On the big day, Haynes fought off tears and located her daughter, who had managed to sort out her uniform problems. Smith was happy to see them again. “I don’t want them to leave,” she said in private. “Because as soon as they do, all hell will break loose—that’s what I’ve heard from rooks last year.”
At lunch, Haynes and Baker joked with another family about the maroon rook hats while Smith picked at pizza and salad. “I can’t eat,” she said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet.”
It’s going to be a challenge and a new experience. So I’m trying to be open to everything.
~ Rook Jennifer Smith
Haynes pushed peas around on her plate. “It will tonight,” she replied, “when you can’t turn on the TV to watch ‘Big Brother.’”
Finally, it was time for the welcoming ceremony at Kreitzberg Arena. During remarks from University officials, rooks sat with their families. As the parting approached, some mothers and sons touched foreheads quietly. Smith’s eyes grew wet and Haynes pulled a Ziploc crammed with tissues from her purse.continue