Feature :: Mother Midge
A wise promoter of all things Oberlin, Midge Brittingham ’60 will soon take her leave.
by Michael K. McIntyre
Her omnipresence on Oberlin’s campus hasn’t gone unnoticed. As the chief liaison between College and alumni, Brittingham, herself a 1960 graduate, has shepherded fellow Oberlinians through reunions, Alumni Council meetings, educational programs, committee sessions, and trips abroad. She has offered sage advice and worked long hours, assuring even the most activist of alumni that she has their best interests—and the institution’s—at heart. It was no wonder, then, that Mary Louise Enigson VanDyke ’47 would honor Brittingham by rewriting the words to the Oberlin school song Ten Thousand Strong for the Half-Century Club reunion dinner in May.
As Brittingham worked her way around Carnegie Building’s Root Room, VanDyke and her husband, Don ’47, passed out the new lyric sheets. They worked to keep the whole thing a secret while Brittingham busily made sure that everyone had a seat, a drink, and something to talk about. She fussed over fixing the collar of 95-year-old Dorothy Smith ’29, the oldest graduate in attendance, who was preparing to have her picture taken. Still, predictably, Brittingham suspected what was coming—she’d spied the box containing the lyrics, her eagle eyes missing nothing that seemed out of place.
The time has come for everyone
Such appreciation would have been music to anyone’s ears, and Brittingham was, of course, moved. But what was she really thinking?
“I was thinking that they were going on too long,” she grumbles. “People had to go on to other events.”
Classic Midge. Even as the guest of honor, she’s worried about
hosting the party, about ensuring that every graduate who returns for
a reunion has an enriching experience.