College Craziness, Boston-Style

Last weekend we took a quick road trip to Boston for yet another college visit. Jon Morgan made the first cut at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and was invited up for an interview and portfolio review. He’s applying as a Composition major, not a Performance major, so he did not have to audition on piano or violin.

I said it was a quick trip: three nights, three different hotels. One on the way up, one in Boston, and one on the way back. I think we spent as much time in the car as we spent in Boston! But that was all the time we had for the trip; we didn’t want Jon Morgan to miss more than one day of school.

We had planned to leave home early afternoon Friday (which was a teacher workday at school) but we were delayed by several hours by more College Craziness involving a different college. Read about it here.

But we finally did get on the road to Boston, about two hours later than expected. Our stopping point for the night was Old Forge, in Northeastern Pennsylvania. My parents were born in this small town outside of Scranton. It’s also known as The Pizza Capital of the World. ‘Nuff said. It should have taken about 4.5 hours to drive there, but traffic was lousy and it ended up taking nearly 6. But we finally got our pizza, and a hotel room for the night.

The next day of driving was uneventful, and we arrived at our hotel Saturday afternoon. We stayed in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, just a block or so from Boston Conservatory, which is part of Berklee College of Music. My sister Maria, who lives in New Hampshire, was supposed to meet us there, but she had car trouble and had to cancel. Across the street from the hotel is the Prudential Center, with an upscale mall inside that features kind of an Italian marketplace called Eataly. We had dinner there (do you sense a theme to this trip?) and the next morning, walked over to the school for Jon Morgan’s interview.

He was nervous going in. But it was over much sooner than we expected, and as he came out, he was joking with the panel of professors who had interviewed him, and they were laughing. He was relaxed and smiling, and felt that he’d done well. It didn’t hurt that several of the professors on the panel had taught at the summer Composition program he’d attended there before his junior year, and remembered him. So the interview turned out to be a great experience. And his dad and I were able to get some questions answered by an admissions officer, as well. So the trip was worth the drive, even though we had to get in the car Sunday evening immediately after the interview and information session and start the long drive home.

The drive home started out fine. Traffic was light and the weather was good. Then, somewhere in New York, we hit a blinding snowstorm. It had been unseasonably warm and clear in Boston, but suddenly this storm barreled through. Visibility was next to nothing, and cars had spun out and were stuck on the side of the interstate. If I had been driving, I probably would have stopped early for the night. But when I proposed that plan, I was shouted down by Bob and Jon Morgan, who were determined to have Old Forge pizza for dinner. Bob has a lot of experience driving in winter weather in Michigan and Wisconsin, and he didn’t seem worried. At least there were few cars on the road. Everyone was home watching the Super Bowl.

We finally made it safely to Old Forge. Our usual pizza place, Revello’s, and our backup pizza place, Arcaro & Genell’s, were both closed. So we went around the corner to Salerno’s, where the bar was packed with beer-guzzling, pizza-eating football fans and the back room was empty. So we had our own private dining room for eating pizza, and even ordered a couple extra to take home. We don’t get to Old Forge nearly often enough.

And now, we wait for April 1, when Berklee releases acceptance notices.

If you’d like to know more about the college search saga, see my other posts on the topic:

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