Lancaster (Usa/Pennsylvania) - April 29. Today we're in the heart of the Amish colony. The Amish live like they did three hundred years ago. They cultivate their land, use no electric power and no cars, dress in dark clothes they make themselves and wear long biblical beards. They are very religious. They move around by horse and buggy, with just one sign of modernity, one that almost looks derisive: the triangular reflector, without which they wouldn't be allowed on the roads. I got to know them well, in the five years I spent here in Lancaster some twenty years ago.
I start running by the campus of my Alma Mater, Franklin and Marshall College, founded in 1787. My throat feels choked. It's eight a.m. on a Sunday. The students are fast asleep. I enter the campus by the football court. Here's the old track with the same old billboard:
I remember when the home team was ahead and we hailed... or when it was behind, perhaps losing to a "lesser" college. Then we would scream our frustration, and our meanness as well: "It's alright, it's okay / You will work for us someday!"
I'm on Hartmann Green. The College Center is by my left side. Would I still remember the combination of my mailbox? Maybe. I never really learned it by heart, I just turned the knob to the left, then to the right, then again left and it always opened somehow. In front of me I see Dietz Hall and remember a girl I used to know. I see it's no longer called Dietz Hall. They changed the name. I don't like that. Schnaeder Hall is to the right. That's where I lived in my freshman and sophomore years. All the dorms are built out of red bricks, in the tradition of American campuses. I'm running toward Schnaeder and I'm chasing lots of squirrels away. I look at the window of room number 111 and think of my roommate Seth. He's a doctor now, we're still friends. I walk through the dorm, even though I think I'm probably not supposed to. Thanks to running I still occupy the same volume as back then. But I have a few wrinkles and a lot of grey hair. Running keeps you young, but up to a point.
I take the small exit downstairs. On the branches of that tree, on December 8, 1980, there was a roll of toilet paper. It was streaming gently in the wind, like a flag at half mast. It was late in the evening and the radio had just announced that John Lennon had stopped living. I was in my sophomore year.
Marshall-Buchanan Hall, where Amy used to live before I knew her. I remember a few summer nights when "mother battles" would erupt quite suddenly. "Schnaeder!!!" - screamed someone from Buchanan all - "Your mother's like a bus. You pay when you get off". "Buchanan" - one of us would retort - "How come nobody's been on your bus for the past fifteen years?!" All battles started like this and sometimes degenerated into water fights or worse. Sometimes Security had to intervene so that things wouldn't get out of hand.
I'm on Race Avenue. That house brings memories... it still looks the same from outside, but Marina is long gone. I wonder what she's doing now... I'm running on a five-mile loop I sometimes ran on even back in my College days. Baker's Field... the Astronomy lab... hockey and lacrosse. In the second semester of my freshman year I had taken a keen interest in women's hockey... now I'm running along Harrisburg Pike and everything looks the same as it did. Strange, in the ever-changing United States!
Here's something different. The passage from Baker's Field to the woods is chained. "Property of Franklin and Marshall College. No trespassing". There's also something about a Pennsylvania law #3052 but I'm sure it doesn't apply to an alumnus from Italy. "No forbidding" I think as I cross the Rubicon. It sounds a bit sixtyish, but it soothes my conscience even now. Anyway, this place belongs to my memories. This is where I sometimes ran and often walked, alone or with friends. Amy and I sat right here by the creek the first time we went out. We drank white wine, Cortese di Gavi, and I played guitar.
I'm crossing the main campus again. Here's the Green Room Theater. Great talents came from here. Franklin Schaffner '52... Treat Williams '73... There's Stahr Hall, where I had my troubles with Calculus. And, finally, Old Main, straight from the Benjamin Franklin days.
Dulcis in fundo I run down James Street. Just a few blocks, to number 510. This is where I met Amy, on this same day eighteen years ago. We've been together ever since and we're here today to celebrate our coming of age.
Giorgio Pogliano’s morning coffee doesn’t come in a cup, but he can still find it everywhere. Running each morning is his daily “coffee” – it gives him the surge of energy, something good to reflect upon during the day, and a reason to look forward to tomorrow. Just like the different types of coffee found around the world, Giorgio finds different surroundings as he runs.