A Young Writer’s Diary Entries From Late October, 1984


Saturday, October 20, 1984

4 PM. It’s been heaven to have a warm, cloudy Saturday all to myself, without even a single phone call. Living with Teresa doesn’t exactly make it easy for me to live a life of reflection, as I’ve gotten used to doing.

Sometimes I feel I have to steal moments just to write in this journal. Teresa can’t understand what being a writer is about because she has no discipline and doesn’t like being alone.

In contrast, I thrive in solitude and I have concrete goals – writing, of course, and my more immediate, short-term goal of learning about computers – that might lead somewhere.

Teresa doesn’t have a vocation. She doesn’t even seem to have a career or the prospects of one, though she’s full of constant talk about possible business ventures.

At this point, it will be impossible for her to find work in New York city or state government, and it’s also hard for her to take orders or deal with the usual shit people have to put up with when they’re working in the private sector.

Although Teresa’s real estate deals may provide her with some security, they could also prove to be a burden. There have been few calls to rent the Berkshires house, and selling the Brooklyn co-op is easier said than done.

What I’m afraid of for Teresa is what will happen after I leave for Florida in January, after her unemployment benefits run out in midwinter: I wonder how she’ll cope. She’s strong and resourceful, but she seems to have painted herself into a corner.

I slept okay last night after watching TV and calling Florida: Mom said everything is fine, and she and Dad will be here next weekend for the menswear show at the Coliseum.

This morning I slept late and exercised while watching a poor-quality tape of Terms of Endearment. I’ve been reading Mindstorms by MIT’s Seymour Papert, the LOGO inventor: he’s very intelligent and has made me think.

As Sherry Turkle pointed out in The Second Self, computers are changing culture, and Papert suggests that the quality and direction of these changes depends upon what kind of people go into computer education in the 1980s.

I feel I’m the perfect person, for I’m oriented towards the arts and humanities and can provide a different perspective.

Although I’m as mathophobic as anyone in the circles in which I’ve been educated and acculturated, I remember I always scored high in quantitative abilities, starting with the Iowa tests in grade school and going on through the SAT and even the GRE.

I’ve always enjoyed doing algebra, though starting around eleventh grade, I began to hate math and fear it. I had to move from trigonometry to the three-semester “fusion” sequence at Midwood.

For the last fifteen years, I’ve never thought of myself as a person who is “good at math” – yet math (the Latin root means “learning”) is a language just like English . . . or BASIC. And math has its own kind of beauty.

While the pleasures of writing and literature stem from the freedom of endless choices and the play of expressing oneself in any number of ways, there is also joy in the structured, limited, patterned and logical thinking one must do in mathematics – or computers.

In recent months, I’ve started to think of myself as an intellectual. That may be because Teresa puts down so many people, like Stewart Klein, as a “pseudo-intellectual.”

Finally, I asked her to tell me who she thought was a true intellectual, and she was unable to come up with even one person she knew.

To me, an intellectual is merely a person who loves ideas. Just as I’ve limited myself in other ways (physically, sexually, in terms of travel and adventure), I’ve also limited myself intellectually, and I want to change that.

Now this doesn’t mean I need to get a Ph.D., which doesn’t have much to do with real thinking. Instead, it means I need to explore areas of knowledge I’ve avoided – like math and science.

Tomorrow I’ve got to grade about twenty papers, and Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are going to be long days: my usual teaching at John Jay plus three hours of computer class at The New School.

Still, I’m looking forward to learning LOGO. I just hope I have time to keep up with grading papers and learning by using the New School computers.

Tuesday is also Claire’s gallery opening. I think that’s all I have scheduled except for my parents’ visit next weekend.

With the LOGO class, the next three weeks will be hectic, but that will have the blessing of getting me out of the house.

In November, things will slack off with various John Jay holidays and the end of my classes the following month. By then, Teresa will be visiting California, and Thanksgiving will give me a chance to catch my breath.

Learning that I didn’t get the NEA fellowship will be disappointing, but if I’m kept really busy, it may not hit me so hard.

Sunday, October 21, 1984

4 PM. Last evening Ronna and I went to see Swann in Love at the Paris. I got on the M104 bus when I saw Ronna sitting up front, and we got off at 57th Street, bought our tickets, and had dinner at Wolf’s Delicatessen.

The film was in French, with subtitles; I thought it was pretty good, particularly Jeremy Irons’s performance.

