Atomized junior

Dedicated to the smallest particles of meaning on the web
Atomized Links:

Usual Suspects:

(A search engine for Wikipedia)


Atomized junior

Sunday, September 30, 2012
The Map

A couple of weeks ago a map came through the cataloging unit at the Library where I work as a copy cataloger, a resoundingly clerical occupation. The map didn't come to me but as a federal document it came to our Federal Depository cataloging clerk Cheryl. The map being large and rather colorful caught my attention as she processed it, and I went over to have a look. It was titled Bedrock geologic map of Vermont. Even though it was a Federal document in this guise I could see it was originally produced by an organization called the Vermont Geological Survey.

I paused at this point and scanned all the names of the fairly sizable team that contributed to the survey, looking for a particular name I thought might be there. But I didn't see it.

The name I was looking for was of a childhood friend from my home town. His name was George and he had moved from Massachusetts down to Spartanburg South Carolina in our junior year of High School (to a town called Inman actually). He was my best friend and it made that last year of school drearier than it already inescapably was.

Things progressed; I went into the Navy and had (a not all-together conscious) working class outlook stamped on my psyche. Which years of college later on never undid. George went to Clemson and became a geologist. It was around this point that we lost touch with each other. Losing touch with things and people could be regarded as my life's work, I excel in it. I knew he transferred from U. Alabama at Tuscaloosa to U. Mass Amherst midway through graduate School. He did this while my younger sister Susan was going to school there. I had the impression that after completing school he moved to either New Hampshire or Vermont. Whether I knew this for a fact or whether it just seemed a very reasonable guess I could't say.

It did not seem reasonable to suppose he would have nothing to do with an organization like the Vermont Geographical survey, so I went on to their website Vermont Geological Survey. You can see the map that caught my attention as a thumbnail link in the upper right hand side. I went methodically through all the Links on the left hand side navigation pages until i did turn up a document he had co-authored with them in the Stream Geomorphology section.

I forget the exit trail I followed from there, but soon I was on the website of Vermont's Norwich University Norwich is actually a military school, while George was not a military person, his father a mechanical engineer who worked most of his life with Drapers a loom manuactuer had been in the army during the war and a colonel in the Massachusetts reserves. I found George in the Geology Department faculty section Our Faculty and Staff | College of Science and Mathematics: Geology and saw further that each faculty member had an individual spotlight page for themselves. Here he had written a small testimonial about why he became a geologist. He talked about the hometown Holliston that he and I both came from. He gave tribute to teachers I also knew, and in Mr. Tosti's case had as a teacher as well. I was struck and humbled by this quiet affectionate tribute to these mentors and educators. I still remember our class field trip to Cape Cod and Mr. Tosti's passionate environmentalism.

I have never written about Holliston in all the years I've run this weblog. I feel guilty in this and wrong as well. I liked most of the years I lived there growing up, and most of the people. It was a quiet rural town that became suburban to Boston in the great boomer flood of the sixties. If, in the last teenage years i lived there it seemed empty and claustrophobic, that wasn't Holliston's especial fault. I note that George has moved on to New England's eternally existent frontier.

I write about my years in the Navy, but not my years at college (or really any of the years after). Not of the campus radio station; vortex of a strange avante-punk radicalism and horizon broadening awareness of American music subcultures. The Navy years I follow a tension between trying to give the experience, the places and people justice. I want to write with fine grain detail and even with dramatic cast, through dimming memory. With the insight of a Joseph Conrad. And thre are readers for this. At the same time I don't want to fixate on a small period of the past when I was very young. I suspect, that if I could find a way to bring the thing off with my limited talent and tools - no one is less of a writer than myself. I would draw a line around the Navy years as an outlier let simple direct narrative tell for that. But let some set of stories, a controlled weave of fiction and observation shuttling back and forth speak for the rest.

11:35:28 PM    ;;

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.
Click to see the XML version of this web page.
Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
2012 P. Bushmiller.
Last update: 10/22/12; 9:50:43 PM.