By Jonathan McNamara
The fall season brings much to be enjoyed.
From cooler weather to the holidays, where families can come together, taking time from their busy schedules to relish in the good food and fellowship with loved ones.
Another event that makes this time of year so memorable is homecoming.
People return to the schools where memories and friends were made while earning their diploma or degree. They enjoy a football game with old friends and a lucky girl and boy are crowned homecoming royalty.
For some, attending a homecoming can be so much more.
Imagine leaving your actual home where your brothers and sisters lived and the adults that cared for you from childhood through high school graduation, and even beyond.
Every year you get to come back for a homecoming that is as unique and historical as the oak trees growing on the campus.
Oxford Orphanage, now known as The Masonic Home for Children celebrates homecoming every year in October.
As a graduate of Oxford Orphanage, I attended.
The whole weekend is dedicated to the “orphans’” return, which is how most refer to themselves, and the support of the place they call home.
A lot has changed since I was 12 years old and first walked into Bundy Cottage where 20 other boys my age resided.
However, one thing still holds true, whether one lived here in the ‘50s or the ‘90s, lived here for three months or 18 years, there is always a home in Oxford.
Homecoming is important to any institution from local high schools to large universities.
This is a time to remember where you came from, and how you got where you’re going.
For some, homecoming brings smiles and tears as you see old faces from days gone by and “Remember when” starts most of your sentences as you recollect stories that only seem relevant to you and your old friends.
When you live side by side, go to school, work on the farm and eat together with the same people for most of your childhood you develop relationships that can never be duplicated.
As for me, I have never had the same caliber of friendships that I had during my seven year stay at Oxford Orphanage, a place where strangers became my brothers and sisters and shared a deep since of pride for being considered an “orphan.”
There is no longer a soccer game during our homecoming, or a queen crowned, but there is still a parade that lets the entire town of Oxford know we are returning home, with a barbecue cookoff, a dance at the Shriners’ club and church services at the beloved York Rite Memorial Chapel to end the weekend.
Homecoming means a lot to people no matter the venue, but to the ones that call Oxford Orphanage home, it means so much more.