I’ve never been able to get even halfway through Proust’s Swann’s Way, but this film looked like it was doing a decent job out of the impossible task of making a two-hour film out of his work.

Back at Ronna’s, we got into bed and watched Jesse Jackson on Saturday Night Live. Then Ronna and I made love – I felt like concentrating on her pleasure – and we talked and giggled and shared intimacies.

The time I’ve spent with her has been a joy, and she tells me not to worry about when I leave, that she’ll miss me but I’m not breaking her heart.

She knows that I look at cute guys when I’m out with her, and she’s smart enough to understand that while our friendship is permanent, this sexual idyll isn’t.

I feel that she deserves someone better than I, and when he finds her, Ronna and I will go back to being platonic friends, the way we were all those years when she was seeing Jordan.

We cuddled and talked into late into the night. She’s so soft in her flannel nightgown, like a fairy-tale princess.

I slept deeply but sporadically, and we both awoke at about 10 AM and then lay in each other’s arms for an hour.

She had to go to a family wedding in Oceanside and I had to meet Josh and James’s roommate Beau for brunch four blocks away from Ronna’s at the Argo on 91st Street.

It was good to see Josh again and nice to meet Beau, a cute, boyish blond guy who’s been working as a bartender in Jackson, Mississippi, the past five years.

He and James moved into a tiny studio for $300 a month, but James isn’t the easiest person to live with, especially when he stopped taking his medicine.

A couple of weeks ago, James began vomiting after meals, and the bulimia continued until last Wednesday, when he didn’t get a job he’d figured he had locked up.

Without saying anything or leaving a note, James vanished between Wednesday and Thursday. Josh just wishes James had called him so Josh could have lent him some money; all James had was five dollars.

Beau suspects that James hitchhiked to Maryland to visit an old girlfriend, but Elaine, James’s mother, fears the worst, and even Josh said he wouldn’t be surprised if James tried to kill himself. He didn’t take any of his medicine with him, and he always gets worse without it.

Beau, meanwhile, is going on interviews in various fields; tomorrow he’s got one for a job as an actuarial trainee.

Josh generously paid for brunch for both Beau and me, and then the three of us walked down Broadway all the way to 14th Street and Sixth Avenue, passing a whole lot of Manhattan on the way.

It really was a trip to see all the different neighborhoods from Lincoln Center to Times Square to the Garment Center and Flower District.

I liked Beau a lot. He’s sweet, funny and intelligent, the kind of guy I’d like to know better, though I also can tell Beau’s as straight as a guy can get.

Josh is still his old cantankerous, generous, hard-bitten self. While Josh returned to Brooklyn, Beau and I took the train uptown.

I still have a dozen papers to grade, the Sunday Times to read, and the debate to watch.

Tuesday, October 23, 1984

9 PM and I just this minute got home after leaving the house at 7:30 AM.

This long Tuesday reminds me of the Tuesdays I spent last winter teaching at Broward Community College from 8 AM till 3:15 PM and then taking my PILOT class at Florida International University and not getting home to North Miami Beach until 8 PM.

There were several messages on the answering machine from Mike Snow of People, whom I just called back.

Jonathan had told him that I was running for President so I could collect a good salary and because it was “a good way to meet women.”

They wanted my authorization so they could attribute the quote to me. What could I do?

I said, “You can print anything about me as long as it isn’t true,” but of course I don’t like the quote and I know the article will be silly fluff.

Mike said they’re having photos of thirty candidates, so I expect my photo will be really small if it’s printed at all.

I can’t really get excited about this, for it’s a typical mass-media distraction and oversimplification; the saving grace is that few of People’s readers will notice it.

People will describe me as “an unemployed English teacher from New York, New York”: not accurate, but safe in case anyone in the Florida Department of Labor sees it.

I woke up early today. After last night’s thunderstorm, it turned cooler and cloudy. My classes went well as I gave them a new assignment and taught some grammar.

Today, for a change, I looked good – in navy blue corduroys and a sport jacket, a purple-pink-striped button-down shirt and a shocking-pink wool tie. Even Merci Sanchez in the 11 AM class complimented me.

Daisy Acosta, the SEEK counselor, left an urgent message for me to call her. I knew she wanted to see me because I missed their bullshit meeting a few weeks ago.

When I called her, she said she had no idea who I was and that I must have gotten a message for someone else by mistake. Fine – I wasn’t about to tell her.

