Those Old Familiar Places

    Isn’t it funny how sometimes you can go somewhere and just the subtlety of a scent, or the sound of a voice just makes you remember “all those old familiar places.” I know it sounds cliché, but it is so true in my life how this happens. Just this week seemed to be one of those times where a whirlwinds of all of those little things either took my breath away, or caused me to burst into laughter or tears from the nostalgia.

I went to the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM). Oh, the years I spent there. And still am! I stood in the stairwell outside what once was the office of Dr. Harold Williamson, Department Head of Criminal Justice. He was one of those instructors that you didn’t try so much to earn a grade from him, as you did to earn his respect.

As I walked towards the exit, I had time to stand outside of what once was Sandel Library. I worked there for five years. I remembered meeting my boss, Shirley Morgan, and later Melinda Matthews became my boss. I remember Interim Director Rebecca DiCarlo.

Then, there was the director’s secretary, Carmelyn Tucker. She would sachet down those halls. Her husband, Joe worked as an electrician and would stop in just to see her. Oh, you could see they looked like school kids huddled in the hall corner. Nell used to say, look at those kids. Someone’s going to put them in detention. I miss Nell so. She passed away a few months back. I never got the chance to catch back up with her. But I wish I would have.  

That new library looks grand with its tower of books and its watch tower for all to see. Inside the library at that time, we had the booming voice of Dr. Glenn Jordan. That last name is pronounced (Jur-den), and he will correct if you don’t get it right. The third floor had the unpleasant aroma of cigarettes, and his office was piled with books, he knew every word from. He was a man who came to class with the presence of authority, and demanded reverence as he lectured without a book or notes. Every now and again he wrote a term on the board for orientation for students who could not follow his velocity paired with his reference page for spelling and such. You see teaching was his job, writing was yours. What he needed was someone to dress him. Those yellow cowboy boots with an orange tint on the sides were never in style.

As I heard the chiming of that clock, I hurried on. And smiled as I remembered the countless times I had been here before. As I rushed I was desperately thinking about going to the Annual Health and Wellness Expo at the Monroe Civic Center this weekend. I was up at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday. I may even try the Zumba Fest. I might take the stairs at my next meeting, just to get my heart rate in check.

And once again I find myself at another reason to keep time. You see, I have an hourglass at home that I pick up often, and I it turn over countless times, remembering, and wishing for just once, maybe I could hold these certain moments in time. It’s is a realization that every time you look at your watch, you have moved from one memory to another. Some you keep for a moment; others you keep forever brought back by some of those old familiar places.

Published October 13, 2011, Ruston Daily Leader, The Park Bench.

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