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Return to the Campus

I entered the University of New Mexico in September of my 39th year.  Unlike at Hobart, I now had a somewhat clearer vision of my life after graduation: I would be a professional writer, penning novels, stories, or non-fiction, although I had no idea if and how I could make a living doing any of this.  Certainly, while at UNM, I would be determined to get an education: to attend all of my classes, read all of my assigned books, and enrich my life with ideas.  No more would there be distractions from drugs, rock music, political protests, and clumsy and unsatisfying attempts to lose the millstone of my virginity.  (I was now comfortable in my manhood and I hadn’t smoked marijuana since leaving Denver.)

Even before becoming a UNM student, I was no stranger to its campus.  I married there; I heard ecologist Paul Ehrlich and New Mexico novelist Tony Hillerman speak there; I heard Itzhak Perlman perform Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, one of the few classical works I know by heart, in the college’s concert hall. 

The pueblo-revival style that I first noticed in the university’s buildings that front Central Avenue abounded throughout the campus.  It was on particularly impressive display at Zimmerman, the campus’s multi-storied main library.  Such architecture was so much softer than the right-angled brick and stone of Hobart’s.  The structures suggested the warmth, ease, and peace, the poco tiempo, of a village in 19th-century “New Spain.” The campus was attractively landscaped, with paths winding beneath majestic trees offering welcome shade against the still-formidable heat of central New Mexico’s September.