I’m sitting with Amrys in an Espresso Royale in Madison. She’s reading a book before class and I’m trying to clean up a writeup on for my research. Espresso Royale was one of my favorite hangouts in high school, and I was distressed to learn, upon moving to Boston, that it was in fact a chain. But there’s something familiar about the place here beyond the Generic College Coffeehouse thing.
Maybe it’s the glassware or ther furniture, the branding of the place (which only became so coordinated and overt in the late 90’s, I think). It’s a manifestation of a greater sense of “home” that I get here. Maybe all midwest college towns are somehow the same. The snow is falling thick and wet outside, we’re warm in here with our coffees, and 90% of the people in here are working. It’s comforting like my recent sojourn in 1369, but this nostalgia runs farther back, to the days of my purple spiral notebook, Ritz crackers, and Coca-Cola.