Monday, August 25, 2003

Yesterday (Sunday) my partner and I drove up to York, Maine to visit a valued colleague and dear friend who used to live in the Boston area but decamped several years ago with her husband to the University of Chicago. He became vice-president and director of admissions and she eventually took over directorship of undergraduate Latin studies in the Classics department. They have a cottage right on the ocean, separated from a black basalt pebble and rock beach by 300 feet of wild flowers. The weather was spectacular and the location is beyond description.

She and I have co-directed and operated a summer study/travel tour to Europe for gifted high school Juniors and Seniors for over a dozen years. The last couple years, however, international conditions have not been conducive to parents putting their kids on planes to parts not unknown but known to be in the line of fire. The Balkan War scrubbed our Greek trips; and 9/11 and continuing unrest in the Mediterranean have done in our Italian and Spanish trips.

What we do is establish a center in whatever country we want to use as subject for the study. Talloires in the French Alps, the island of Spetses in Greece, a former monastery converted to a school in Rome, and a branch of the University of Granada in Spain have been centers for programs on Empires established in Europe, the Medieval Period in France, the Muslim Period in Spain, etc. There are two weeks of intensive study followed by a week travelling to historical sites and a couple of days at a resort at the end for play time. Some of our kids' lives have literally been changed by these summers. They take away with them a University of Chicago credit, letters of recommendation for use in college admission and, in some cases, friendships that have lasted a decade or more.

She served lobster salad for lunch and I had brought champagne as a hostess gift. We toasted past accomplishments and wished for better conditions in future. Late in the afternoon, we left for my partner's place via dinner at a good fish restaurant in Portsmouth, NH. Then to bed, to each other's arms and to lovely wake-up sex this morning

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