To the 5 Bank Street Community:
As Andy wrote eloquently last week, David Porter will be dearly missed by the Cather community. For a man who had achieved so much as a scholar, musician, and college president, he was an extraordinarily humble man. In conversation, he was always more interested in talking about what projects you were working on, what was happening in your life, than talking about himself. How poignant it was, then, to see David's letter below, which appeared in the latest New York Times Book Review. I know I speak for many in saying that I am grateful for having known David Porter and for the gift of his scholarship on Willa Cather
To the Editor:
Ada Calhoun’s review of Olivia Laing’s “The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone” (March 20) brought back my teenage encounter with New York City. During the summers of the ’50s my parents would head to Connecticut for the weekends, leaving me in charge of the cat and the apartment. I’d practice the piano until I was weary or frustrated, then head for a local bookstore or movie theater, but mainly I’d relish simply having the city to myself. I’d walk down Broadway to the New Asia Restaurant at 112th Street, where for 85 cents I could have shrimp with lobster sauce. After dinner I’d continue down Broadway enjoying the people I saw and the diverse neighborhoods through which I passed.
A few years later at Swarthmore College, when I read the Satire where Horace describes his daily delight in walking the streets of Rome, savoring their myriad fascinations, it all felt very familiar: “Quacumque libido est / incedo solus,” he begins: “Wherever I please, I go alone.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.