Friday, March 23, 2007

Chinese Food Interesting Memory Trigger

The International House at San José State University provided sleeping quarters for journalism interns for two weeks in summer 1997.

Last week I pulled up to the stop sign at Sunrise Point Road and Mission Road in Las Cruces, N.M. It made me think of a similar stop a decade earlier.

In May 1997, I packed up my white Pontiac Sunbird to head for San José, Calif. My dad was my travel partner as I headed out to participate in the center for editing excellence as part of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund internship.

Some of my college buddies had come by the house the night before and written farewell messages on the cars' windows. That gesture made it even more difficult to head out to California -- especially considering that my wife, Emily, was staying at NMSU for summer classes.

My dad and I drove to Bakersfield, Calif., that day and onto Modesto the next day. My actual internship was with The Modesto Bee, and I had to find an apartment before heading to San José.

It was one of many great road trips with my dad, but as always it was over too soon. I dropped dad off at the San José airport and headed over to San José State for my two week copy editing boot camp.

On the first day, we were given a stipend for food. We tried a lot of inexpensive restaurants in the eclectic neighborhood around SJSU. I found a little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant on San Fernando Street just a few blocks from Dwight Bentel Hall, our newsroom for the time being.

As tends to be my habit, I get into habits, and I must have eaten at that little place eight or 10 times during the two weeks. They served a great kung pao chicken with zucchini that I could never find after leaving the silicon valley.

Ten years later I am living in Lubbock, Texas. My life took many twists and turns during the past decade, most of which I could never have imagined while embarking on a journalism career 10 years ago.

One day over the winter, I heard my colleague Tom Johnson talking about Chinatown restaurant here in Lubbock. We tried it, and sure enough, they have what I would call San José-style kung pao chicken.

As you might surmise, that was on the dinner menu. When combined with last week's stop sign and today's chat with a student about graduation, I have been flooded with memories. It's been a great 10 years, and 1997 was a great summer. But the thought that comes up again and again is, "where in the world did 10 years go?"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The older you get, the faster they go. Sad, but true!

5:37 PM  

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