State College Revisted

We followed Carrie and Padhraig's little red car all the way to central PA this weekend to visit State College. I've been back there a few times since grad school (a couple of Christmases at Carrie's mom's house), but it seemed like it had been a long, long time. On Saturday, we went to Artsfest. First though, I wanted to walk through Heather Bloom, the apartment building/house I lived in for five years.Here is a picture of the door leading to the two bedroom apartment I first shared with Jodie, and then had all to myself after she and I became building managers. I don't know who's in there now. I didn't knock, but I was tempted.


Looks like not much has changed. Carl, who became the manager after us, is still in business. We met him when he first moved into the building and he was a recovering crack addict. He fell off the wagon once, and we had to take away the two cats he had accumulated. He climbed back on and I guess has been sober for a number of years. At least sober enough to cut the front lawn and trim back the bushes.Helen, who owns the building, is still alive. And, it looks like she still spends her summers in Alaska. She must be about 80 now.


Also, Adam Lupo, another fiction writer in my program, has clearly settled in for the duration. He's been in SC for about 12 years now. It's a good town--inexpensive, pretty, and you can make a living on adjunct teaching alone.

The outside of Heather Bloom. Jodie and I used to have to maintain the lawn and bushes and to paint and clean apartments whenever anyone moved out, which wasn't often.


The collision of my past with my present.


And this is Layla, Carrie's mom's cat. She has no claws and she will bite you if you mess with her too much.


The Willard Building on Penn State's campus. I used to each English writing classes here to disinterested college students.


Instead of going to the Artsfest, Padhraig went back to his old haunt and mine, Saints Cafe. Only grad students and former grad students allowed.


Here is Carrie with a morning cup of tea.


Clearly, these photos are in no particular order. A dog at the ArtsFest.




Some nature in Carrie's mom's yard. Find the chipmunk.



Another kind of nature.


This is a doll house that Luke and I arranged together. He really wanted to take one of the baby pigs in the house, but we decided it might be impolite to ask for it.


Find the bunny.

Oh, and two examples of the Pez dispense collection Carrie's mom has. Luke loved it.




So, yes, I miss State College, but it also seems like I lived there a really, really long time ago. It made me feel old to go back; not even because there were lots of college kids there, because I see them all the time here on Penn's campus. More because that way of living---teaching, writing, hanging out in coffee shops all the time--seems so far away.

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I must be getting my period because I almost cired at this part---- So, yes, I miss State College, but it also seems like I lived there a really, really long time ago. It made me feel old to go back; not even because there were lots of college kids there, because I see them all the time here on Penn's campus. More because that way of living---teaching, writing, hanging out in coffee shops all the time--seems so far away.
itsknotyou said…
I've lived in State College for a while now and even though I own my home in a great neighborhood, I look at that apartment building every time I am in the area and imagine it is the best place to live. (Clearly I think about it from time to time as just googling the building brought me to your blog.) I've never been inside but it just looks so charming and quiet mixed in with all the apartments and fraternities downtown.

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