1. Woke up this morning amid the green fields of Yale University, where I’d performed my one-woman show, “The Porcupine Woman” the night before, and then went out with friend & writer Dani Shapiro, and husband Michael. Drink, as they say in Ireland, was taken.
2. Got in the car and drove to my alma mater, Wesleyan University, in Middletown, CT, where I had breakfast at O’Rourkes Diner. Owner Brian O’Rourke comes right up to me and says, ”I remember you. Class of 1980?” I said yup. He asked after my friends, as if it had been last week, instead of years and years ago, when last I had pie and coffee in the middle of the night at his diner. I had eggs over easy, bacon, home fries, Irish soda bread, and truly fine coffee.
3. Then walked in a wide circle around the campus. Down the old brownstone buildings of college row, over to my freshman dorm, back through the Science Center, where I paused for just a moment in the big lecture hall, where Psych 101 was in progress. I stood at the back and remembered being a student in that room, remembered hearing people such as my own innocent, young self discussed during the class on “Abnormal Psychology.”
4. Walked into a cafe and got a latte, where the woman behind the counter also claimed to remember me from 1979. She said the school was richer now, but it had lost its “esprit d’corps.”
5. Walked up Foss Hill and sat down just by the observatory and watched the brown leaves of autumn swirl around me. And thought: A) Oh how happy I was here and young; B) Oh how sad i was here, and young; C) Oh how I wish I were 20 again; D) Oh thank god I am not twenty again; E) How lucky I was, to go here, then, when I did, and to know the people I did; and F) How lucky I am now, to be where I am now instead, here, in this life, at this moment.
6. Walked through the Arts Center, into the old music building, downstairs to the practice rooms, where a dozen different people played a dozen different pianos. I pulled into one of them and played an F chord, and then a B flat. Noodled. And remembered noodles of long ago, same piano, same room.
7. Got back in the car, got outta there, drove up to the big cemetery and looked all around at the blustery autumn, and remembered how beloved that graveyard was by dear, departed John Moynihan, my friend who used to appear out of nowhere, wearing a pirate costume, hand you a treasure map, and just as quickly disappear.
8. And then headed north, to Maine, and my family, and the days to come.