Like so many bureaucrats, Daisy is completely incompetent.

I had my students write essays about the job they’ve held, and reading between the lines, I can see that very often many of them were incompetent, too.

Anyway, I got all the marking done, so I won’t have to do any work tomorrow.

I had lunch at The Bagel in the Village and then spent half an hour in Washington Square Park reading Papert’s Mindstorms; from the acknowledgements, I learned that he’s married to Sherry Turkle, who wrote The Second Self.

Feeling really excited about learning – on Sunday, when Teresa and I sent out for Chinese food, my fortune cookie read, “Education is a lifelong experience for those who love knowledge” – I thought about a plan in the back of my mind to run for Florida Education Commissioner in 1986 as a learning and teaching experience.

Maybe I’m fooling myself, but I feel I’m every bit as creative as the “geniuses” who got the MacArthur fellowships today. I know I’m better than most of the writers who are getting calls that they’ve won $20,000 NEA fellowships.

Oh well, I’ll fight on.

There are only five of us in the LOGO class. Today Mike Callery taught us the easy commands in graphics – forward, back, left, right – and we made the turtle move into various geometric patterns.

Tired after class ended at 5 PM, I had mushroom-barley soup, vegetable cutlet and rose hips tea at Brownie’s and then took the bus into Soho for Claire’s opening at the Stephen Rosenberg Gallery on Wooster Street.

Many more people were there than I expected: about 75 or 80, all of them arty Soho types. I said hello to Claire, beautifully dressed in basic black, with her mother’s pearls, but I didn’t want to keep her from people important to her career.

I didn’t feel like talking to anyone else until Sue Ribner arrived, so I drank ginger ale and looked at the paintings. One of them was titled “Millay Pool.” I like Claire’s work but am not really qualified to pass judgment, given my limited knowledge of contemporary art.

Sue told me terrible news: After her editor read the chapters Sue gave her, the editor said she was unhappy and wanted to cancel the contract for the book.

That’s typical of publishers like Harper & Row: they suck. Probably it was too political and feminist for them.

Anyway, Sue isn’t taking it lying down. She’s given the manuscript to her former editor, who’s now a vice president at the firm.

At these places, it’s like the editors are always playing musical chairs, and you never know when the person who signed you will stay on as your editor as the book moves through the publication process – or doesn’t.

I had shpilkes and didn’t want to wait until Matt and Emily arrived, so I left the gallery to do some bookstore-browsing and strolling through the streets of Soho before coming home.

They say the election is all over, that Reagan will win in a landslide. All I see in New York are Mondale/Ferraro buttons – but this is New York City and not America.

Wednesday, October 24, 1984

6 PM. It’s turned dark and chilly: more like I remember New York on autumn days. But I dressed warmly today and didn’t mind.

Up at 9 AM after a restless night, I went to The New School at 11 AM to work on the IBM PC for two hours.

I’ve gone through almost all of our BASIC text: the FOR…NEXT, IF…THEN…ELSE, ON…GOTO commands. I have only about one more session to get to GOSUB…RETURN for subroutines.

BASIC follows many of the procedures of PILOT, and both call for that line-by-line logic, flowcharts, and the patience and the understanding that you don’t always get the right answer on the first try.

But being a writer has already led me to think that “right” and “wrong” aren’t really helpful in thinking about ideas. I tell my students that there are “more effective” and “less effective” strategies for writing.

After lunch at Brownie’s, where the counter waiter and the cashier already know me, I passed through the Union Square greenmarket to get the subway uptown.

Back home, Teresa was being a good hostess, serving Amira a hot bowl of soup; they’d just come back from the Met, where they saw the new Van Gogh show. Amira had jury duty today but called in sick.

Although she’s lost tons of weight and is very firm from working out on with the Nautilus machines – she’s hooked the way I was – Amira is unhappy in general, and in regard to her job in particular.

Yesterday Teresa got a new, short haircut that looks terrific, so she was in a good mood except for some weird phone calls she’s been getting.

First a guy called to say that “a friend who lives far away” asked him to set Teresa up with his friend, “a really nice guy.”

At first Teresa thought that Deirdre had arranged it, but Deirdre had nothing to do with it, and Teresa got suspicious when the guy asked her to come to New Jersey.

He phoned several times today, and Teresa didn’t want to antagonize him on the chance that he might be crazy enough to harass her, but we put my voice on the machine and he hasn’t phoned since this morning.

