Saturday, August 17, 2013
The story begins like this:
I acquire knowledge sideways and remember in shadowy bursts. University of Pennsylvania. 1978. Freshman year. White bowls of chunky granola in the dining hall. Apples the size of baby pumpkins sold from a cart. Poems in a cherry-colored box beneath my bed in a top-floor room in the Quad. The black curls on the head of a senator’s son. Classrooms like movie theaters. A calculus professor so far away on his foreign stage that I wondered if a pair of binoculars might help.(Nothing, when it came to calculus, would help.)
This was Penn to the gawky girl who dragged the aura of loneliness around her like a Casper BFF. This, and the Russian history class she loved, and the fifth-floor stacks at Van Pelt Library, and the bookstore down beside the bridge, and, always, the soundtrack of Locust Walk, where gossip simmered, students politicked, and music flumed through the raised windows of the Greek-lettered houses that dominated the 3600 through 3800 blocks.