32 years ago, almost to the day of my book signing at the Hard Bean Cafe (9/20&21/14), a new friend–like family to me now, our shared mutual warts and all–picked me up in his mid-sized Oldsmobile as I waited on the steps of the yellow-brick building where I, a librarian starting out in my career, lived in a rent-controlled efficiency. We drove to Annapolis, a place I’d never been, and ate crab cakes in the Market House (the slave-trading market in an earlier, barbaric time), directly across the narrow road from what is now the Hard Bean Cafe. How strange that these 32 years later I happen to be living in Annapolis and about to sign my first novel where I once ate crab cakes so unconscious of my future relationship with the town.
13 years ago, the same friend and I walked down an eerily empty Connecticut Avenue in Washington, DC, on a beautifully sunny 9/12/01, our conversation one of gloom after the airplane bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon the day before.
Remembering the walk of 13 years ago reminds me of ones I took during the Vietnam War with my best friend in college as we contemplated what our personal worlds were coming to.
Time and place, the dimensions in which we travel–most often with no idea of where we’re going.
Photos below show Annapolis city dock and a road leading uphill from it. “Annapolis has the largest concentration of 18th-century architecture in the United States—including five of America’s finest Georgian mansions—all in a small urban area.” Historic Annapolis Foundation