Richard Selzer is a retired surgeon, the author of The Doctor Stories (Picador, 1998), The Whistlers’ Room (Shoemaker and Hoard, 2004), and The Exact Location of the Soul: New and Selected Essays (Picador, 2001), among others.
Jun 01 1990
For each man or woman there are those buildings of childhood the mere thought of which years later is enough to reawaken the whole of the buried past. For me, there is the Troy Public Library where I sat by teh hours bewitched by the novels of Rafael Sabatini: Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, and best of all, Scaramouche, that lovable scamp who “was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” Later, there is that house on Jacob Street where, at long last, I shucked my hated virginity. Most emblematic of all is the Gardner Earl Crematorium. Begun in 1887 and opened for use in 1902, the building stands on a ridge overlooking the city of Troy and, beyond that, the Hudson Valley through which the great river pushes on its way from the Adirondacks to Manhattan.