Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Memories of New Haven

Bernard, one of the Holy Cross Brothers, was providing spiritual direction to students at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale this year. I'm an alum of that great school, but in my days we didn't have the kind of strong relationship with OHC as a school that has developed in the years since Joseph Brinton took over as Dean. I'm really happy that the students have an opportunity to receive spiritual direction, and I know that Bernard has a real gift for that work.

Bernard also took the opportunity to learn about Yale and to enjoy the pleasures the University and city have to offer. His friend, Lewis Folden (also a Yale Alum) gave him a very nice tour that you can read about on Lewis' site.

Reading about their visit to New Haven makes me a bit nostalgic for the five years I spent I spent there (three for my degree and another two twiddling my thumbs waiting for ordination and then doing a CPE Residency). It's the longest time I've spent in one area since before High School!

I miss getting real Pizza like they make at Sally's or Pepe's. New Haven pizza has a cult-like following, check out the Wikipedia page on it if you don't believe me. Thin-Crust, wood-fired, not too cheesy.

I also miss a wonderful Turkish place, The Istanbul Café, that used to have Belly Dancing on Friday nights and even hosted occasional classes on Turkish cooking. They had an area where you could sit on the cushions on an elevated floor to enjoy your Meze. Now that I've been to Turkey, I'm sure I would enjoy it even more.

But it wasn't all just good food and grand buildings and the wonders of Yale. I worked in a homeless shelter at nights for a year and then later as a Hospital Chaplain. I also worked as a Personal Assistant to an African-American woman who was an advocate for various causes relevant to the urban poor in New Haven. Those experiences exposed to the underside on New Haven. One of the thing I did for her was research into her family history. I spent many hours in the vital statistics vaults in New Haven, Bridgeport, and other cities looking up old birth and death certificates to track her family all the back to slavery days. In the process I heard a lot of stories about what it was like to be black in New Haven now and in the past.

I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to go back to New Haven. Now that I have a close friend in Bridgeport I have a reason to be in that area, at least....


No comments: