BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
A WEEKEND IN STATE COLLEGE, PENNSYLVANIA
On the weekend of March 7-9, 2009, my husband, Monte, and I headed to Pennsylvania State University at State College, PA. Monte, a former wrestler in high school and at Union College in Schenectedy, New York, had tickets for the Big Ten Wrestling competition at Bryce Jordan Center. He wore his Northwestern University (Chicago, Ill.) shirt and rooted for them. I accompanied him on this trip, and while he was at the wrestling competition, I went Christmas and birthday shopping.
Part 1 of this two-part article describes experiences at the Corner Room Restaurant, the Diner, and Schlow Library. Part 2 will be on the downtown parking garage, a conversation in a store, and a meeting with Arlene.
THE CORNER ROOM RESTAURANT
“Are you the Hollands?”
Monte and I were sitting in a booth at The Corner Room Restaurant in State College, Pennsylvania, on Saturday morning, waiting for the couple we had planned to meet there for breakfast. The last time we saw Keith and Edna they had said if we ever were in State College, where they lived, we should call them. That was close to ten years earlier, when we lived next door to their son and former daughter-in-law.
I had called Keith and Edna the day before, while traveling to State College. Their return message (which came on my cell phone, one that we didn’t turn on during our travel time) said they could meet for breakfast. I rephoned them from our motel room and made the arrangements.
And now they were asking us if we were the Hollands.
“Yes, we are,” we responded. “I guess we’ve changed in the passing years.”
It was worse than that. It turns out that this adventuresome couple agreed to meet us, in spite of the fact that they could not remember who we were. The husband said he knew when he saw us, but the wife needed a little more information about “these people” that she was sharing the breakfast booth with. After explaining about our being former neighbors to her son, they told us that they had never known our last names. Once the identifications were made, the four of us enjoyed conversing and catching up on the little we had experienced together
Later, while exploring the unique downtown area, I passed by the Diner. My daughter Sandy and son-in-law Michael were also traveling this weekend, and planned to stop at this diner on their way home, but by then we would be long gone from State College. Wanting to share their experience, I decided to visit the Diner. Sitting alone at a booth, enjoying a glass of orange juice and an English muffin, I came up with an idea.
I asked the waitress if she could do me a favor.
“My daughter and son-in-law will be stopping here tomorrow evening. I wonder if I could leave them a note that they can ask for.”
The waitress checked to see who would be on duty Sunday evening, and said they would hold the note. I wrote it out, put Sandy and Michael’s names on it and added a comment: “Can be tossed out on Monday morning.”
As I left the restaurant, my cell phone rang.
“Are you at the diner?” I was asked. It was Sandy, and I told her I had just left.
“I talked to Dad and he told me you were there,” she laughed.
I told her about the note, and returned to the diner—two doors away—to double check what waitress she should ask for. The waitress whom I was told would be there said she wouldn’t be there as late in the evening as Sandy and Michael would get there, but John would, and Sandy should ask for him.
“But we close at ten tomorrow evening,” she noted about the Diner that is usually open twenty-four hours. Penn State was on break, and there would be too little business to remain open all night.
Update: Unfortunately, Sandy and Michael were passing through the State College area too late to stop at the Diner. They will visit it at a future date.
Our first stop in State College was Schlow Memorial Library, the community library. They graciously allowed us to use the computers as facility guests, and we checked our e-mail and the location of some of the places in State College. The reference librarian also provided me with the e-mail address for a writing group that meets there.
After leaving the library we headed out to find a bookstore. Half way there, we realized that Monte’s cell phone was missing. We parked on the side of the street, and I pulled everything from my purse. No luck. I had to have left it by the library computer I was using, so Monte turned the car around and backtracked. The man sitting where I had been shortly before said he saw a man, who used the computer in the time between our use, take it to the desk. While waiting for the librarian, I joked with a woman standing there about my carelessness.
“It’s not been a banner day,” I noted. “This follows my leaving my suitcase at home, and discovering it after we had traveled a half an hour. We had to backtrack to get that, too.” (Just a note on the suitcase situation: when we discovered it hadn’t been put in the car, Monte asked me “Do you really need it?” Hmmm. Guess so, dear. We must go get it. This added one hour to our journey, and almost thirty-five miles.)
We returned to the library Saturday morning to use the computers. I told the librarian that in my off-beat day on Friday I had lost the e-mail address she had given me. She rewrote it for me, and I tucked it securely in my wallet. She wished me a better day.
To read Part 2 of this post click on A Weekend in State College, Pennsylvania: Part 2.