What We Remember

As I stepped into the library of the Providence Journal this morning, I recognized a face from nearly 25 years ago. It was Brian Beaulieu, a copy editor who’s been working at the Journal ever since I left for Wyoming in 1981. We’ve had no contact since then, but maybe once a week I will find myself remembering how he used to always say, when someone mentioned the weather, “It’s nice out. I think I’ll leave it out.” We had a cup of coffee after I collected a sheaf of old stories I’d written. He recounted the hard years of the Journal’s downsizing, labor strife, people we’d known together who have died or moved to Florida. All the while I was looking at his brown eyes, big and dark and somehow French, and wondering where memories of eyes and faces and funny sayings live, deep in the mind. I also stopped by to say hello to Joel Rawson, managing editor of The Journal, who looked weary but hawkish and smart as ever, grumbling to himself as he read a story about crooked police in Rhode Island. The city has boomed since I’ve left. I am glad I spent four years here, and I am glad I left for the West.

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