Being on the road has been great.
We have had a good time.
Seen great people
Talked and talked and talked
Visited interesting places
Loved being at the Carolina Inn again.
It is called the living room of the University of North Carolina and it is gracious and filled with history.
Robin and I stayed here when she came down to interview before being accepted as a Freshman. I have sspent nights here on my own when traveling through NC for the League of Women Voters and later when coming to town to research for story material at the North Carolina Archives - the Southern History Collection. This was a first stay for Jim.
Our room was perfect - a first floor comfortable room that looked out toward Columbia and onto the campus.
We wanted to stay at the Carolina Inn because it put us close to memories. The Carolina Inn is only one block from Franklin Street - that's the main street. It is a long walk true but walkable to North Street - where we lived in a little miniature two story colonial house when Jim was in the residency at NC Memorial.
At the Ackland Art Museum on Columbia we found new art work that is unforgettable. A lesser known collage artist who has been "discovered".
A South Carolina woman who calls herself by one name - Aldwyth. Terrific work. I was excited to see her work and how she has reinterpreted Jospeh Cornell, Kurt Schwitters and Duchamp - three artists I admire and feel influenced by in my own work. My hands began to itch to cut and paste. I told Jim, "maybe this is what was pulling me to Chapel Hill."
We walked to North Street where we touched base with old times and memories. While Jim walked the block I sat on a stone wall and made notes. The foliage, the sandy sidewalk, so many different bird calls in the tall trees that line the street, hot and humid. Jim and I laughed - remembering how mold grew on our books in this same hot, muggy July and August weather.
We have been back here before - in the car - a nodding at the past. There is no substitute for walking it to really revive and imprint the memories. And to bring it up to date. We feel lucky. This section of old Chapel Hill is unchanged from when we lived here and I sat on this same rock wall watching Jimmy and Karen riding their pedal cars in the street with Robin in a stroller. It was a gift.
Over the five days we have been South I have found new stories and remembered old ones. It has been rich. And I have learned much about straddling two worlds.
Today we loaded the car one more time and headed back to our real world.
The road was fast and easy.
We learned that budget cuts in VA mean they are closing many highway rest stops. Does that make sense? Just passing the word along.
We made it home in time for my meeting this afternoon with storytellers Linda Fang and Noa Baum - we are planning a three woman concert October 24. Its going to be fun!
Can't hold the connections very long, can we? Four hours, fast driving, and back to your own world. I am grateful to have had even a brief visit through the door to the past. And to connect to the me of today through Art.