One of my dad’s absolute favorite things to do was to visit college towns. Whether he was driving me, Katie, or Libby to a campus, or using a school vacation to drive various Interlochen students to a college interview or audition, he seemed to love the college bookstore the most. Walking through the textbook aisles, he would check out their math books, or ask me to appraise the poetry and fiction sections. He would goof around with school baseball hats, trying them on and mugging, like someone was going take a selfie.
But there were no camera phones: he was saving to imagination; he was picturing us in places. He could also spot campus restaurants that had the best-worn booths and a menu that anyone could afford. Was he worried that a disappointing meal could turn a student prospect away from the school? How did he know how to find the student center without maps or the internet? And how did he feel walking the sidewalks along the banks of the Red Cedar with his children and students? What paths crisscrossed before and behind him?
Tomorrow, Faith and I will be visiting the JHU campus for a CTY event with Mavis. After the awards ceremony, the students have been invited for a campus tour. What’s different, what’s the same? What will the Tambers’ breakfast get us ready to see?