The Country Girl

The fall the Orioles won their first World Series, I was rooming off-campus with three other Towson State College freshmen in a three-story house on Evesham Avenue.  The Baltimore of the mid-1960’s was not as much ashamed of its heritage as unschooled in it, most Baltimoreans not knowing—or caring—that, under the shade of the trees at Loudon Park, Jackson and Lee in “unwearying bronze” still met on the eve of Chancellorsville.  By that time F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “civilized and gay . . . rotted and polite” old port was well on its way to morphing into Philadelphia.  As a product of the tobacco culture of Southern Maryland, I was homesick but still caught up in the novelty of living in a working-class urban neighborhood and thrilled by some aspects of the city, unsuspecting of its evils until almost too late.

Usually, I would ride the bus to classes, but I remember a few winter mornings when a couple of us would carpool with a fellow student who would swing by Evesham before sunrise on his way to the college.  Although his VW Bug had no heater, it did have a radio, and, despite the cold, my low spirits would lift as I listened to the Four Tops and the Rolling Stones on WCAO.  Lonesomeness and the feeling of being out of my element were almost gone by the time we saw the campus and the lights of the dining hall with their promise...

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