What a surprise to find out on Facebook that parents of sophomores are once again spending hours in BB&B. For my son this year, five minutes there was enough – his only purchases were a multi-shade tree lamp and a replacement charger for his Shark Hand-held Cordless Vac, (which meant buying a whole new one).
In fact, CJ's things held up exceptionally well during the summer. Once the stuff came out of storage, we discovered that, although he was missing his speakers and tennis racket, most of his other possessions, including his shower caddy and memory foam pad, were still in one piece and not too stinky. And he was now the proud owner of many more items than he started out with last year:
- an Aerobed
- a king-size navy fleece blanket
- Two "Shaker Height Chess Club" T-shirts
- a little boy's SpongeBob tank, size M
- a professional tape measure, the kind that contractors use
- Ray Bans
- an orange plaid sport jacket
- a Wayland High (MA) lacrosse sweatshirt
- bowling shoes (yes, rented)
Second year students, at least at CJ's school, are so over Bed, Bath & Beyond. The last thing they want their dorm room to look like is a dorm room. Instead they try to replicate the ambience of a club – from the '80s. So they have moved on to…The Salvation Army, which presents a challenge because the Salvation Army doesn't offer "Pack and Hold" options. And they don't send you 20% off coupons.
In an incredible stroke of good luck, CJ's roommate LG (Lead Guitarist) arrived 36 hours before us with his mom, DG (Design Genius). Before we even boarded our plane, DG and LG had rented a Suburban and checked out every thrift shop in a 25 mile radius. But first they picked up the massage chair that they had shipped from NJ (a retired bar mitzvah present that begged to go to college).
By the end of the day, a bold red cotton duck sofa and a clean-lined black hardwood coffee table were positioned under the stone Gothic window. Both were in such good shape and so classic that they could have come from Crate and Barrel. Even the artwork was in its place – fourteen eclectic posters adorned the walls, and a row of varied baseball hats hung proudly above one of the lofted beds. And the high plywood end tables on either side of the sofa, which looked like something Frank Gehry
had designed, were, in fact, the standard-issue desks brilliantly positioned vertically.
"Nobody uses their desk for studying sophomore year," CJ told me, as his frat brothers waiting their turn for a massage. And after we (actually, he) put together the tree lamp, there was nothing for me to do but check out of my hotel a day early and drive for four hours to see my college friends. Not that CJ didn't want to be with me. But this year he could wash his own mattress pad. And he had a definite opinion about the right location for the hook for his bathrobe. So I bought him two giant bottles of the Axe Revitalizing Shower Gel he wanted. And then it was time for me to go.