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Saturday, August 25, 2007


  • To the Happy Valley yesterday, to get CLA set up at New York's Public Honors College. She is tripled, which is vexing her, and she is living in Jones Hall, which is a source of cognitive dissonance for me. In my time there Jones was the sole all-men's dormitory, and enjoyed the sort of reputation you might think would come from that distinction. It's all about location now: Jones residents have less of Geneseo's famous hill to climb, and are right behind the library.
  • .I expect it will be an easier transition for CLA than it was for us-- we spent far to much time fussing around. Setting up the room, mercifully, was not something we could get too involved in; with three people in such close quarters there are a number of decisions to make, and I was able to persuade A that we should absent ourselves. That still left the trip to Sundance for books, and setting up a checking account, and lunch, and a last minute trip to Wal-Mart for some last minute stuff. It all seemed calculated to prolong the process, although whether this was a scheme by A or CLA I couldn't venture to say.

    It was roaring hot, and there is a fair amount of construction still going on, but the campus looked beautiful, and the whole town was set up to welcome the incoming class. There were balloons on the parking meters; the bank had sandwiches and granola bars to tide over the queued students; Sundance had a big cooler full of bottles of ice water. Much has changed, but the change that I found the most interesting was Sundance. In my time it was owned by a hippie named Barry, and run by his hippie posse. They had a storefront on Main Street, papered with tattered Grateful Dead posters, and full of Carlos Castaneda books and tarot cards. There was also a school-run bookstore in the student union, and about half the faculty ran their text orders through it. It now appears that Barry has taken over the whole show, and even runs the store in the union. They've turned the old Gentleman Jims- formerly a bar with a cover charge that I therefore never went to-- into a textbook annex, and the whole process was simple and streamlined. It's still full of Dead posters, but they are framed, and it is still staffed by hippies, or at least dudes with beards and attitudes. It is still a model of capitalist efficiency. I'd be interested in the backstory. Did Barry just squeeze the school out? Did the school go to him and ask him to take over the operation? Is Barry still involved, or is he sitting in a hot tub outside his yurt by Conesus Lake, contemplating the good life?

    It was not a kindness to prolong our departure, but we finally left. We have packed CLA off many times, but this time it felt more final. Camp, or a summer with the Student Conservation Association is a different thing.

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