Oh, and he admitted that he himself was the “friend from far away” and said he met Teresa three years ago in a bar in Murray Hill and wanted to “surprise” her.

I guess some women would fall for that.

Saturday, October 27, 1984

5 PM – though all our clocks say 4 PM, since I already changed them to Standard Time. While I was out, Teresa left for her sister’s, and I’m blissfully alone.

Last evening I met Ronna at the West Side Y. She was late and seemed somewhat disconcerted after a bad day at work.

We went into a crowded auditorium and listened to the panel of playwrights; unfortunately, Wendy Wasserstein was absent due to a family illness, but Chris Durang, Leslie Lee and John Ford Noonan were there.

Durang and I have similar sensibilities, and I greatly enjoyed his reading from Baby With the Bathwater, the only play of his that I haven’t read.

Lee read some terribly clichéd monologues from a new, “updated” version of the musical Golden Boy (which I saw twenty years ago with my parents; it, in turn, was based on the even more clichéd 1930s Odets play).

Noonan, a grizzly bear of a man, read a quirky monologue from a short play that had grace and intelligence.

Then there was a question-and-answer period, which proved surprisingly enlightening, especially when the authors began discussing their experiences with TV and the movies.

The producers of Another World asked Lee to make his scripts “less literate,” and Noonan and Durang related horrible experiences with CBS’s Comedy Zone this summer.

I would have thought they’d know better than to take the job, but I guess the money was too good. Noonan was undoubtedly right when he said, “The more money they pay you, the less of your writing they use.” That’s as fucked-up as what I wrote about yesterday vis-à-vis me and People.

As we walked up the Avenue of the Yuppies (Columbus), Ronna explained to me what she was trying to accomplish with her playwriting class at the Y.

Ronna’s very bright, but I suspect that, like a lot of smart but not particularly talented people, her sophisticated critical sense goes out the window when she tries to produce her own work.

But of course, having no talent is not a barrier to success for a playwright – witness the late Lillian Hellman, God rest her soul.

Why does everyone want to be a writer?

But if I sound condescending – like the nasty Scott Fitzgerald belittling Zelda while sucking up her sensibility for his own work – I don’t mean to be. I encourage Ronna to write and am glad she’s trying.

We shopped for groceries for tonight’s dinner; I’ll go over there in a couple of hours. Last night she had to get home early to cook and clean.

I slept soundly till 10 AM today. Josh called and told me James took out $1000 from his mother’s Citibank account, leaving Elaine broke and angry.

As Beau had predicted, James surfaced in Maryland at an old girlfriend’s, and then he headed for Greensboro to see if Lee Zacharias will let him in the MFA program now. He may get work there or go down to Vicksburg to visit his father.

Josh is disgusted with James even though Josh knows it’s not James’s fault entirely: it’s his illness. He really needs to get back on his medicine.

I spent the afternoon at Alice’s, and it was a breath of fresh sanity. Unloading my difficulties with Teresa on her, Alice shrewdly remarked that I should be grateful Teresa is the way she is, for someone not desperate for company would not have let me stay here for so long.

Like me, Alice values her solitude and is glad Peter is no longer living with her; if they live together again, it would have to be in a much larger space.

From what I’ve described to her and her own observations, Alice said she finds Teresa rather bossy and particularly dislikes Teresa’s habit of talking with me while I’m on the phone; I can’t stand that, either.

Ultimately, we decided, Teresa will have to face her problems alone. In a way, I feel bad because I’m acting as another shield keeping her from seeing reality.

Alice said that she herself has had better times in her life, but as usual, she’s being a trouper, traveling to conferences and for fun, working hard at the magazine, giving speeches, seeing Peter.

Alice is a rock.

She said that when she mentioned “anhedonia” in therapy, her shrink said, “Have you been reading again?”

Tomorrow Alice’s mother is leaving for six months in Bangkok.

Sunday, October 28, 1984

11 PM Standard Time. Today was unseasonably hot and humid for the end of October.

It was dark by 5:30 PM as Grandma, Mom and I drove into Manhattan to meet Dad.

When I was in Rockaway, I realized that it’s exactly five years since I moved into my apartment there on Beach 118th Street.

So much has changed in all that time. Grandpa Herb is gone; I’ve lived in Florida for three and a half years; I’ve grown up so much.

