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Travel Notes


(Number 23 -- Summer 2004)

Lisa writes:
Driving east this year, we managed to find a route that took us through Bennington, Vermont. After years of my duly noting its various accomplishments (getting rid of tenure, having the highest tuition in the country, getting referred to in Franny and Zooey), Iím not sure what I expected Bennington-the-college to look like. But I donít think I expected the odd combination of summer camp, old stone manse, quaint New England and tres, tres Moderne architecture that actually characterizes the campus. On the other hand, I can sort of imagine it producing women of the sort Franny Glass described to her boyfriend Lane.


In Birmingham, Alabama for a philosophy conference, Lisa had the opportunity to visit some sites of historic significance in the Civil Rights movement.

I always find myself surprised by the intensity of being in a place of historical significance. In this era of virtual reality, big screen television and embedded war correspondents, what is it about oneís own actual, physical presence actually being in a place that makes it so profound? Standing in the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the church in which the four little girls--Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins--were killed, looking at photos not unlike the other photos Iíve seen of these four girls, I find my breath gone, find myself crying.


Firsts"First Normal School" historical marker, Concord, Vermont

Travelling the blue highways, weíve encountered our fair share of historical markers commemorating events that would otherwise have gone unremembered. This summerís trip to Maine took us through Concord, Vermont, where a roadside marker informed us that this town was the site of the first normal school in the country.


(Volume III, no. IV -- Spring 2000)

In Texas, it's pronounced Babdist, thank you very much.


Barb the Brief's pal France is moving -- along with her horse and miniature dog Sandy. She writes: "Just re-checked the bill of lading for the moving van. In part it reads: bed, chest, armoire, whip, nightstand..."


So, there's this radio program in D.C. called the Earnest White Radio Show. While it in fact is a blues program moderated by an African American guy named Ernest (thus making it the Ernest White Radio Show), I've always thought it would be a great name for a talk show featuring well-intentioned Anglos working on overcoming their racism through sincere conversation.

Well, now I've found Earnest's brother, Ben White, in Austin, Texas. Peg figures that the more radical Ben is a race traitor. ("Ben White, but I'm not any more.")


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