Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Katherine Evans (1964)…by Robert M. Katzman

 

This is not a story about sex, or passion, or violence, or triumph and vindication.

It’s not a story about bravery, or adversity—well, maybe adversity, but not like

being trapped on Mount Everest in a howling blizzard.

 

It’s just a little story about a sweet moment, frozen in the amber of my memory.

A fleeting act of kindness and self-discovery, in 1964.

 

Katherine Evans was a classmate of mine in grammar school for a number of

years, beginning, maybe, in second grade until eighth grade and graduation.

We weren’t friends. I didn’t know her. I didn’t know her family or anything

about her.

I still don’t.

But you’ll know her.

She must be a universal kind of person that exists in every school, or office or summer camp.

My best recollection of her is from perhaps sixth grade on, in 1962,

She was about five foot two then, very thin, very blond, very pale.

She had light blue eyes kept behind fairly thick glasses in the style of the late fifties, where the left and right top edges of the clear plastic frames were shaped like the tail fins of a ’57 Chevy.

Her face was white, with no noticeable color in her cheeks, and no discernable expression you could identify.

 

No laughing.

No anger.

No perplexity.

No smiles.

No smirks.

Just a face.

 

It was a pleasant face—not pretty really, not unattractive either, but certainly not sexy, at least not to me, between twelve and fourteen years old.

Her lips were very red against her pale complexion. A clear complexion, too.

About the only distinctive feature that set her apart from all the other girls in our class was her white blond hair that was done up in long thin braids that were wrapped tightly around the sides of her head in a fashion I’d seen only in books about Scandinavian places like Norway or Sweden.

Despite her name, which conjures up English ancestors, I’d bet today she was a Polish Catholic girl, whose name was changed and shortened between Ellis Island and the south side of Chicago.

I say Catholic because all we had in our middle and working class neighborhood were the Irish, Poles, and Jews, as far as I knew. I didn’t think the Protestants got as far south as east 87th street in Chicago in 1962.

Her voice was sandpapery soft, like a whisper when she spoke at all. She kept her delicate eyelids half closed, never looking directly at you. Her figure was thin as a boy’s and caused me no distractions as to the contents of her blouse.

Just a very quiet, extremely shy girl.

I can’t recall ever speaking to her during our years in school together, though I might have. I know I did one time, just before we graduated.

While most of the girls in my class had nothing to do with me, and weren’t shy about not wanting my company, Katherine never said anything or made any effort to avoid me when I was in her proximity. She was as neutral a personality as I’d ever known. As close to not being there at all as one could be, without being a ghost.

About that same time, in sixth grade, I was part of a group of fourteen kids that were put on a fast track, as they called it, and given extra special attention and more challenging homework because we were considered to be smarter than average.

I think it was a new educational concept of separating potentially more advanced kids, based on their Standard Achievement Test scores, I guess, while still leaving them in the same classroom with the other children.

There was no choice but to leave us in the same classroom with the other kids since the post war baby boom of 1946 to 1963 produced seventy-eight million future Einsteins and the governments couldn’t build schools fast enough.

Our classes routinely had thirty to thirty-three students per room, with one teacher per class.

Since I was considered to be an all-around irritating troublemaker and a disrupter of classroom tranquility, and I was, too, my inclusion in this experimental group of fourteen selected “fast-track” kids out of over one hundred thirty total people in our grade was certainly a big surprise for me.

It must have been a very new-fangled educational theory that more challenging classes would stop the smarter but less behaviorally controllable kids from being bored and causing trouble, and hopefully help make the more “difficult” kids more successful in school.

Subsequent events were, in my case, to let that concept remain a speculative theory with no conclusive results, since I was abruptly ejected from the group of fourteen in late 1963.

The remaining thirteen in the group would find, in the years to come, that, in some cases, thirteen was a very unlucky number indeed.

But I will get to them somewhat later, after I relate a bizarre incident stemming from a truly regrettable career choice by the clueless teacher I somehow antagonized that made my already difficult existence at Caldwell plummet to a grim new low.

In an art class on November 21, 1963, our teacher was going around the room asking us one by one to describe various ways to draw athletes at the upcoming International Olympics track events.

Different students suggested various scenarios and when the teacher came to me, I told her that drawing the runners coming toward the viewer, a depiction that had not yet been offered in class that day, would be a challenging exercise in perspective.

That’s all I said.

