Monday, July 20, 2009

Frank McCourt

A million years ago, maybe in the summer of 1996, I went to Baja Mexico with Melissa. We spent our first full day there in La Paz where we walked around the market in a jet lag daze and ate fish tacos and stared out at the Gulf and settled in by the pool to get ready for the start of a road adventure next day. (We are, neither of us, the best of drivers.) That first day I opened up The New Yorker and read something by Frank McCourt. It was an excerpt from Angela's Ashes and I turned to Melissa and said, "Have you read this?" She not only said she had but she also said that McCourt had been her English teacher. I was blown away by this. A real person, a teacher, a high school English teacher, could spin this web that I'd just come out of -- and not only an English teacher, but the teacher of my friend? It felt to me like a very New York kind of moment, and it's why I've always associated McCourt and Angela's Ashes with that pool at La Perla in La Paz. Funny.

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