I just couldn’t leave this thread undone. So here’s a synopsis
of my trip back home to Penn State, with the help from U2’s
Bono and his lyrics from the song title that gave this thread
On November 19th, I took a journey to re-visit my past,
knowing that my past, as I once knew it, was never going
to be the same. But I felt compelled to see for myself how
those changes would affect me…
"And you know it's time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light in the distance"
As I trekked up 322 and came upon Beaver Stadium…the
"Battleship Beaver" loomed larger than ever. But this once
symbol of strength and joy was now looked upon as the
shameful symbol of all that was wrong at Penn State.
"And you hunger for the time
Time to heal, desire, time
And your earth moves beneath
Your own dream landscape"
I stopped by the statue of Joe Paterno, still in its rightful place,
to see a smiling Joe with his finger pointing to the sky. It would
be a sad sight, knowing that that would be the only Joe Paterno
smiling in State College on this day. More haunting and troubling
were the words on the stone wall to the right of JoePa…“They ask
me what I’d like written about me when I’m gone. I hope they write
I made Penn State a better place, not just that i was a good football
"The city walls are all come down
The dust, a smoke screen all around
See faces ploughed like fields that once
Gave no resistance"
I hit the main part of campus, but most of the students had
left for Thanksgiving Break. Still, of those mulling around, they
seemed lost in their own world. Down College Avenue, I got a
similar feel for there were less "hi"s and more passers by.
"And we live by the side of the road
On the side of a hill
As the valley explodes
The land grows weary of its own"
One store sold really nice “Penn State” team sweatshirts for a
mere ten bucks. Picked up a “Track and Field” one for my sister
who competed for the Blue and White.
"Oh, oh, oh on borderland we run
And still we run
We run and don't look back"
I walked back on campus, and finally some familiarity came back
to bring me a smile as an Old Main squirrel came sprinting up to
me unafraid. And I walked past the Obelisk, and after all the school
had been through, it was still standing. Giving me hope that, yes,
there is still some innocence remaining at Penn State.
"I'll be there tonight I believe
I'll be there somehow
I'll be there tonight
As the sun dipped behind the buildings, I made my way past the
Paterno Library and headed east, landing in another familiar spot
to give me further comfort…The Creamery. Peachy Paterno was
still on the menu. The place was packed with smiling faces.
"Tonight we'll build a bridge
Across the sea and land"
After catching the end of the Penn State/Ohio State football game
at the HUB with a couple dozen other fans, I headed back west.
Stopping by the Nittany Lion statue, I saw more smiling faces of
adoring fans, including a wedding party there to take pictures.
"See the sky, the burning rain
She will die and live again
Finally, I entered Rec Hall for a women’s volleyball match and much
to my delight, it was the same as I remembered it when I graduated
from that glorious place 23 years ago. And despite the students being
absent, the crowd of five-thousand warmed the building and all the
Nittany Lion souls, as the Ladies pulled out a big win over Purdue.
"And your heart beats so slow
Through the rain and fallen snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light's in the distance"
I finished my day with a plate of stickies at The Diner. For all that has
changed, it was really nice to see that a lot has remained the same.
"Oh don't sorrow, no don't weep
For tonight, at last
I am coming home
I am coming home"
For those of you who have been away for far too long, it is now time to
come home and re-connect with Penn State. I am so glad that I did.