Friday, February 15, 2008

The memory of spaces

It is an odd thing when a massacre occurs in a place you know well. Not only Northern Illinois University or the town of DeKalb in general -- where I spent four years as an undergraduate -- but also more specifically Cole Hall, where yesterday's shooting occurred.

I don't want to over-do my connection to this event: after all, it's been a while since I graduated, and I'm now thousands of miles away. But I know well -- and spent many hours in -- the room where it occurred. I can still vividly recall a wonderful film studies course held there and rather less wonderful (and somewhat torturous) statistics class.

The building is adjacent to the one in which the history department is located, so for my entire time at NIU I'd walk through it on a daily basis.

The Cine Club would show its films there, making it the place that I was first introduced to European cinema.

So the video images from the snow covered campus have had a strange effect somewhere in my brain, dredging up a lot of memories. Most of them quite happy: DeKalb, though I'd never have thought it at the time, is the kind of place you later can feel nostalgic about.

My thoughts go out to the students and staff, and especially those directly affected.

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