http://english.umn.edu/engagement/newsletter2010.php?entry=263360 ) A report by the Pranksters of Eng3005H in the Minnesota Daily of April 2010 describes him as an amazing teacher. So I read his short autobiography Making Meaning of a Life in Teaching, hoping he could still teach me something about “writing about yourself”. However I found his detailed handwritten list of tips in Boston, advising us on what to eat and see, back in August 1985, more enlightening for my purpose, at least as far as style was concerned. I quote: «Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, has 20 Restaurants. My favourite is not at all elegant; just the reverse. It is DURGIN PARK (North Market, Quincy Market). It has gigantic slabs of prime ribs of beef and surly waitresses who routinely insult Americans but think foreigners are “kind of cute” ». The beef was delicious and the waitresses were indeed kind of cute… being a foreigner. My last photo on our US tour was taken the following evening just before returning to Kelly’s Landing from Thompson Island after lobster and clambake. A sort of kitschy end of movie scene with Boston‘s late August sunset skyline in the distance. Ed was to hand out his yellow envelopes containing the contrasting class photograph taken at Middlebrook Hall on a sunny July Saturday morning with eyes facing the camera, not knowing what to expect of the two months ahead. Now on the dark pier everyone seems to be lost, the group already dislocated, each of us looking in all directions, knowing we’ll be on a homeward bound plane in a few hours. The next picture on the film strip is that of my kids playing in the garden back home. So all was back to normal, back to school, back to work with a midlife crisis and a divorce ahead of me, nothing quite surprizing or out of the ordinary.
When I look at those pictures again I realize they belong to another era proven by the fading stencilled ink of the tour schedule we were given. However I didn’t opt just to forget the whole affair and move on. I knew a lengthy incubating process was necessary, that the brewing of ideas needed nurturing, even if I already suspected that the lecture on Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome wouldn’t be useful.