Some kids laughed at my suggestion as it was quite unlike the more standard images offered of people racing by in profile, etc., and I guess to them, different was funny.

While this may sound totally innocuous in the grand scheme of things, that particular day there was a visitor from the Chicago Board of Education observing our class, and the teacher’s performance, as happened from time to time.

Our art teacher’s face became very red as the laughter rippled through the class, and I could see she was becoming very steamed, and, I guess, embarrassed.

I was mystified.

At that time, in 1963, I’d already had five years of private instruction in various art schools including, for one year in 1959, Chicago’s Art Institute classes for children. Drawing in perspective was a routine exercise in proportion in those classes. People knew I could draw. It was no secret. I’d entered the school’s art fairs and worked in oil, charcoal, pastels and pen and ink.

What was my crime?

Well, my crime was being imaginative in a very stiff and structured class where innovative contributions were neither encouraged nor prized.

I was, unbelievably, summarily dismissed from the classroom, right then, in the middle of the class by a very angry teacher and sent to the principal’s office for, I guess, disrupting the class under the eyes and scrutiny of the Chicago Board of Education’s classroom evaluator that had made my art teacher very skittish indeed.

I was then, also unbelievably, suspended from school, first time ever in nine years at that school and sent home for two days plus the weekend. You might wonder why I so specifically remember the date of this incident, so many years ago.

Well, some students of history reading this tale may recall that the next day, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. Kinda makes the events of the day before stand out more distinctly than they might have otherwise.

While my school was thrown into pandemonium, as I later learned, by this national crisis, I was home, alone, working on my science project, dentistry.

Though I later heard stories about teachers crying and classes coming to a standstill as everyone was transfixed by the unfolding story displayed on the few TV sets in our old school, and on the radios, I never experienced what must have been the dramatic group transformation of teachers and students from their normal organized behavior in a traditional classroom to where suddenly, everyone, young and old, was now a shocked, disbelieving American citizen stupefyingly captivated by the historic scenes flickering at them from the black and white screens.

I was finally told by my father, who usually came home about six p.m., hours after the event occurred in Dallas, Texas. He yelled up at me from the first floor of our house on the south side of Chicago, in the early evening gloom of autumn:

“Bob! The President’s been shot and killed!”

I had no idea that any of this had happened.

I never listened to the radio.

I rarely watched TV.

When I was alone, I usually read a book, or sketched pictures.

The house had been totally silent until my father came home with the shattering news. Everybody I knew, especially in my Jewish/Irish neighborhood, loved John Kennedy, even kids.

He was very handsome in a way that didn’t put off men, was sexy to women, and was very witty and smart.

First president I ever noticed (elected in 1960, when I was ten), or cared about. Now he was dead, murdered at 46 years old.

The wise administrators of my grammar school felt that my behavior was incorrigible and far beyond the powers of mere women to handle, and therefore since all of the eighth grade teachers in my division were undeniably women, I was to be transferred to a different division, taught by a … man.

This was a different environment for me in more ways than one. The kids in this class were recent transfers from another school south of us, and were, to be kind, in no danger of going to Harvard. I’m not saying that their knuckles dragged on the ground as they walked, or anything like that. But I doubted any of them ever read a book on their own that didn’t have pictures in it. If those pictures weren’t of Puff, Spot and Jane, I’d have been really surprised

.The girls had enough hairspray lacquered on their hair to withstand a meteor storm—and their language! I learned new words to describe sex acts that I didn’t know were possible.

While many of the new girls had amazingly developed figures for thirteen or fourteen years old, if it wasn’t really crumpled up Kleenex stuffed in their brassieres, they were not the sweet young things I’d want to whisper in my ear. It would’ve filled my head with cigarette smoke.

Their lipstick was white. Their mascara, thick and black.

If I knew what French-kissing was, at that time, which I didn’t, I’d surely have thought them fully capable of biting my tongue off, if not in a fit of passion, then just for spite.

If the girls downstairs in the other division would have nothing to do with me (I was a bad influence, capable of anything, etc.), I had the eerie feeling that these Neanderthal-ettes, if I somehow crossed them, would hunt me down with clubs and eat me.

If I was a little older, a little more experienced about life and sex, then this situation might have had completely different possibilities. But I didn’t know anything about girls, not for years, and the only rule about girls I knew for sure was you didn’t hit them. Boys, yes. Girls were untouchable, in that sense. That rule has never changed, for me.

