“That leaves Kelly and Regina to be together,” the Resident Assistant was saying as the group of 20 or so freshman women gathered in the dormitory lounge. It was our second week of college and we were all meeting for a roommate shakeup. Although we had each been assigned a roommate who was supposedly chosen for the best match based on our majors, most of us had discovered that we were NOT well matched!
My assigned roommate was a fellow biology major, but that’s about all that Michelle and I had in common. She stayed up late, had a boyfriend, loved talking about clothes and makeup, and wasn’t actually focused on studying. I was pretty much opposite in all of those things.
She got along great with another freshman, Chris, and they made sure to get together in the roommate shakeup. I didn’t really have anyone else in mind, and had not even met Kelly Marts before that meeting. Our rooms were on opposite ends of the the dorm and we were pursuing different majors. We were to share her room, so I moved my stuff down the hall.
Thankfully, we actually got along just great from the start. I don’t even remember having to talk out very many details about how we would manage our lives together in the small room that was home. We were both studious, quiet, gracious, and basically interested in similar things like classical music. Kelly worked in the Chemistry Lab while taking the Chemistry classes in her major. She spent long hours at the college, and sometimes didn’t even get back to our room ‘til 9 p.m.
I liked studying in a quiet corner of the college library where I could listen to classical music while I studied, or in the dorm lounge where I could talk things over with classmates, or just enjoy the company of others. Our room was empty a lot!
Kelly lived near the camp where I worked the following summer, and we got together a few times on my days off. I introduced her to my friend, Linda, whom I had met at camp. Linda sang and wrote folk songs and we all loved singing together.
Sophomore year, we moved upstairs to a new wing of the dorm and maintained our compatible lifestyle. At nineteen, I was not good at sharing my true feelings with anyone, including Kelly, but somehow I think she understood when I quickly left the room one evening after reading a note from a boy I had a crush on. The contents of the note upset me, and I ran out to cry under the stars in the open fields that blanketed the property then. When I came back, all cried out, she didn’t pry, just gave me a warm look. I was comforted without having to say anything.
Kelly didn’t like Thomas More College, though, because it had no women’s sports. She wanted to play basketball! So, she left, and I lost track of her. We didn’t keep in touch, although Linda did, and we went to watch Kelly play once at the University of Cincinnati.
I’ve recently caught up with Kelly, hoping that she had reunited with Linda, from whom we had both become estranged. She had not, but that got us reacquainted. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards, and now Facebook messages, staying in touch in a similar fashion as in our roommate years. I learned that Kelly has been working for the past 30 years as a support person for Deaf Blind clients. She’s also been active with Lion’s Club International Service Organization.
So, I’m remembering and thanking Kelly, my only college roommate, with quiet gratitude for being someone with whom I easily got along! I’m glad we got left for each other! It was a good match!