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Residency Day 1: Setting

Wilkes-Barre is renowned for being a totally blue-collar city.   It feels a little like Pittsburgh: universities surrounded by middle class & slums.  A lot of queerly frightened white people.

And I am getting sick with nostalgia for proper city living.

I got here a touch early, and the first person I met was Dr. Culver, the program director.  She is nothing like I pictured, but hugged me straight away.  Then I met a guy named J.C.  I will save my questions about a potential Messiah complex for workshop.

Here’s the view from my little apartment (which is like a glorified dorm suite with a proper kitchen and a full bathroom.  It’s slick).

Here’s another view:

And here’s the funny little balcony.

And here’s a bit of nostalgia.

For the first 18 years of my life, my dad was self-employed.  He had some kind of business relationship with a guy who owned a building & business in Wilkes-Barre, PSC or Petroleum Service Company.  People here say “Wilkes Bear Uh.”  Or “Wilkes Bear.”  Dad says, “Wilkes Berry.”  So it was kind of a big deal to get to go with dad to “Wilkes Berry.”

Once, maybe twice, dad brought me here visit this cat called Ron Sims (the one who owned PSC). He had a Merry-Go-Round horse in his office, and who also owned some kind of staging company.  Mountain Productions, I think?  Anyway, this was in the hey-day of New Kids On The Block (oh gawd), and Ron Sims gave me a spent backstage pass.  I was 8, and I had no clue, and so I said to my dad, “Don’t you have to go to a concert to use it?”

What I remember is the pained look on my dad’s face.  My ignorance and disappointment hurt his feelings, you know, on my behalf. He wasn’t sure how to break my little heart while still making me understand that the dude was giving me a cool present.  If he were me, he would’ve blogged about it later. I don’t remember what he said, but he explained the concept of collector’s items and memorabilia.

I put the backstage pass (which was this crazy fluorescent green fabric-covered square of poster paper) in my desk in my room where it stayed until I didn’t care anymore, and the New Kids were fuzz on the cultural horizon.

Here is a picture of the setting of that memory, the PSC building.  I took this picture across the parking lot for the Family Dollar and thrift shop where I went to buy toilet paper and the tooth brush I forgot.

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4 comments on “Residency Day 1: Setting

  1. Glad to know you are there, April. 8-) I hope you are happy and enjoy the program. Keep us informed–not that you wouldn’t! If there’s one thing we writers do, is keep readers informed.

  2. In Barre, Vermont, they pronounce it Barry. So whenever I’ve seen Wilkes-Barre in your posts, I’ve mentally said Wilkes-Berry. But before I knew someone who lived in Vermont, I would have looked at that and thought “bar,” like a ballet barre. So! Wrong all the way around, I am! :)

    Just a little bit of nothingness for your commentary… :)

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