Mr. Erskine, meet Ms. Banks

Something momentous occurred in the life of Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks the other day. She’s pleased to
share it with her readers in today’s paper.

I remembered from my first go-round to bring necessities not listed in the college dormitory’s move-in guide: plastic hangers, scented drawer liners, tools to un-jam a balky closet door.

But what I didn’t remember when my daughter and I arrived last week at San Francisco State is how difficult it can be to drop off your kid, leave campus and get on with your life.

I’d been through the drill in 2003 with my oldest daughter. Then, we wandered wide-eyed through every reception and information session that Stanford offered. Two days later, we said tearful goodbyes and I headed home, confident that my child would be well cared for.

This time, my youngest daughter and I joined an endless sea of families jostling for 20-minute parking spots to unload computers and microwaves and cases of water bottles. Then we hauled our stuff up four flights of stairs.

And it struck me that if Stanford was a village, this was a city. And I was about to leave behind an 18-year-old who was pawing through our carefully packed boxes for the teddy bear she’d had since she was a baby…

I wonder if she ever chats with fellow Times columnist Chris Erskine, who writes in another of today’s sections:

Our Pickett’s Charge into the Midwest is a roaring success. We drop off the little girl at a fine school that, for a mere 30 or 40 grand, will keep tabs on her for an entire academic year. Good deal, I say. Heck, she spends that much on Starbucks.

“I’d have paid more,” I tell Posh.

“We don’t have any more,” she says.


By the way, if you’re taking a daughter to college soon, might I recommend renting one of those C-130 transport planes, a whopping-big aircraft with abundant trunk space. That’s what we did, and it took us only two round-trip flights.

The first load was entirely shoes. The second trip was scarves and scrapbooks. We shipped the rest ahead of time (thanks, UPS!).

Not since the Berlin Airlift has the world experienced anything like this. Evidently, freshman year now requires four tons of clothes, hangers, little clutch purses, cheap IKEA storage units, tape dispensers, tennis rackets, silverware, ramen noodles, gauze. I swear, Posh and I were married 20 years before we accumulated this much junk…

I’d written not so long ago about the seeming failure of Times editors to keep track of what’s coming up in their papers. If they had, wouldn’t it make sense to run the two columns together — or at least to cross-reference them?


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