Otherwise, my visit to the alma mater went pretty well -- I had a good time talking to five of my six physics profs, and the sixth is retired. They are themselves. They are as they ought to be.
On the drive down -- oh, it's such a familiar drive. The apples-and-funerals place! The motorcycle mural! Emma Crummy's! That Dairy Queen I scolded my grandmother about when I was younger than Roo! That place greykev picked up forgotten toiletries on our road trip! The Green Giant! North American Taxidermy! The 7Up silo! The Treaty Site! -- I kept thinking of John Cusack in "Grosse Pointe Blank," standing there on his cell phone saying, "They say you can never go home again, but apparently you can shop there." And it wasn't like that. The dark windows in the Chestnut Tree hurt. So did the bushes that used to be Johnson and the walk from Olin that used to have trees--but those hurt when I graduated; those were old, tornado hurts. And I took pictures of Wahlstrom. I took a picture of my own hand on the Kasota stone, because I'm a big ol' sap.
I'm not at home on the Gustavus campus any more. I'm not at home in St. Pete any more. But there's a place for me on the second floor of Olin still, in the physics department. It's like going home to my parents' house: I don't live there any more. It's not the same place as it was. But that doesn't mean they aren't there still, and it doesn't mean I can't go and visit and spend time and have it be a good and natural thing. Being a physics alum doesn't have to be the same thing as being a physics student to be a good thing. I won't be dashing down there every other week, but I could go back again, and I don't think it'd be quite such a big deal next time. And some of the things I loved best about that place are still there, and all five of them looked glad to see me.