Well, I'm Back
Went up to St. Bonaventure University, my demi-alma mater (I was there only 2 years, graduated from another college), as the invited keynote speaker for Communications Day, the Dr. Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication annual day of workshops/speaker/awards for high school students who are considering becoming j-majors (as I still call ourselves..."j-and-mass-comm majors" is just too darn long).
I had a blast. Almost 300 kids from 17 schools showed up; Lee Coppola, the dean of the school, said it was their biggest turnout ever, though I doubt I was the cause. But I certainly enjoyed the results. I gave my speech, which I will reprint in the next post in all my hubristic vanity assuming you'll all be eager to read it (you don't have to...), and talked to a bunch of the kids after, and hung with the j-school faculty for various lunches and dinners. Lee and Pulitzer winner Professor John Hanchette were lordly (and cute) seniors when I was a lowly freshman, and I looked up to them as, well, you know, gods. Or at least demigods. It was great fun reminiscing and reacquainting...
Thank you all sooooo much, Lee and Carole and Kathy and Breea and Denny and Patrick and Hanch and Chris and Fr. Basil and Sue and all the rest of the j-school professors and staff, who made it so easy and so incredibly much fun for me. You are the absolute best.
The weekend I had planned for r&r, so on Saturday, I went to the Museum of the Seneca Nation in Salamanca, a town completely on the Seneca Reservation, and out for lunch with Kathy Boser (one of three), who works for the j-school, and Kathy Boser (the second of three, but I knew her first so let's call her 1.0, the one who was actually a classmate of mine and to one of whose cousins the first-mentioned KB is married), and a Bona grad of senior vintage even to myself, a lovely woman called Mary Hamilton, who lived in the East Village from 1968-73, IIRC, and thus our habitancies overlapped and undoubtedly our paths occasionally crossed all unbeknownst to us...
A wonderful chilly, windy day of glorious sunshine, blue sky and blazing autumnal foliage. I had been most concerned that the leaves would tumble on down before I got to see them, but in Cattaraugus County and in Erie County on the drive down Thursday from the Buffalo airport (they put me on JetBlue, my first time, and it was terrific), they had held on nobly until I could get there, and I was grateful.
Saturday and Sunday nights I spent at the grooviest b&b, www.galletshouse.com. Just crashed on Saturday night, because I was so tired (plus Carole had to work on her tenure application...just do it!). Gallets is a Victorian farmhouse filled with the possessions and furniture and stuff of the Gallets family of Allegany NY (into which family yet another Boser has married, a dashing lad named Gary Boser, of my and Kathy Boser 1.0's generation). Glorious.
Now I have a lot of stuff, as y'all know, and can see a tiny part of in the pics, but I live a life of Amish simplicity compared to this lot's: stuff EVERYwhere. The stuff had stuff of its own: the entire attic was a family museum, with great-grandma's lace skirt and a great-uncle's gold watch and photos and clippings and clothes and jewelry and all sorts. Dizzyingly wonderful. In my room there was a big, high-headboarded bed that had belonged to Great-great-grandpa Jacob...the whole house was glorious old Victorian wallpaper and waxed oak furniture and pocket doors and fine old carpets...just fantastic, and if you're ever out that way you must stay there.
On Sunday, Carole, her husband Steve and our friend Laurie all drove up and down Allegany County (just east of Cattauragus) for Allegany Artisans Day, an open-house day for the many artists and craftsmen who operate out of their own rural homes: we visited artists in glass, ceramics, painting, pottery, Celtic woodcarving (lovely, but really pricey), and even a knitting blacksmith (he knits wool, not iron). Nothing that really spoke to me, and all, I thought, kind of overpriced. Beautiful things. Just not to my taste.
Then we drove up to Letchworth State Park, where the mighty Genesee River has carved a gorge that some call the Grand Canyon of the East. Hyperbole, to be sure, but still a splendid and beautiful place, with a magnificent waterfall in which we saw a rainbow! Arcing from its base in the mist to a vanishing point high above the trees, all in the mist rising up from the falls in their massive rocky gorge. Most Tolkienesque.
We then had dinner at the beautiful Glen Iris Inn, once the home of Victorian Mr. Letchworth, delicious meal in a High Victorian room. After the consuming of hot fudge sundaes to go out in glory, we drove back to Olean, where I met the Pack, dog companions of Malinalda, and was overwhelmed by furriness and petmepetmenopetME! What a bunch of cutie woofwoofs! Not forgetting teh kittehs, who were also adorable.
Came home today by bus, to see the scenery, but trip ruined by a weird and unsafe bus driver who freaked everyone out and about whom I shall be complaining to ShortLine Bus Company tomorrow: he spent most of his time on a cell phone (NO handset) or inexplicably slowing down to a crawl and almost pulling over or writing while driving...very, very worrisome.
But he still couldn't kill my buzz. I had a wonderful time, and I thank everyone who helped to make it so. You da best!