I’m in town, the direct message on Facebook said. Would you have time to meet for lunch?
You betcha, Brandt Ranj. I sent back a suggestion of Applebee’s, across Erie Boulevard from where we used to meet twice a week in that Le Moyne College classroom the fall semester of 2010, when I taught eager sophomore Ranj and a dozen of mostly upperclassmen the most I possibly could pass on as a first-time adjunct professor in the new course Music Journalism.
I had fun those 15 weeks, once I got past that shock in the first class. I spilled my guts in my introductory speech, went through the syllabus I’d carefully constructed, typed, copied and passed out and looked at the clock to find … oh, a half-hour to go in the 75-minute time slot. OK, everybody, turn to your neighbor, interview them and write your first story of the semester. You may be called upon to read it out loud.
At the end of our journey, I invited them all to keep in touch. I meant it. I told them how I still talked to Neal Bandlow, one of my professors at SUNY Morrisville in the 70s — ancient history.
Happily, I still run into Ashley Casey, now a reporter at the Eagle Newspapers here in her hometown of Syracuse, every now and again, and we’re Facebook friends and LinkedIn connected.
Brandt, though, he went back down to his parents’ house on Long Island, from which he came to study in upstate New York. Just like I did all those decades ago. Before graduation, before he tried his hand out on the west coast, in May 2013, he took me up on that invitation, and we met for lunch at the Brooklyn Pickle.
Now he filled me in that he had just started a new marketing job with a cool company in SoHo. No, he wouldn’t be able to afford to move from his parents’ on Long Island right into Manhattan quite yet. Or even into avant-garde Brooklyn. But soon he would be moving to Queens. Cool, I told my student. He turned me on to the music of Courtney Barnett, a new favorite of his. I listened, to his words and ideas and optimism. He’s growing up quite nicely.
When we left, I asked him to stop so I could snap his photo with my iPhone 6. “I want to chronicle your maturation,” I said.
“Like the pencil marks next to the door,” he said with a smile.
Right on with the musical suggestion, Brandt.
Who’s invited you to lunch lately, and what did you talk about? Who’s suggested music to you lately, and who was it and what did you think? I had a lunch combo of French onion soup and The American BLT and didn’t much like the sandwich because of a nasty chipotle sauce. What do you expect to get on your American BLT?