Relying on the Food Network app to keep us fed, we picked Elmo’s Diner on 9th Street for breakfast. Traditional southern stuff, I had eggs, pancakes and grits. How is it I never discovered grits when I lived in Durham? Were they served in the dining halls? Dunno. We then started at East Campus and drove along Campus Drive. We stopped briefly at 314 Anderson Street, my senior apartment. It was a perfect location, 10 minute walk through the Duke Gardens to West Campus. Walking through the gardens every day was wonderful. We followed visitor parking to the garage behind the Bryan Center. First stop was the Chapel. To me, and probably most Dukies, the Chapel is the symbol of the university. I always loved how it looked different every time you saw it, depending on the light and sky. I rarely went in when I went there, I only remember a prayer service when the hostages in Iran were released. But it is a beautiful neo-gothic church, resembling much of what we have seen in Europe. And I took a look at the James B. Duke statue. As a senior, I made sure to sit on the base in the sun, just to enjoy the moment. Next was strolling a short distance down the quad to my freshman dorm. It is mind boggling that 70 freshmen men got to live in the best located dorm on campus. That first year was perhaps the most impactful year of my 3.5 on campus. Meeting people from around the country, especially Southerners was an education.And my dorm was right on the first floor, overlooking the main quad. I think I got a great deal on that room rent. We then walked through the rest of the residential quads on West to Cameron Indoor. The short distances reminded me how small Duke was, at least when I went there. A pull on the front door, and we were in! The women’s volleyball team was practicing, but we were able to wander around and take pictures to our heart’s delight. There were no national championship banners when I was there. Coach K arrived my sophomore year, and we had the worst records Duke has had in forever. But the beginnings of the dynasty were there. Plus, I got to see Ralph Sampson, Albert King, Buck Williams, Michael Jordan, James Worthy, the list goes on and on. And that was just our opponents. Too bad what has happened to college basketball. The ACC as an 8 team league was perfect. I wish two things were different when I was at Duke. I wish the Internet existed, so I could have learned about Art Heyman while I was there. Second, I wish I had lied when people asked me if we were related. I might have had a better time, certainly would have gotten better treatment. Back into the Bryan Center to look around the bookstore, and then we were off. We drove straight back, except for hitting one more place. We stopped in Richmond at the Village Cafe. It wasn’t particularly special, but we could check another place off. Back on 95, traffic as we approached DC, picking up Colby and we were home. It was a great trip, even with only 4 days. Charleston was perhaps more impressive than I had expected. The history that is there is so rare in this country, to go back so far and to preserve and revere the past. Will definitely look to get back and spend a little more time.
February 18, 2013
Returning To Duke, 30 Years Later