Belated Blog from Bishop-Favrao

Sitting in my office in Bishop-Favrao Hall for one of the last times. I can see the golfers out on the campus course, the ridgeline separating Blacksburg from Radford, and contrails crossed in the sky. The jet contrails are a crossroads in the sky. I think I’m past the crossroads, having made the decision to move to College Station, Texas and become a faculty member in Architecture at Texas A&M.

I’m walking around Blacksburg with familiar eyes, trying to see and remember those things that are really great here. The Drillfield, the clearly defined street spaces of the little downtown, flowers, mountains, fireflies…this really is a nice place this time of summer.

True, you don’t see the heat and humidity, you feel it. Loading our PODS unit for the move, Linda and I would be wiped out in under an hour of packing, retreat the the air conditioning to dry out, then reform for the next push of an unwilling mattress (it was almost like it didn’t want to leave) and the next pile of twenty-year life-debris to sort, save, box, tape, pack and tie down.

During this move I found some things I had lost. A house design for my friends Doug and Sue, Maggies first watercolor painted with a one dollar kit from the counter at Mish-Mish on an envelope from a hotel in Martinsville during my first research presentation back in 1988. Erin’s fimo model of our dog dixie, (who will stay at rest in the yard along with unnamed goldfish) and a really big shark tooth from the James River.

I spent a half day moving through the house and yard picking up shells from the garden to take along, trying to pack delicate models of scaffolding Kirk Morphew suffered through making as a student, finding old plastic models Mom and I never had a chance to build. Memories everywhere.

It’s hard to know if the transplant of memories will convert Brook Hollow into home. I think it won’t feel like home until we’re all sitting around a table…the table…deciding who will have the honor of carving the perfect cylinder of cranberry sauce to formally commence Thanksgiving. I’m hoping we’re all together for that. Then Texas might feel like home.

I’m looking forward to drawing in the big room at Brook Hollow, and retreating to the little office to read, and maybe getting back on the horse and buying a table saw (my finger still isn’t quite the same, I hope Jim Garden has better luck with my old saw) to make tables for my daughter’s homes. I found bits and parts of projects I didn’t build like the lamps turned from aluminum conduit. They got way too hot with the halogen lamps available when I was building them, but I think I’ll retool with LED lamps, much cooler.

Moving and adapting the fragments from my life in Blacksburg is already starting to make me think of little project ideas. How to use the terra cotta droplet from Ron Grimm? Maybe with the polished cubes from Benny Dubbs and an LED? I think that’s a sign that I’m looking forward to it. Kind of the same as my watery eyes tell me that I’m not anxious to leave the people I work with here in Building Construction at VT.

Take Care, next post from Brook Hollow!

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