Before I begin, in 2018, I realized that this one year
in my life, the entire year, life turned inside out.
Going overseas to live for two years was one thing,
but meeting two important and now-famous people
was significant for this year of 1961.
Margaret Mead, the cultural anthropologist, gave a
lecture at the University of Pennsylvania in
Philadelphia, where I attended college for a while.
I forget the content but remember shaking her’hand
on the way out — I emulated her. I was fascinated
on the numerous languages, cultures, theories,
visits Ms Mead had encountered: she simply was
about her work, and not greeting a fan club.
That was early 1961: I lived at Mrs.
Murphy’s boarding house and met Judy K
an architect there. I had an overnight fling too.
I also took the train to New Hope for therapy
classes with Doc Ward and Suzanne. Mrs.
Murphy fed us. The phone was in the hallway.
One night, Judy K called me to the phone
unexpectedly. It was my father. Quite
unusual–I talked my mother often.
He said, “Do you want to come with us
to Istanbul?” Huh. Flabbergasted,
I said dutifully, “Sure.” When?
June we pack up. After my classes.
I couldnt sleep at all that night? Where
was Istanbul? I was nineteen.
Then, James Baldwin, the black writer,
came into my life.