What will my life be like five years from now?

But I think I’ll always remember tonight, if only because it’s the only time I ever had dinner in Manhattan with both my parents and Grandma Ethel. We ate at Hunan 94, and it was probably the first time Grandma ate non-Cantonese Chinese food.

Last night I had an okay time at Ronna’s. She made a good dinner, and I tried to make small talk with her father and stepmother and the couple who were their friends.

Both Mr. Caplan and his wife changed so much that I wouldn’t have recognized them if I saw them on the street. But I guess it’s probably a dozen years since I last saw them.

I left early, but after everyone else, because I had stuff to do at home. With Teresa away, I enjoyed being by myself in the apartment.

After a good night’s sleep, I was up early and felt glad to see Mom and Dad pull up in their rented Chrysler as I looked out the window at 9 AM.

I drove Dad to the Coliseum and then took Mom on a mini-tour of Manhattan, down Broadway and through the West and East Village, Soho, and then up to Columbus Avenue before we came back here and I showed Mom the apartment.

I packed up all my summer stuff and some superfluous clothes into one of my two suitcases and gave it to Mom, putting it in the trunk so she can take it back to Florida on the plane; that will make it easier for me in January.

After lunch at the local Greek diner, Mom and I drove into Brooklyn.

Mom wanted to see the Marathon, so we went to what I figured would be the best place to see it: Bedford-Stuyvesant, by Nostrand Avenue and DeKalb.

We saw Grete Waitz, the first woman in the pack (she eventually won), and hundreds of other runners making their way past us. It made me dizzy to watch them.

I admire the runners’ spirit and determination, but it seemed like a punishing, grueling activity, especially in 90% humidity and 75° temperatures. (One man collapsed and died on the 59th Street Bridge.)

All the runners were in great shape, but I find their bodies generally unsexy: they are too skinny and bony and sharp-angled for my taste.

In Rockaway, Mom and I got some groceries at Key Food and then sat with Grandma, Aunt Tillie and Uncle Morris all afternoon. I did get to mark a bunch of my students’ papers while I was there.

At 5 PM, we drove to Manhattan and picked up Dad at Columbus Circle and I finally found a parking space uptown.

After our pleasant dinner at Hunan 94, my parents and Grandma dropped me off back here and went on to Rockaway.

Tuesday, October 30, 1984

7 PM. Teresa’s out at her Italian conversation class.

I got home about an hour ago after a very long day, but alone, I had a chance to relax, changing into a t-shirt and gym shorts. (My chest and back ache from yesterday’s weightlifting.)

Then I ate some yogurt and cottage cheese, massaged my neck, and listened to All Things Considered on the radio: it’s a welcome break from Teresa’s watching the local TV news, which jangles my nerves with all the crime stories and loud commercials.

I was up at 7 AM today. We had no milk, so I had breakfast at the diner and then went to John Jay. I told my students I would be out on Thursday, and I told Doris, too.

In class, I marked papers while I had them write about which candidate they were supporting. I was surprised to see that several blacks and Hispanics wrote that they liked Reagan.

Others told me that they felt that a choice between two white men was not important or interesting to them, so I had them write about that.

During my break, I walked over to Fordham, where I learned my refund for the cancelled course should be coming next week.

At 12:20 PM, I left John Jay for downtown, had lunch at Brownie’s, and then worked on the IBM PC, finishing the material in the section of the text that John Kallas gave us.

Then I moved on to the Apples and went on to LOGO. Our class today was okay, but Michael isn’t as structured or patient as John is, and while I’m ahead of the others in the class – just fiddling around, I discovered how LOGO’s IF…THEN statements work – I still feel a little shaky.

But then it took a little while for it all to come together when I was learning PILOT, too, so I’ll just keep trying.

Mom called to say she and Dad will pick me up tomorrow and then we’ll go back to Rockaway.

Maybe I can catch up on my reading there; I also owe several people letters, and there are also the articles I want to write for Sandra Thompson.

Going home in the rush hour on the IRT, I wondered if I’ll ever have fiction published again.

Today 23-year-old David Leavitt (gay, Jewish, upper-class and Yale-educated) got another glowing review for his first short story collection, Family Dancing. He’s a fine writer and deserves the acclaim.

But in the wake of the lack of attention my own fiction has received, considering how difficult it has been for me to write, and after losing out on yet another NEA fellowship, I wonder if I should give up fiction writing altogether.

