Friday, August 31, 2007

Last weekend I went down to Baton Rouge to see Beth and Steve,.

I left here Thursday afternoon after my hair appointment. I went by way of Memphis. It is interstate all the way.

I was disappointed to find that the Book Warehouse at the discount mall at Batesville has closed. That was the one place I always found good travel books like Frommer's guides.

I drove on and stopped for the night in north Jackson, Mississippi. I did not know that the Washington monument had been moved to central Mississippi, but there it is right along interstate 55. I later learned that it is actually a disguised cell phone tower. Seems there is also one around there that is in an artificial tree.

I stopped at a Quality Inn for the night. I walked up to a service station and got a sandwich and coke for supper.

I tried to call my friend Nancy Miller but did not get her until 9:30. I had not heard from Nancy in months but she is my friend that when I start talking to her it is as if I have been talking to her everyday.

I caught her up on my life. Her life has changed a lot. Ash, her son, still lives at home. His room is still an electronics junkyard. Her daughter Heather lives with her husband in Starkville and they are expecting a baby, a girl. Nancy will be a grandmother! The youngest child Lana is a senior in high school. She will be going to Alabama next year.

Friday I got up and was in Baton Rouge in just a few hours.

It was exciting to be on the interstate in Baton Rouge seeing the signs for familiar streets that I had not thought of in years: Acadian Thruway, Florida Boulevard, Highland Avenue.

I was so happy when I got off the interstate at Louise Street, then Terrace and a left turn , going south on Nicholson Boulevard.

That is when I started crying. I tried to pretend that George Rodney was waiting for me at our old apartment on the LSU campus.

Instead Beth and Steve were waiting for me, but I was sad that George Rodney was not with me.

They are in the first block of apartments after Nicholson passes through the gates of LSU. They are on the second floor on the end towards Nicholson.

Beth's apartments are always cute and this one is, too. She says that I give her too much credit, that a lot of the ideas are Steve's.

Beth's style is shabby chic. It suits their pocketbook, too. They have two white, tall bookcases, bought from WalMart, but the rest of their furniture is about evenly divided between second hand and picked up on the street.

They have a nice TV set they got off the street. The owners said they lost the remote so they bought a new set.

Many of Steve's paintings are on the walls and some that Beth brought from Starkville. Steve loves the huge, spreading live oaks on the LSU campus, and is painting the one right outside their apartment. It will hang in the kitchen over the stove.

On the walkway outside their door is a garden-like setting of their house plants. Steve has some golf equipment there and practices his putting among the plants.

The front section of their apartment is all glass.Their front door is sliding glass. Most people keep their curtains pulled but Beth and Steve keep their curtains open without loss of privacy since they are on the end.

In the early evening we went for a ride to see the campus. The campus is now closed by barriers during the day so there is no car traffic but we could drive through at night. First we stopped at chemical engineering. I was surprised to see that they are in the same building as they were forty years ago. However there is a large, bright, new ChE building connected to it. Out front is still the iron pot that Etienne de Bore used to first granulate sugar, an important event in the history of Louisiana.

While we were outside the ChE building peeping in, a campus security officer came by and stopped. We told him of our nostalgic journey and he opened the building for us. The inside of the old part looks the same just about. The lab on the first floor where George Rodney had his office is still the Polymer Lab as it was when he was there.

The department office used to be on the ground floor on the left. It is no longer there; probably moved to the new part. I noticed the name on the door of the office there; it is Louis Thibodeaux. I was surprised at that. He got his PhD the year before George Rodney did. I thought he had gone into industry. The only other familiar name I saw on the faculty list was Dr. Corropio. I don't think I ever met him but I heard about him. He was a graduate student who was generally judged to be a genius. No one thought of comparing themselves to him. He was above all the other candidates.

Then we went over to Beth's building and office. She says accounting is getting a new building but she will be gone by the time it is opened. The building they are in now looks pretty new to me.

Beth has a nice office that she shares with one other graduate student, although it looks like it was built for three. She has a few pictures around. One of her and Steve, and her "inspiration picture" which is of George Rodney and I on the LSU campus on the day he got his PhD. George Rodney is wearing his doctoral robe.

She has several of her calculus books on the shelves but in a closed cabinet are other math books such as Calculus for Dummies.

It is a cute office, very new, and very nice for a graduate student.

I slept on their couch. It used to be Laura Henderson's couch. I was very comfortable because when the back pillows are removed it is about the size of a twin bed.

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