The boys. I was in a sea of Catholic boys.

There were T-shirts with hard packs of Marlboro cigarettes rolled up under their short sleeves, at recess. Cigarettes behind ears, never falling off, unlit cigarettes stuck in the corners of mouths, waving up and down like batons as those mouths talked tough talk, periodically spitting out the odd loose bit of tobacco onto the gravel of the playground.

There were ducktail haircuts, elaborately styled and arranged just so.

It was “Happy Days” come to life, ten years before the hit TV show.

I was surrounded by guys who were “Fonzy” way before there was ever a real character named Fonzy—and Fonzy, Henry Winkler, was really Jewish!

They had a culture of confrontation, and no plans beyond getting a fast car and one of those busty, hairsprayed, mean-as-snakes girls pinned down in the back seat of it. They listened to WLS radio, knew all the current hit songs, sang them to their girls at recess, and sometimes even in class, if the teacher was out of the room.

They smoked, jitterbugged, necked in the hallways and I didn’t do any of that.

I was as disoriented in this class full of central-casting tough guys and their fast girls in tight sweaters advertising their newly arrived breasts as I was downstairs with all the “nice” Jewish kids. Where those good girls from nice homes not only wouldn’t fool around with you now, but probably didn’t have sex after marriage either.

Where those nice boys were already planning what college they’d attend, in five years, if their parents hadn’t picked one out for them, what law firm they’d prefer to join, and/or what their medical specialty would be.

I was as far away from this first group with it’s self-assured upwardly mobile sense of direction, as I was from the future chain gang upstairs.

It was so strange knowing that the mostly Jewish kids in the first division thought I was the tough guy, but I knew reality: I had no intention ending up a bloody pulp messing with my new classmates.

The only commonality in this surreal mixture of class, religion and attitude was that the Jewish boys were definitely going to try to get into the pants of the Catholic girls, too. Unlike the Jewish girls, who may have been nuns for all the bases you’d get to with them, the Catholic girls not only had sex, at some point, but also were widely admired for this wonderful inclination.

I’d even heard stories that they enjoyed it. This is one reason there will always be more Catholics than Jews.

Presiding over this post Fifties time warp I found myself trapped in, or demoted to, was a small, intense Italian man who wore clean white dress shirts to class with the ties tightly knotted and no jacket. He had thinning dark hair that he combed straight back, thick on the sides with lonely dark strands down the middle. He had a long face with furrows down either side like deep dimples.

He was smart and he was funny and his name was Mr. Mazzucca.

Although he and I never really got to know each other, I nevertheless respected him and appreciated his efforts to teach his students despite an overwhelming lack of response from the class. He commanded authority in his class by dint of his intelligence and professionalism. Why he was stuck with this bored, wise-cracking collection of losers on the second floor, now including me, I’ll never understand.

By this time I was so dispirited, so hopeless over my situation that I simply disappeared among the Catholics, not that they wanted anything to do with the new Jew anyway. I was there and not there at the same time, for all practical purposes. His homework was easy, and had to be, or he’d have to flunk all thirty kids at the same time, which the Chicago Board of Education would probably have frowned upon.

I think the low point of my despair was this one day when Mr. Mazzucca was teaching English composition and proper word usage, a subject with which I was normally very comfortable.

I was already writing poetry and prose, when I wasn’t fighting on the playground after school, or getting thrown out of Hebrew School (once). I knew how to put a couple of words together to form a coherent sentence with all the proper tenses and punctuation.

Well, one day Mr. Mazzucca asked the class to conjugate the word “is” with all its tenses.

I just sat there, numbly, as he vainly tried to fill in all the blanks on the blackboard while waiting for the right answers to somehow float up out of all those eager faces massed in front of him.

Finally, in disgust, as he filled in all the blanks by himself, one by one, he paused at the last blank and said to the class:

“Does anybody, anybody know what goes in the last blank to complete the conjugation of “is”?

 “Anyone?”

I just sat there, front row, by the door, arms crossed across my chest, silently staring at the ringmaster of this zoo, and thought to myself: “ to be”

Just to myself.

He turned away from us, all of us, in obvious total distain, and wrote the words “to be” in the final blank, pressing the chalk so hard in his antagonized frustration that it suddenly snapped in two, a piece of it flying across the room.

I’ve always regretted not speaking up. It would have at least told the growling mob surrounding me that, truly, I was not one of them.