There’s no shame in quitting something you’ve tried and failed at – and I did succeed beyond the dreams of most aspiring writers, after all, getting dozens of stories published in little magazines and having three hardcover collections of stories come out.

Being a writer is at the core of my identity, and I’ll never stop writing, but maybe I should just pack it in as far as fiction is concerned.

No, I’ll probably keep dreaming and trying for another few years; I’ll give myself until I’m 40.

Justin is the only person who left a message indicating that he saw me in People. There were no calls about the article from radio or TV stations.

The only good news was that A&S gave me a credit card – and I used my West 85th Street address on the application.

Today was a killer of a day, and I feel worn down and tired.

Wednesday, October 31, 1984

8:30 PM. Well, I made it through October – and I did fairly well, I think.

It’s a good thing I cancelled my classes at John Jay tomorrow because I had my first offer to appear on nationwide television.

The bad news is that the nation is Brazil.

After seeing the People article, Globo TV called and asked if I’d come to their studio and say a few words about my Presidential candidacy.

The only other message was from WJNO radio in Florida (I can tell by the 305 area code), whom I’ll call tomorrow.

After heading to bed last night with a bad headache, I slept wonderfully for ten straight hours, interrupted only by a couple of jaunts to the bathroom.

I awoke feeling refreshed, and by the time Mom called at 7:30 AM, I was already up and listening to the news of Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her own Sikh bodyguards.

My parents arrived around 8:30 AM. After Mom and I dropped Dad off at the Coliseum, we went to Brooklyn Heights and had a nice breakfast at The Leaf and Bean.

Driving down Flatbush Avenue, we noted how Park Slope has gotten better and almost every other neighborhood has gotten worse.

At Deutsch Pharmacy, I got my Triavil prescription, and at the First Nationwide Savings bank branch on Avenue J and East 13th Street, I took out $300, which I gave to Mom to reimburse her for Jonathan’s room fee next term at Florida Atlantic University; I’ll send out my own room fee soon.

Back in Rockaway, we sat around Grandma’s apartment for hours. That place is like the set of a situation comedy, with various oddball characters constantly coming in and going out.

Uncle Morris and Aunt Tillie, of course, arrived on the dot of 12:30 PM as usual, and then the dreaded Max Goldfarb rang the bell. Deaf, glass-eyed and obstinate, he offends Grandma especially, because he always wears Grandpa’s clothing.

Yesterday Aunt Claire and Uncle Sidney came over. Max saw them and today was loudly complaining that Grandma was mistaken when she’d told him that Claire weighed 40 pounds because “I could see with mine own eyes that your sister definitely does not weigh 40 pounds.”

Everyone kept telling Max that Grandma had told him that Claire had lost 40 pounds, not that she weighed 40 pounds, to no avail.

When Max urged us to take advantage of the good weather and go outside, Morris – with a dry wit I never expected from him – said, “Yeah, you probably should go out right now yourself.”

To our relief, Max finally left, but right afterwards, Jean Morse popped in, bragging about her family and “correcting” everyone else’s remarks like the know-it-all she is.

By comparison to these two, even Morris and Tillie are welcome guests.

Around 4:30 PM, I drove Mom and Grandma to Manhattan to pick up Dad at the Coliseum.

Later, Teresa said she was a little pissed that I hadn’t included her in our dinner plans, but I figured she wouldn’t want to eat the stuff my parents and grandmother do.

Mom and Dad are now strict vegetarians, and Grandma eats a very limited range of foods. We ended up going to the Lower East Side to eat at Ratner’s.

Back uptown, I went to Fordham and heard a talk by a professor about the Bolivian novelist Jaime Saenz. It was in Spanish, and I understood only about 60% but enjoyed the challenge of listening hard.

Mostly the professor spoke about the different concepts of death held by Latin Americans and he read from one of Saenz’s novels.

The Gannon Lecture in the auditorium downstairs featured Dr. John Brademas, NYU president and former congressman, who spoke about the contrasting educational policies of Reagan and Mondale.

Of course, a reelected Reagan could be a disaster for education, but I think he’ll be checked by Congress.

I was impressed with Brademas’s answer to my question about trends in higher education: he cited a return to liberal arts, more networking between colleges, increased cooperation with and interest in business and the public schools, more attention to lifelong learning, and more emphasis on computer technology and foreign languages and culture.