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.