Not that they cared.

Not that it would change anything.

But no one else responded to the frustrated pleas of Mr. Mazzucca to at least pretend to be students—just for this one moment. It would have done my miserable soul good to call out to Mr. M in a clear, confident voice:

“To Be”.

He’d have turned around to seek the source of the voice, and his eyes would have met mine. And maybe, just maybe, he’d know that despite whatever he was told about the new smart-mouthed punk transferred to his class of losers for the good of the school, maybe in that one moment as we looked at each other, he’d see the lie in all of it. He’d know that I wasn’t one of the rabble. He’d know that he had at least one student in his class, first seat, by the door, who understood every single word he said.

But I said nothing.

Silent in my hopelessness, I became one more blank, unresponsive face in a sea of them. He was worth more than that. It would have given both of us a lift, however brief, for him to have just one alert and attentive student.

It wouldn’t have made the sun stay up a moment longer.

It wouldn’t have stopped the rain.

But it would have given me a jolt of self-respect that I desperately needed.

It’s way too late now.

Mr. Mazzucca, Philip Mazzucca, I believe was his complete name, may no longer be alive. If he is, he could be near eighty by now. Well, wherever you are in the cosmos, Philip Muzzacca, I knew the answer.

I always knew the answer.

It was: “To Be”.

Thank you very much. Sorry for the delay.

I hope you are well, and I hope you understand, wherever you are.

 

I endured the next few months of being a non-entity in Mr. M’s class. I kept to myself, had very little contact with anyone—especially the other division’s kids. The whole situation was so demoralizing. I just wanted to graduate.

Get out.

Get away.

Start over.

When you are part of an intense closed society, like being part of a small group of one hundred fifty or so students from kindergarten through eighth grade, where probably ninety per cent of the students were present the whole nine years, there are no secrets.

Everybody knows everything about everyone else: successes, failures, boyfriends, girlfriends, sport heroes and zeros, wimps, tough guys, math wizards, and who did what to whom, when, where, and how.

To have your grammar school career decapitated, as mine was, in the bottom of the ninth inning was such a weird and dislocating experience that I didn’t know what to do with myself—how to feel—what to say—and what to do at recess, especially.

People avoided me, like I had something contagious. People I’d known seven, eight or nine years. In a few months I’d be out of that place, move to Hyde Park with my father and start a new chapter of my life as a freshman at the University of Chicago’s Laboratory School, or Lab School, as it was more commonly known.

With the exception of a life long classmate who was also going there, a very nice girl named Kathy Sloan, I only saw about twenty of my former classmates in the forty years to come. Over eighty per cent of the students I’d been with since 1955, and perhaps ninety-nine per cent of the teachers, after one last visit to the school two years later in 1966, I never saw again.

But just before that change was to happen, I had to graduate from that miserable institution.

And just before we graduated, there was a graduation party, and dance, the day before.

The dance was held in the gym, during the day, while the sun was bright and the whole gym was lit up and cheery with a yellow-orange tint giving a wonderful glow to that sterile, cavernous room. I was uncharacteristically cheerful, so happy to being so close to gone.

I was all dressed up in clean black slacks, with a cranberry colored jacket my mother probably bought me to wear at Passover. It was an awful color, but I didn’t care. Freedom was just hours away. Despite my fall from grace–or whatever one could call it– I was given a last minute honor. A teacher was retiring, and requested that I be the one to escort her to the party in the gym, where she would be fussed over by the faculty

So, which teacher was it that asked for me?

Was it the one who was so incensed at my inability to properly pronounce the word “poem” to her satisfaction, even though I was actually writing them at the time, that she refused to read my poems for the rest of my time in that grade? No, not that long forgotten sweetheart.

Was it the gentle, middle-aged teacher with the plump figure that perspired so profusely, especially through her brassiere that her breasts, nice breasts, resembled bull’s eyes?

Nope.

Was it the teacher that hit me across the hands with a wooden yardstick over some minor infraction, that I then reported to the principal, after reminding them that this school was in fact a public, and not a Catholic School, and that I would not tolerate being smacked by a teacher for any reason?

That principal gave that teacher such a thorough talking to, while our whole class waited outside in the hallway for a whole hour, that that teacher never spoke to me again, even when I came back to visit the school two years later, she resolutely refused to let me enter her classroom.

