November 16, 2006
Well, and Joel made it to California last night, and he has to fly back to Providence tomorrow night. And if he makes that part safely, he has still another trip after Thanksgiving. It seems grueling and horrible to me, but the way they do their job searches.
Meanwhile, I spoke at the South Orange Library today, and it went very nicely. My mother came along and seemed to enjoy it. She said it was the first time she heard me speak since high school graduation!
November 11, 2006
I’ve been to Berea, Kentucky, for the Appalachian Heritage First Featured Writers Reading at Berea College. I'm back as far as Shinnston. I enjoyed meeting Crystal Wilkinson and spending a little time with Jeff Mann and George and Connie Brosi and their sons Glade and Eagle. Also, Libby McCord came down from Cincinnati with her friends Linda Orr and Danny Miller--all Berea grads, and they gave me a terrific tour of the college (Libby kept walking backwards tour guide style) , a lovely campus on a November Day in the seventies Farenheit, the colors all red and gray and gold. Berea with its value of labor (everyone works) on principle, and how it was integrated till 1904-- 1904! -- when Kentucky passed laws forbidding integrated education. How late that was, and how Berea, as soon as the law was partially reversed (for college students) reintegrated,and in the meantime used some of their money to found Lincoln University for the black kids who could no longer come to Berea. A truly inspired place.
MSW, Jeff Mann, Crystal Wilkinson
Oh, I had a really good time, a solid reading, too, Neva from St. Paul, Virginia was there with her Sawmill Boy husband. It all went fast. FInished this morning with George and Connie taking me and Jeff to a big breakfast at the Agriculture building at Berea (“Aggies Rule!”)– students grilling their own sausages outside, a line of boys making omelettes on little portable gas stoves, plus gravy and biscuits and apples and pears from some professor’s own pear tree. Something moved me about that place. The students who work at Appalachian Heritage were wonderful: Ashley introduced me.
A few Oradells sold, also In the Mountains. Afterwards, a party.
Driving back today, across Kentucky, across the river, hills ahead, those gray bare trees with splashes of that deep red and/or burnt umber the particular West Virginia hills – forget majestic, just happy home. I’m thinking how my mother won't always be here as an excuse to visit. I'll have to figure out ways to get down here, because I see I need to. I had a fantasy of renting a room like the Vulture did. Be a secret sharer in a town like the hometown.
Am I feeling the late afternoon sunlight of nostalgia on more and more of my memories?