She was already standing near the station wagon, looking through the boxes piled in the back, going over her checklist, when the visiting father pulled into the driveway.
"Hi, Dad. I guess I'm all packed and ready. Mom had us load the car last night so we could get an early start. I didn't get any sleep. I can never sleep when I'm going somewhere the next morning. Do you think I look preppy enough for U.vA?" The words tumbled out breathlessly. She was wearing docksiders without socks and a blue oxford cloth shirt-dress with a red and white webbed belt.
She frowned, looking towards the house, as she gave her father a perfunctory kiss. "I wish Mom would hurry, Chucky," she shouted to her younger brother, who was coming through the front door, "Tell Mom and Collette to hurry."
Finally settling into the car with her mother driving, Diana, the incoming U.Va. freshman or "first year student" as she corrected her father, sat stiffly in the back seat, nervous and looking as if she was afraid she would wrinkle something. Route 29, the road to Charlottesville, seemed a steady caravan of other cars loaded to capacity with mattresses and boxes, and several other first-year students who also looked tense.
The campus was crowded, the streets were clogged with incoming students unloading, unpacking and meeting their roommates. Izod alligators, Bass sandals and new U.Va. T-shirts were everywhere, along with an amazing array of electronic gear -- TVs, radios, hair dryers, refrigerators, and stereos.
In a short time, the new student was showing her family around the campus, or the grounds, as she informed them it is properly caled. Her father wondered if she would miss seeing him on weekends, and his nearly daily telephone calls. He made certain she had his office and apartment telephone numbers, and he the number of the pay phone at the end of her third floor corridor in Kent House. By mid-afternoon, her room was set up with matching bed spreads. Her mother was measuring the window for matching curtains, and her father was feeling superfluous. It was time to leave, reluctantly, to keep out of the way.
She walked them to the car, her father sweating in the stifling, late summer heat. There was nothing more to say. He had already given so much advice about college over the past several weeks that he had become bored and annoyed with himself.
She stood at the car saying goodbye, the nervous high school girl no longer evident; a college woman's poise and sophistication were already developing, making her seem a little distant.
She said her goodbyes and then turned to her father, "Daddy, don't worry, you're going to be seeing a lot of me over the next four years. I'll probably even change for the better." She kissed him, adding "I'll write often, and you can still come to visit."
As they pulled out of the parking lot, the father turned to wave once more, but she was already climbing the hill to her dormitory and didn't see.