful rings and I know what they mean to you. When my Dad passed the only thing I really wanted was his class ring. My whole life I never saw him take it off - since I am edgar IV and a 3rd generation to attend ECU - the ring means a lot to me!!! BTW I never wear my class ring - and I really don't know why??? I still like the school - who knows. It was my graduation present from my g-parents - they got my Dad's for him so it is kind of a tradition of sorts. All those memories.....

    Have a great one!!