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Some Things Never Change

The day after our 50-year high school reunion, Jim and I (and Leslie) visited the University of Washington, which might have held even more memories than West Seattle High, since we both got our BA degrees there and attended graduate school, at least for awhile. The college has changed considerably, even since my daughter graduated from there a little over 15 years ago, but it wasn’t too hard to navigate the campus because landmark buildings have stood the test of time.

It was a little surprising to discover that Parrington Hall has been remodeled and no longer houses the English Department. Jim seemed to know where the English department had been moved to, but we never did get around to finding it. In my head, at least, Parrington Hall will always house the English Department.

The HUB was still there, or at least the shell of the HUB was still there, but most of it was blocked off and it’s clear that it will probably be unrecognizable after the upcoming renovation. Despite the fact that some of my fondest college moments took place in the HUB it’s probably a very good thing that the university has made major changes because the food was always pretty bad, bad enough that I often brought a lunch from home, and not just to save money.

What really brought back a rush of memories for me, though, was our visit to the University of Washington Bookstore after we’d walked around campus. Of course, they’d moved the poetry section and added new sections but the poetry selection was just as magnificent as I remembered it. I focused on the Northwest Poets section and had a hard time limiting myself to just four books: Witherup’s Down Wind, Down River, Defree’s Spectral Waves, Sund’s Poems from Ish River Country, and Bierd’s First Hand.

I’ve revisited the University Bookstore much more than the University itself even though I still have a few books that I bought there when I was attending college that I haven’t read yet. In fact, one of my goals in starting this blog was to motivate me to finish reading books I’d bought at the bookstore many years ago. I’ve actually managed to finish most of them, including re-reading the Hardy novels that Mr. Thomas bought for me here when I was a senior in his class at West Seattle. Shopping here is my way of getting a “fix.” It’s one of the few of my habits I can heartily recommend.

We ended our visit to the U with an even older tradition, a delicious meal. Greek foods are one of my favorite, and I took Jim and Leslie to a fine Greek restaurant that Dawn discovered while she was attending The U, though I had to walk several more blocks up the Avenue than I remembered. While there I even re-discovered Skorthalia, a garlicy sauce that I’d somehow forgotten over time. No longer, I made it for Dawn’s birthday on the next Monday and was still eating it tonight with the leftover Lemon Soup.

Some traditions are too delightful to relegate to the past, and fine dining is certainly one of those traditions.