David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Trail of Years

May 22, 2016

I have just returned from a trip to Morgantown, my birth place, and home for 24 years.  While I know I will still have reasons to return to my hometown and my alma mater, this trip definitely represented that overused word "closure."  The West Virginia University Department of Physiology and Pharmacology held a tribute for my mother and father, who was chair of Pharmacology for almost 35 years and faculty member at WVU for close to 40 years. 

I have many wonderful thoughts related to this tribute and of seeing devoted family friends, both of my parents and of me, but usually both.  I know I can't do justice to capturing those emotions. 

However, as I wove around the way-too-narrow, windy, often steep roads of Morgantown, as well as sped up and down I-79 between Pittsburgh and Morgantown as I came in and left, I soon came to see my travels as a trail of years.

Trail of Years*

Starting is as easy as 1-2-3:

It's 123 Jackson Avenue --

The white three-story home that welcomed me

Back in April of 1962.

The front privacy fence has long been gone;

I noticed that disappeared long ago,

But a postage stamp patio and lawn,

Are evidence of what we do outgrow.

Valerie's brick-house appears closer too

Than I remember as the neighbor child.

No space for a kiddie car fit for two.

Lockerbie leaving much unreconciled.

Turned the bend from Jackson to Maple

Wanting to see the house with the great view,

That made grad school life a tad more stable

And proximity to a girl a coup.

(I suppose I better let up right here

In linking my trail to failed pursuits

Of lovely women I longed to be near.

Maple can serve for all that constitutes.)

But it seems that house was now empty lot.

I am not sure how that could come to be.

It's the Listravia "house" that should not

Still be called suitable residency.

No need to pass Listravia gawking;

No one wants to see their college abodes.

Bars, however, justify the talking

And stories the kids hear by the boatload.

Alas, there is no Sunnyside no more,

They tore down what students never burned.

Instead we regard new buildings galore,

And no signs of where my car overturned.

I sped out of town up 79,

Reliving so many trips to the 'burgh:

Pirates games, airport scenes, and that one time

The Liberty strip even was the urge.

Humming along I can not quite recall

How many times on this god-awful route

My travels cut short when fate would befall

And that junker car would simply give out.

Ultimately the Ohio toll road

Takes me safely from the past to present.

I know it is time to dump my whole load

And focus only on what is pleasant.

* Forgive the alternating italicized stanzas.  The stupid program associated with this blog won't let me space between stanzas.