Working on my new story, Love Notes, keeps me focused on days in Baltimore when Jim and I met.
Not complaining. I love it.
Especially as it seems to be creating some serendipity connections between then and now.
When I boarded the train in Charlotte to head to Baltimore to enter Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing I was carrying a book that a nurse gave me "to read on your trip." I did read "Miss Susie Slagles" by Augusta Tucker as the train clipped off the miles toward Baltimore. By the time I reached the nurses home to check in my imagination was fired by Tucker's novel and her romanticized version of Hopkins in the early 1900s. I loved it.
I have been re-reading Tucker's novel as part of my "research" for my new story. It prompts many memories.
Yesterday my friend Kay called from Texas, "Do you want to go back to Hopkins in June?" Before I could say, "YES." she added. "lets stay where we did last year?" She read my mind. Those words were on my tongue. Last year we stayed in a renovated row-house on the street where Jim and I lived when we got married. Talk about walking back into the past - - it was great. "YES" Now, the plans are underway and I am very excited to return to the old neighborhood.
I have also been reading a history of Hopkins as a teaching hospital.
Last night at family gathering a new acquaintance suggested I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" which is the story of a major breakthrough in research on cervical cancer which occurred in 1951. Jim came to JHH in 1952 and I arrived in 1954. I recognized the names of researchers. I was sure Jim would have known them. It would have been so great to talk about it with him.
That led me to call one of Jim's classmates. He is an OB-GYN - its his field. "Yes, I read the book - went to see the author speak. She was terrific. Several of the researchers had been professors at time we were there. You were right to recognize the names." He and is wife may be coming to the scientific meetings the same time Kay and I will be there. Maybe they will try to stay in the same area we are. Yes, he would like to talk about the days he lived in a boarding house very like the one in Miss Susie Slagles. "I remember it well."
There are others I want to see and talk with and places I want to go. I know I will have to work hard to walk down memory lane because so much has been changed.
But - - it will be worth the struggle.
I really love it when life moves in circles!