86 days

The only work I’ve done on the symphony is to listen to it on the way to Valdosta and back. More about that in a minute.

Imagine, because although I took several photos I have no way of getting them off my phone: if your phone can email, send me your phone number, please!, a large, glamorous resort hotel. Tall, white, red-tile roofing, sweeping majestically around a huge courtyard filled with trees and fountains, open at one corner, which is flanked by two imposing towers. It’s a lovely, elegant place.

Now imagine poor, poky Hopper Hall.

Where the courtyard is, is where Hopper Hall used to be.

Welcome to the new Hopper Hall. When I got to Valdosta, I drove by the campus first just to see what was in progress this year. Oak Street parking lot is now half under construction, meeting its destiny as a parking deck. But the shocker was Hopper.

It’s huge. It takes up the entire Hopper Circle footprint, all the way to the sidewalk, all the way to the Palms’ north wing. It fills the air like Hagrid is described as doing.

It is, as I’ve said, quite lovely, and it’s enormous. I’m sure we’ll get used to it, but it made me very sad.

I know most people will say good riddance to nasty old Hopper, but there is something about losing that small space, with its lawns and trees, and especially the large lobby where we all used to gather. You would think that the new bodacious building would have a magnificent lobby, but you would be wrong. All commons areas are small and on the floors.

Even though I only spent eight of my nineteen summers in Hopper, it still looms large in my memories. I guess that’s because it was the longest single stretch of summers, and the most recent. It might also be because I’ve formed some of my most enduring friendships in it, had some of the most entertaining times, photocopied some of the most interesting tattoos. I’ve celebrated people’s triumphs there and comforted them through some of their worst times. Nasty though it was, it was a kind of home.

It’s gone now, though.

In other news, we are also losing Georgia hall this summer: they’re replacing it with a six-story version, and with it we’ll lose the actual Langdale Circle. There will be effectively no vehicle access to the campus. So, you might ask, how the hell are we going to manage load-in? VSU is eagerly awaiting our solution, because they have no idea how they’re going to manage it either.

The kids, by the way, are going to be in Langdale and Patterson, the dorm next to Brown facing Patterson Street. I knew you were wondering.

In other, other news, the Old Gym will be closed down three weeks into the program, and work will begin on the massive new University Union. No, I don’t know where theatre is going to go.

So, lots to see and do in Valdosta this trip.

On the way home, there were several moments when I wished I had my camera with me. One was an interesting column, of all things, on an old corner bank building. On the corner entrance, there was a single columned portico, and the column was an oddly rusticated design: about a dozen roughly shaped blocks of marble or granite, simply stacked up. It was actually striking, and I couldn’t figure out the artistic impulse that would have placed it on this building in the middle of nowhere. (Probably the same impulse that has the aggressively nouveau/deco building plopped down in Adel.)

Another moment that I really wished I had a camera came in Lenox, Georgia. (I was traveling up Hwy 41 to avoid the traffic on I-75, as is my wont.) Imagine a small sandwich shoppe (and I do mean shoppe) across from the Coastal Plains RESA. It has rainbow umbrellas on its sidewalk tables, and the words on the building describing the fare are in colorful letters. Hmm, one is thinking to oneself, and then one sees the name of the shoppe: Sub Conscious.

Mercy.

This post is long enough. I’ll talk about the symphony some other time.

Posted in GHP

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