Thursday, May 1, 2008

For Esme - With Love & Squalor

I've made a departure with my post titles today. Instead of using a song lyric or title, I used the title of a short story by J.D. Salinger. I think most people end up reading "Catcher in the Rye" in high school at some point, but it wasn't until college that I read "Nine Stories," a collection of Salinger's short stories. I was a second-semester senior and American Short Story seemed like the perfect class to finish up the year. Plus, it was my first class with the legendary Charlie Bassett - one of Colby College's favorite professors. Three mornings a week, we piled into Lovejoy 100 - jocks, nerds, American Studies majors, English majors, everyone. It was always a packed class. Bassett engaged his students, standing in the front of the class, wildly gesticulating, teaching us about Hemingway, Carver, Hawthorne, Salinger, and O'Hara. Almost ten years later, I still remember the stories, still have the books, and still keep in touch with Bassett. I drove up to my alma mater a couple of weeks ago and convinced him to let me take photos of him while we spoke. All of the quintessential English professor mannerisms were still there, even in the living room.

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