Growing up in Orange City, with a mom who worked at Northwestern, I heard a lot about all of the events and happenings on campus. Mom would speak of pranks in the chapel, giant slip-n-slides, and student choreographed dance shows. Each sounded immensely exciting, of course, but there was one that particularly stood out in my mind: Bingo Night.
Oh yes. Bingo Night.
But first, a backstory: Dressing up has always been something I've loved to do. When I say dressing up, I mean digging through the dress-up bin to play pretend. As you might imagine, Halloween was always a favorite of mine. One year I dressed up as Princess Jasmine, a stark contrast from my previous choice of ninja. Another year I dressed up as a soccer player, and another yet as a cadet in the army. There is one choice of character, however, that will always be a favorite. Around age 9 or 10, as I was surely maturing beyond princesses and ninjas, I found my great-grandmother's walker and decided that I was going to dress up as a grandma. And every year since that point in time, when I went out trick-or-treating, I dressed up as a grandma.
The outfit changed over the years. Sometimes I spray-painted my hair grey. Sometimes I brought a cane. One year I printed out photos of my "grandkids" to put in my wallet. On several occasions friends would join me and we'd head out onto the streets of Orange City dressed to fit our role of Grandpa or Grandma.
So you might imagine how excited I was to participate in Bingo Night, the one night a year when students from across campus are invited to dress in their best elderly attire to come and play several rounds of Bingo.
On the night of Bingo, a group of girls on my wing gathered what they could find and we put our outfits together. We did each other's hair and offered suggestions to complete the look we were going for. Walker in hand, we headed down to the student center for a wild night of Bingo. There were several great prizes, and many different winners. It was a tough run, but by the end of the night, we were taking home the gold. Not to brag or anything, but our wing walked away with three different prizes.
One came back with a Hydro Flask water bottle, another with a new mini fridge, and my roomie with a FitBit. Overall, it was a great night. But it wasn't the prizes that made the night so memorable.
It was the dressing up, and the make pretend. It was giving each other nicknames and making up stories about our grand kids. It was singing along to the songs on the loudspeaker and intensely listening for the announcer to call out B5.
It's nights like these that I dreamed about as a child. And I'm so blessed to finally be living them.