Pomp and Circumstance and a Full Heart

My youngest son, Mac, graduated from university this weekend. It was a joyous and much-anticipated day.

We flew to Orange County Friday evening for an early morning ceremony on the Chapman University football field. It was warm and overcast, the perfect weather for sitting outdoors, especially for the graduates wearing hot, black robes.

A few tears surfaced as I entered the stadium. I recommend listening to Pomp and Circumstance if you feel nostalgic or need a good cry. It does the job.

I composed myself, and soon we were crowded around the ropes, excited to glimpse him during the processional. We watched the ceremony on the big screens, so that part felt a bit remote, but we shouted like school children when he crossed the stage to receive his diploma, a moment shared by all the other loving families in the audience. Then, we were back on our feet for the recessional, jockeying for space to see our graduate up close once again. The memories will last a lifetime.

Earlier this year, Mac spent two weeks in Florence, Italy, as part of a travel abroad program. Unfortunately, the university canceled all the study abroad programs twice due to Covid, so it was terrific that he could finally go. While there, one of the activities included learning the art of paper marbling. My son knows I love paper, so he offered it to me on his return home.

I used that special paper to make cards for part of his graduation gift. Each card is unique. Letting the beautiful paper guide the process, I made thank you cards, a couple of birthday cards, and a few generic ones.

I found a pattern to make the cardholder using heavy gold paper, then added a scrap of his marbled paper to the facade.

We enjoyed several meals with our son and his amazing friends, stopped by to see his new housing, then flew home Sunday evening to prepare for the week.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I couldn’t be prouder.

A bit of trivia:

Sir Edward Elgar composed Pomp and Circumstance — the title comes from a line in Shakespeare’s Othello (“Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”) — in 1901. But it wasn’t originally intended for graduations. Elgar’s march was used for the coronation of King Edward VII.

It first became associated with graduations in 1905, when it was played when Elgar received an honorary doctorate from Yale University in 1905, but it was played as a recessional, not as a processional, at the ceremony.

Miles Hoffman, NPR.org

Paper marbling is a method of aqueous surface design, which can produce patterns similar to smooth marble or other kinds of stone. The patterns are the result of color floated on either plain water or a viscous solution known as size, and then carefully transferred to an absorbent surface, such as paper or fabric. Through several centuries, people have applied marbled materials to a variety of surfaces. It is often employed as a writing surface for calligraphy, and especially book covers and endpapers in bookbinding and stationery. Part of its appeal is that each print is a unique monotype.


42 thoughts on “Pomp and Circumstance and a Full Heart

  1. Congratulations Mac! Well done. I love the look on faces of new college graduates. So full of happiness and well deserved pride, which I now you share. Congrats to all! The marbling is beautiful and your cards are stunning. Artistic talent runs in the family!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on raising a successful and thoughtful young human! For me, as a British expat, Pomp & Circumstance means The Last Night of the Proms, which I faithfully attended every year of the 20 years I lived in London… Also moving and nostalgic!


    • Ah. Thank you, Kate. I had not heard of the Proms so I’ve just had some schooling at Wiki. What a fun tradition the BBC Proms. Here the term is used to describe end of the school year dances or Senior proms.


    • Dawn, that’s fascinating. I’ve always enjoyed watching the ancient process of bookbinding, and conversely, I remember old paperback books that fell apart when the glue failed. The older methods are definitely superior. You are full of surprises.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful time you all had. The lovely marbling made for a fabulous gift for the occasion,
    Congratulations to your son who, by the way, is the image of you – that lovely smile. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad I wasn’t there with you. I would have wept like a baby right along side of you. You all have every right to feel proud. That was hard work on everyone’s part to help him get to the end of a very long journey. Give him a congratulatory hug from me. That paper was stunning and then you turned it into something even more so. I can’t even imagine the process of making that paper but I love how it turned out. Of course, your cards are always the best. I see a second later carrier for you. The range of creativity seems bottomless. We know now that you’ve passed that talent on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Everything looked fabulous! What a haul, through Covid and things. Mac’s big smile must be a great reward too. Bravo Mac! Your card gift turned out wonderful too. Glad it was a comfortable day to be outside, that’s even better! Cheers to the Francini clan 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Huge congratulations to Mac and his very proud parents!! I just love seeing Mac’s big, happy smile in his cap and gown, Alys.💕 Mac’s hand marbled paper from his Italian adventure was a true ‘gift of the heart’ to his sweet mom. Your wonderful card making skills created such treasured, one-of-a-kind art as a graduation gift for Mac. Love to you all, dear heart! 💗


    • Thank you, Dawn. We’ve had our ups and downs, but it’s wonderful to have arrived at this day. I really enjoyed making these cards and I was actually nervous about giving them to him. His response was “fancy.” That made my day. Love to you. xo

      Liked by 1 person

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