Ooh, Purple

Purple is my favorite color.

A couple of weeks ago, when Carol Bruess was gathering quotes for her Tuesday Scroll from those of us celebrating notable anniversaries with the university, she asked for six words or less explaining why we stay at/love/adore/work for/hope always to work for/support/admire/like St. Thomas. Now, I have been just waiting for a chance to play one of Carol’s six words or less games ever since I read about it in her Scroll last year. This was my big chance.

Purple is my favorite color.

I was really surprised, though, by how fast this five-word answer came to me. Now, I probably could have gone for six, but I just love unrhymed iambic pentameter.

Purple was my favorite color when I was three and my grandmother in Michigan sent me the frilliest little girl Sunday dress you can imagine. It was orchid. I wanted to wear it to church every week. My mom hated ironing it.

Things didn’t change. When I interviewed for my job at St. Thomas 30 years ago, there was purple everywhere. Even the trash cans were purple. I saw those trash cans; I knew I had found my home.

Sometimes I feel a little ambivalent on Tommie Tuesday. I love coming in and seeing so many people in purple. But I have incipient rebellious thoughts about conformity and groupthink. I also had some trouble with those purple poinsettias this Christmas. Poinsettias should be red.

Still, when I walk into the new Anderson Student Center, I think to myself, every time, “Ooh, purple.”

There are a few touches of orange in Anderson. I like those as well. In fact, I probably wear orange more than purple. The worst econ class I ever taught at St. Thomas convinced me of the value of orange. On days when I wore orange, class went better. Honest to Keynes. The students just seemed more involved when I wore orange. One colleague suggested reverse causation; I was happier and more enthusiastic when I wore orange, making them happier and more enthusiastic in response.

Nonetheless, purple is my favorite color. Ooh, purple.