reflecting on Penn's Locust Walk, now and then, in this weekend's Inquirer, and thank you, Florinda

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I am perpetually grateful for the care and artistry that Kevin Ferris and Amy Junod bring to the stories I write once each month for the Inquirer. This weekend's layout blows me away. In the story I'm reflecting on Locust Walk—that ribbon through the campus where I once meandered as a student and today teach as a spring-semester adjunct. So many, many thanks.

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.
This morning I also want to thank Florinda, now a long-time friend (not just of this blogosophere, but of the real, tangible world), who took the time to read Handling the Truth, and who had such kind things to say on her popular blog. Florinda has stood at my side through so many books now. I am grateful that we stand together, still.


Serena said...

Wonderful piece in the inquirer as always and Florinda is a beautiful soul. I just love her.

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