Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Frightened Fawn in the Doorway

Deer in the Doorway

Frightened deer in the doorway, waiting for mom

Frightened fawn in the doorway, waiting for mom

A little while ago I heard a cat’s loud meow just outside the door. I looked out and saw a black and white cat, looking comfortable and eager, as if hoping to come in. I said through the closed door, “You’re not ours. We don’t have a cat. Why are you here?”

Then I realized the cat was not looking at me, but at something else. I looked down and saw a frightened fawn between the side of the chimney and the stone wall.

He was not much larger than the cat. I thought the cat had cornered the fawn and was not letting him run away.

I looked again a few minutes later. The cat was gone, the frightened fawn still there. “Maybe its foot is caught in the corner of the chimney,” I said to Clem. I opened the door. When I reached out to check, he squawked like a parrot.

And his foot is not caught. I think he’s just scared.

I imagine the mother must be very worried. I’ve seen deer in the past on the patio nibbling on the plants. Why doesn’t she come to find him? Just checked again. He’s sleeping.

Cornell Graduation on Sunday

We were thrilled to attend our grandson Kenechi’s graduation from Cornell.

Kenechi's parents Beth and Kelvin and sister Nkiru waiting for the ceremony to begin

Kenechi’s parents Beth and Kelvin and sister Nkiru waiting for the ceremony to begin

When I told friends I was going, they asked, “What did he major in?” Then, “What’s he planning to do now?”

He majored in Biology. He was hoping to stay on for a few months to finish research he began last summer as a paid lab assistant. During his senior year he continued the research project for academic credit. He showed us what he was doing when we visited in October last year.

But the professor’s grant funding did not come through. So he could not pay a lab assistant.

Kenechi just learned this a month ago. He had not made alternate plans. He does hope to attend graduate school, but hadn’t applied for this coming year.

Kenechi and girlfriend Mary

Kenechi and girlfriend Mary

In the last few months he has become friends with Mary, now officially his girlfriend. She already has a job lined up in New York and wants him to come. He says he’s started looking for a job and will continue the search in New York.

Great for us! It’s only an 75-minute train ride away. He’ll be close enough to visit occasionally.

The graduation ceremony was impressive, to say the least. There were over 5,000 degrees awarded!

The graduating seniors had their names called and their walk across the stage at their own Commencement the day before. Joe Biden was the speaker.

On Sunday all the graduates were presented by the Deans of their colleges as a group. The President of Cornell, a woman who has been in office for just six weeks, presented the degrees to the group.

After the graduation ceremony, with proud parents

After the graduation ceremony, with our daughter Beth and her husband Kelvin, happy parents.

We met Kenechi’s girlfriend and her family at her apartment on Saturday evening. I loved the way she ordered Kenechi around gently as they prepared refreshments for guests coming to play BeerPong.

I had never heard of this game. Have you?

British Airways

Our older son Chinaku tried to come to Kenechi’s graduation. But he was on British Airways on Saturday. He had called Beth to tell her he was stuck in London. This morning I learned the details from him.

He said, “We arrived at 2:30 pm at Heathrow as expected. Then we sat on the runway, not even near a gate, for 3 and 1/2 hours. The crew did not know what was going on. At last someone on the flight found out that there was a computer failure caused by a power outage and all flights were cancelled.

“Around 6 pm we pulled into Terminal 4, not 5 as scheduled. Luckily I had no luggage. The poor people who did were stuck, not knowing where their luggage was. No one from British Airways was in the terminal when we arrived. It was complete chaos.

“By then it was too late to get another flight to the U.S. so I just went to a hotel. I’m going back to Nigeria tonight.”

I trust he’ll at least get a refund! When will we really know what happened to British Airways computers?

Mount Holyoke Reunion

With classmates at Reunion. Can you find me in the middle?

With classmates at Reunion. Can you find me in the middle?

I started this intense Memorial Day weekend with my 55th reunion at Mount Holyoke College. I arrived late on Friday, miscalculating the time it took to drive to South Hadley, Massachusetts, from our home in Westport, Connecticut.

I walked into our dorm just in time to turn around and go to the President’s reception with a few friends. We returned to the dorm for our class conversation about Ta-Nehisi’s book Between the World and Me. My friend Judy was in charge.

She had brought in two young faculty members to facilitate. I’ll tell you more next time.

We always carry signs in the parade.

We always carry signs in the parade.

The alumnae parade is a key feature of Saturday morning at reunions.

I loved seeing classmates and catching up on the five years since our last gathering.

I was on the slate to be one of three co-vice presidents who are the reunion chairs for five years from now.

I had to leave to drive to Cornell before the class meeting with the vote. I assume I got elected!

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Loved your weekend update! Is the fawn still there? If so, you might call the Westport Nature Center for advice. Peace, Judy

    • Thank you, Judy. No, the fawn left before I even sent the post out. I checked again this morning to be sure. He is gone. And I never replied about bringing in the Nigerian clothing. I’m not ready to do major importing but maybe I’ll bring back a few outfits next time I go and show them to friends.

  2. Such interesting posts, Catherine. I loved reading about everything!