way back when

Way Back When Pt. 2

My new roommate is not in the room, but he has staked out a bed. There’s a saxophone case in a corner, by the desk he has staked out. I unpack my suitcase.  My trunk comes upstairs. I stow that.  Still no roommate.  I think I’m hungry. I go downstairs to the snack bar, there on the ground floor of the Castle, at the back. There’s something called a “cabinet” on the menu board. I order a milk shake and an egg salad sandwich on white bread. (Are we getting the picture here? Is this person’s gestalt coming into focus?).  The milk shake turns out to be ice cream-less milk and chocolate syrup. (The “cabinet” turns out to be what the West Coast calls a milkshake; lots to learn; like “scrod.”) The egg salad sandwich sits in the pit of my stomach.  I somehow manage to not throw up.  This sets a pattern for my first two years at Brandeis–sheer terror coupled with pride at not throwing up, with some sleep-terrors and almost-pneumonia thrown in.

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Way Back When Pt. 1

September 1957. My new stepfather was a banker named Ray Gevrez Scott. He dropped me and my new stepbrother Richard (headed for MIT) in Boston after our cross-country road trip from California. Pre-interstate. Sharing the driving. Cheap motels. Landscape passing. Bad road food. Five days of Heaven. I mean, for me, the best two words in the English language are “Road Trip.”

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