I retired from Harvard’s Kennedy School more than five years ago. When I went back to have lunch with former colleagues or to attend a program open to the public, it always felt like going home.
But while we were away in Washington, the School completed a construction project that joined all the buildings surrounding a courtyard, so that it is now possible to go from building to building without going outside, a real bonus in Cambridge winters.
The other evening Peter and I went to a lecture in a classroom I had been in hundreds of times. But now that all the buildings are joined together, I had to ask a random student how to get there without going outside. He was very kind, explaining in detail which elevator to take to which floor and how not to get lost once I got there. I thanked him very much.
As we walked away, I couldn’t help but think about how every student in the School used to know who I was. Now, I am just some random old lady asking for directions. If that student could read minds, he would have known that I was thinking “Hey, I used to be SOMEBODY around here!”