At this Time, In this Place
The sparrows chirped outside my window, excited about the new seeds in the bird feeder. One would fly away, but not for long, always returning to see what it had left behind. The tea kettle whistled, only temporarily distracting me from my memories.
The first time that I saw Takuho, a young, good-looking Japanese exchange student was in the summer of 1985 when he had come to Topeka, Kansas to attend college. My parents owned an old two and a half story house in College Hill just a few blocks from Washburn University. I went bounding up the stairs to the third floor and startled this Japanese man who sat up in bed, clinging to a sheet to cover his bare chest. Unbeknownst to me, our foreign exchange student had arrived very late the night before at the Kansas City airport and was attempting to get some much needed shut-eye after his international flight.
You see, I didn’t live at home with my parents. I am the older of two siblings and had gotten married a few months earlier. My brother was a student at Washburn where I, too, had attended until I became pregnant. I may as well come straight out with it. My brother, Josh, was on a football scholarship. Some of the jocks were quite attractive, macho men, whom I had gotten to know pretty well because of my brother. Chad and I hadn’t dated long when I found myself in a compromising position in a parked car.
Charles and Annabell Lerrigo were the original owners of the home in College Hill - finding a mysterious box of old letters in the attic teaches Pam and Tuk what it means to truly love someone. Dr. Lerrigo was an accomplished physician and writer who used the pen name "Christmas Seal Doctor," as a founding member of the Tuberculosis Association.
People who enjoy learning about other cultures and religions will love this book, as will people who are interested in historic preservation of old homes. The book is well grounded in the history of Topeka, Kansas, College Hill and Washburn University.
Book Club Questions: [Print Page 2]
1. What experiences have you had with people from another culture?
2. Do you think Tuk was wise in thinking Japan was some place Pam needed to "experience" rather than trying to tell her about the differences?
3. Why did the author include Pam having a relationship/marriage resulting from a pre-marital indescretion?
4. Do you believe that knowledge of other religions helps to make you stronger in your own? Why?
5. How were courtships different in the early 20th century?
6. How did the letters become a factor in Pam and Tuk's relationship - or even in Pam and Chad's relationship?
7. In the end, would you have made the same choice as Pam? Why or why not?
8. Did the book hold your interest, and were there any surprises?