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©John R. Turner

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When I was at Georgia Tech, I would drive over to Agnes Scott in the spring to hear Robert Frost read. As I left my dorm, my roommates would sing out, "Got your lacy drawers on?" Thus was poetry regarded by my tough-guy compatriots. But I didn't care. I liked Frost. I remember that one time he said that people up where he came from didn't know the difference between Georgia and Alabama any more than we knew the difference between New Hampshire and Vermont. I was so astounded by the thought that anybody could mix up Georgia and Alabama that, at first, I didn't get the general implication of his statement. But, as I reflected, I realized he was right. I had no idea of how Vermont differed from New Hampshire. I didn't even know which was on the east, or west, side of which. And that meant that, throughout the country, we were locked in ignorance about local conditions outside our own region. People didn't travel then as much as they do now, so there wasn't nearly as much knowledge about other sections.  It was exciting in a way. We lived in a nation full of strange and remote areas. Now, we think we know. But I wonder if our so-called knowledge goes much beyond the ignorance of past years. Whenever I go to the South, or the West, I still run into people who think that Vermont and New Hampshire are alike. And, that's so crazy as to be incomprehensible.
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Agnes Scott College