Joan Didion, the celebrated writer, went to Columbia Elementary School for awhile. The old building, made of red sandstone (as well as I can recollect), not the modern version that occupies the lot these days. I have been drunkenly reading her work, admiring the western cleanness, the spare and unsentimental way she captures the world, my world, the west. I was electrified to read her casual mention of the school, a brief sojurn while her father worked at Petersen Field, and even though I now wish to find the exact reference, I can’t. It was small and not very important.
Is is important to me, however, because I went to Columbia Elementary School, too, back when it was a tall, graceful building with long double hung windows. I, too, am a writer. I remember my classroom on the first floor, the western side of the building, where the teacher had hung squares of construction paper with the names of colors written on them. Orange. Brown. Red. Yellow. It seemed I could own those colors by knowing their names, leash them with letters. Mine!
Did Joan Didion sit in the same chair ….Read the rest of this post