THE BOOKS THAT BIND US
In the spring of 1999, while I was recovering from breast cancer, a friend lent me copies of The New Yorker. I chanced upon a small ad with the headline “Great Books and Opera in Toronto.” I called the number listed and spoke to someone at St. Michael’s College about a program based on the Great Books called “Classical Pursuits.” I signed up right away for a week-long discussion of Dante’s Inferno.
On the second day of the course, I was chatting with a couple, Brian and Kathleen, who had completed their undergraduate degrees at U of T and had returned to the university in August 1968, the month after I left, so Brian could pursue a PhD in English literature.
We began to play, “Who do you know?” When I mentioned the name of an old friend with whom I had lost touch, Brian and Kathleen exchanged a meaningful glance. By sheer coincidence my old friend Danny was in Toronto that week with his wife – and they, along with another old classmate, Doug, were staying with my new friends!
I spent a beautiful summer night that week in a backyard in Toronto, talking with old friends and new about the things that matter most in life: books, poetry, philosophy and politics. I now come to Toronto each summer to participate in Classical Pursuits, and to spend time with a wonderful group of people.
Thomas Wolfe once wrote a book called You Can’t Go Home Again, but he was talking about North Carolina, not U of T.
Kathryn Ruth Bloom
FROM AIX TO OTTAWA
While backpacking through Europe in 1979-80, I met up with a number of U of T students who were spending their third year abroad studying in Aix-en- Provence in France. One of them was Joanna Provan, whom I had never actually met at U of T. We had a great time, and got together in Toronto when the year was over. She moved out west after graduation and we lost touch until about five years later, in Ottawa. I was walking toward the West Block on Parliament Hill when Joanna suddenly appeared. She had moved to Ottawa from Calgary with her boyfriend and found a job working for a Saskatchewan MP. Joanna and I stayed close for a few years, until she married and moved back west – but not before she’d introduced me to my future husband! Her firstborn is my godchild – and now almost ready for university herself.
BA 1982 Victoria
THAT SHRINKING FEELING
My second job out of university was at the Canadian Bankers Association. My colleague Timothy Gregg sat an arm’s length away from me, and every so often we would chat about the places we liked to go, the things we liked to do and the people we liked to see.
When Tim learned that I’d attended University of Toronto at Scarborough, he asked whether I knew “David,” but was quick to dismiss the possibility that our paths had crossed. “David Tait?” I asked.
Tim sat in stupefied silence as I described how David – who happened to be Tim’s childhood friend from Burlington, Ont. – had been my soccer coach for U of T intramurals. We’d hung out at the UTSC pub and the “java junction” together. After graduation, David returned to Burlington to pursue studies at McMaster University while I stayed in Toronto. David and I had lost touch until Tim and I discovered the connection. Now, when Tim and I are married later this year, David will be a guest at our wedding.
BA 1998 UTSC
Add your own story of reconnecting with old U of T friends in the comment box below
By bringing artificial intelligence into chemistry, Prof. Aspuru-Guzik aims to vastly shrink the time it takes to develop new drugs – and almost everything else