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Retrieval of the Day - De File — LiveJournal
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Retrieval of the Day
I may be able to see my friend Leanne, her husband Adam, and their two boys when we're in D.C. next week. They live in Northern Virginia, so it's a little far for us to go there or for them to come to my parents. But I've broached the possibility of meeting at the Smithsonian.

Anyway, in the honor of that hope, I'm posting my latest item from the archives. It's a postcard Leanne sent from Germany to our anarchist household at 984 57th Street in Oakland, addressed to "Charlie, Josh, Jim." The front is a black-and-white photo of police righting an overturned police van. The postmark can't be discerned, but the date in the note -- written the European way -- indicates that the card was written on October 4th, 1990.

After graduation in the spring, Leanne and her friend Alicia got ready for a long trip through Europe. I don't remember when they left precisely, but they were gone almost all of the fall semester. They came to pick me up from Sue Schweik's Honors class the day that Rachel Myrow and I were giving our presentation on Marxist literary theory, walking in right as I finished talking and making me very happy indeed. Here's the text:
Dear Charlie, Josh, and Jim,
Well, Alicia and I have already been in berlin a week and it is definitely my favorite place so far. We've had a lot of luck and lucky circumstances in terms of hooking up with people to stay with. For the last couple of days we've been hanging out with Mike E. and he arranged for us to stay in the squat where he's staying. The long awaited reunification was yesterday and people expect the cops to move in on the squats sometime soon. But it's a pretty solid, heavily supported and large community. To "celebrate" 3-10-90 we marched in a demo of about 10,000 people. Heavy stuff and fun!!! Love and miss you all,
Rereading Leanne's note after all these years brought back vivid memories of the political crowd I hung out with as an undergraduate. I never felt like I truly belonged. And I experienced considerable class anxiety in the midst of all those fashionably distressed Beverly Hills High graduates in the anarchist scene. But Leanne always made me feel at home, never more so then when I was mourning the end of my relationship with Annalee and generally in a very dark space. That period went from August until the end of October in 1989, so this postcard was from one year later. So much had changed though, since I was deeply involved with Kim and doing well in school again, largely as a consequence of not being miserable.

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From: (Anonymous) Date: November 30th, 2003 05:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I never knew you were in Sue Schweik's Honors class. I have a complicated history with her that I won't air publicly. Maybe I told you already. But I think I recall her talking about that honors class. She always enjoyed the undergrads more -- as I do! She directed my master's thesis, which was a "reading" of Jamaica Kincaid's *Annie John*. I wrote a traditional thesis for about 20 pages, then broke into a transcript of 9 women recalling how the third chapter made them feel about their mothers, then analyzed their self-analysis. Or something. I had tape recorded all of the sessions with these women. It was very second-wave feminist, very psychoanalytic object-relations in a now-to-be-mocked Nancy Chodorow sort of way. Remember Nancy Chodorow? Janet A used to adore her. I lost the master's thesis. Of course I don't have a copy of my PhD thesis either, and only one copy of my book. How that must make you crazy! You said YOU would archive the notes from my book, which of course I threw away after you left my office. You might wonder what I have actually KEPT. I have the outfit we took Elliot home from the hospital in, but I let Alice put it on her doll and found it in the yard the other day -- the dog had eaten part of the sleeve. David points out that I have that rocking chair in the front hall that I got over thirty years ago in a vacant lot near Forestville, California. I had some jeans from 1978 but I sold them to Buffalo Exchange and made $30!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 30th, 2003 05:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


There are obviously MANY disadvantages to saving so much stuff. It becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish the truly special from the not-so-special. But maybe that's the point of the whole exercise. I feel like I've been saving these things while waiting for the day when I would use them to provoke writing, at which point they would be less significant as artifacts.

The Sue Schweik class was in the fall of 1990, obviously. She was pregnant with Emma, so Julia Bader took over both sections in the spring, much to our chagrin.

I really enjoyed the theory-of-the-week format, but maybe that's because I already knew a lot about theory.

Leanne really enjoyed Sue's H.D. 150 seminar, as did our friend Priscilla.

Incidentally, Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows was in that class too. The lyrics on their first album consisted almost entirely of lines from 20th century American poets that had been singled out by his Berkeley profs, especially Schweik and Breslin.

I never had a falling out with Sue per se, but did kind of drift away. She got really mad at something we published in Bad Subjects after Breslin and Nestrick died. We meant it respectfully, but she didn't take it that way.

Apparently, there was some sort of rift, after Breslin's death, between her and the people with whom he had regularly consorted in the "Friday Group," which woudl have been meeting at the Santa Fe Bar and Grill on University (down around Sacramento) back then. I know Carolyn Porter, Mike Rogin, Richard Hutson and his new/second wife Kathy Moran were part of the crew.

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