Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I drove through downtown St. Paul this afternoon with tears running down my face. It has been sooooo long since I have wept in the car.
I took this picture at the end of this winter, high on the bluff in Indian Mounds Park overlooking St. Paul and the Mighty Mississippi. Today, the same scene is incredibly green.
St. Paul is full of memories. The tall building in the middle with the "little spire" is the First National Bank Building and that spike is actually a big red numeral ONE that is lighted at night. That is the building in which Tom worked for the last 15 years of his career as an attorney.
The high rise building, just in front of the First Bank Building and towards the River, is Kellogg Square - the place where Tom and I met. The First National Bank Building and Kellogg Square are connected by a skyway over Fourth Street.
I rented an apartment on the seventeenth floor; a one-year lease to consider my options after having just sold my suburban home. Tom had lived in the townhouses, at Kellogg, for several years following the end of his 30-year marriage. He loved to joke about his "commute" to work.
Each summer, Kellogg Square sponsored a Party for residents. It was held on the mid-roof deck near the tennis courts - live music, open bar, and food in the party room. After I moved into my apartment, everytime I saw the leasing agent (she was like a cruise director) she asked if I was going to come to, "the deck party!" Finally, out of self defense, I paid my $20 - I had no intention of going.
The night of the deck party, I came home, changed my clothes, fed the cat, poured a glass of wine and prepared to hand-sign 1,000 fundraising letters - I was an Executive Director of a nonprofit at that time. Of course, being on the tennis court side of the building - I could hear the live music. Finally, I kicked my own butt - "what are you an old maid with your cat and single glass of wine?" "Go meet some of your new neighbors." So, I put on my running shoes and took the elevator downstairs.
When I got to the deck, I went to the nearest bar to get a wine. Suddenly, I heard, "Yooo - Whoooo - Suzann, Suzann" - it was the Cruise Director and she was sitting at a huge table right behind me. "Come and sit right here," she said, patting the empty chair next to her. "OK everyone, this is Suzann - she is new in 1735 - introduce yourselves!" There must have been twenty people around the table.
"Hi, I'm Ken." "I'm Rose in 1352." And round and round we went. When we got to the person sitting next to me on my left - "Hi, I'm Tom Murray and I live in the townhouses."