This morning I ran past my old college, which was also my dad’s workplace during my junior high and high school years. It closed last year, and beside the sign that proudly bore its name for fifty years is another white one with red letters proclaiming, “For Sale.” My grieving process about this is complicated. Some days I feel like doing as Jenny did to her childhood house in Forrest Gump, and throwing rocks at the buildings. This morning I just felt melancholy, nostalgic, in the perfect mood to write a poem.
Pillsbury Presently Past
by Julia Tindall Bloom, June 13, 2009
come my college compatriots
let’s wander the sidewalks of our old campus
silent sidewalks, stretching sleepily
vaguely remembering the sound and motion
of glory days.
come my college classmates
let’s head to class
once-modern Pillsbury Hall
still smells, looks, feels like the seventies
i prefer the creaky floors
the cracked chalkboards
the clunky doors and windows
of ageless Old Main.
come my college teammates
let’s set up the volleyball net
in the machine-shed gym
it never looked like much
we never won much
but we got sweaty enough
the crowds were moved enough
we had our shining moments.
come my college roommate
time heals wounds
i wonder what it’s done to our old dorm room?
maybe not completely erased the canned-tuna odor
maybe a few sound waves from late-night talks
are still bouncing off those concrete blocks.
come my college sweetheart
let’s sit at that library table
where two child-adults fell in love
(dust is spreading there
over the remains of that flirtatious conversation)
then we could move to the stone bench by the flagpoles
where we fell out again
and gaze across the vacant campus
where we faded apart
a lone pianist in Kelly Hall
sent practice notes out the window
onto the breeze
some caught in branches of the old enormous trees
some floated up to Old Main’s bell tower
where they rest quietly now
along with the hollers and cheers of a hundred football games,
the ringing “Amens” of a thousand chapel services,
and every last whisper and sigh
breathed in this place.
rain still falls on these gracious lawns
water patiently drips from battered downspouts
life courses through this world
but not like it used to.