No, it wasn’t her, either.

Was it the tall, extraordinarily statuesque teacher in the upper grades with magnificent breasts so large that they appeared to be two rockets about to be launched off her chest?

The same memorable teacher with the acid tongue and the white streak in her black hair that made her resemble a very sexy Bride of Frankenstein?

The very same teacher who taught the sex education classes, thank God, and helped rivet the boys’ attention to every precise detail as no other teacher could possible have done?

No, not her, the Raquel Welch of the seventh grade.

No, it was the sweet and very kind Mrs. Hoffman, eternally blond even into her sixties, whom had requested of the principal MY arm as her escort, as we walked down the long hallway to the gym. She was my fourth grade teacher, and had always appreciated my artwork, ironically, under the present circumstances.

I had made many seasonally themed murals for her when I was in her class, on these large, cork display boards in the halls, about four feet high by six feet wide. She was so taken by my “talent”, I guess, that for years afterward, she’d pull me out of other teacher’s classrooms, when I was in fifth, sixth and even seventh grade, to help her with her assigned seasonal displays in the school’s hallways.

I guess this extended artistic relationship, which was unique in the school between a student and a teacher, went unnoticed by the school’s administration, or maybe I never would have been suspended, and demoted.

Perhaps they could have fired that other damn “art teacher” instead.

That plan certainly would have had my vote.

Now, why did Mrs. Hoffman do that?

Could it be that she was aware of what had happened to me, her pet?

Was it a slap at the faculty for the whole bizarre incident?

I’ll never know.

I never asked.

I was fourteen and took each day as it came.

I didn’t analyze things that much.

But I was, and am, very grateful to that wise and wonderful Mrs. Hoffman for giving me a warm moment of positive attention at the very last minute of my time, in that cold, cold school.

After Mrs. Hoffman was honored in a brief ceremony in the gym, and she took her seat, the school band began playing, and the graduates-to-be began pairing up and dancing.

 

 Longtime girlfriends and boyfriends held onto each other and slow danced, while most of the boys and girls hung close to the walls, and watched.

I was feeling pretty good by then.

I wasn’t much of a dancer, but my mother had sent me to Fazio’s School of Dance the year before so I could dance a little at my own Bar Mitzvah. I knew the box step and the twist and so I asked a few of the more approachable girls if they’d dance with me. Maybe I was irresistibly cheerful, or funny, or something, but several girls actually accepted my invitation and danced with me.

After about an hour of whirling around, and fooling around, I remember I turned my cranberry-colored jacket inside out, and wore it with it’s satiny lining on the outside. The purple and white lining made me look a little like an Uncle Sam cartoon. Some kids laughed at this, even some teachers, and I felt good.

Almost every girl had matched up with a boy and everyone was dancing and having a pretty good time.

Everyone knew the clock was ticking, and that in twenty-four hours this would all be history for them.

Then, suddenly I saw her from the corner of my eye, sitting all alone, very erect, very crisp and clean in her pastel dress with neat little white gloves on, and her white-blond hair with its thin braids wrapped tightly around her head, like the young farm girl from the movie “Heidi”.

It was Katherine Evans.

The dance was two hours old, nearly over, and not one boy had asked her to dance.

But she just sat there, bravely, waiting, waiting, and showing no emotion, like a pale, sad statue in a park.

I thought to myself, this is no good at all.

For her to end eight or nine years at this damn school completely ignored?

I wouldn’t stand for it.

Filled with bravado, I somehow gathered up the courage to approach the unapproachable girl. I walked right up to her, in my ridiculous inside-out cranberry jacket with its satiny purple and white stripes shiny in the afternoon sunlight, and stopped in front of her.

“Katherine”, I asked.

“Would you like to dance with me?”

She slowly looked up, like I’d broken her trance, like I’d startled her, opened her blue eyes and looked into mine. She nodded, wordlessly, and rose, offering me her white-gloved hand. Very formal. Very reserved.

I held her hand in mine and led her over to where people were dancing, and put my other arm very gently around her waist, like she was porcelain, like she could break. It was a slow dance and we began to move, slowly, smoothly, dancing around and around, moving across the dance floor to the soft old tune.

I held her waist a little closer and her hand a little tighter as the music played on and then Katherine smiled at me, put her head on my shoulder and leaned on me just a bit, this girl I never knew, and we danced some more, but slower.

I felt very warm, very protective, very good. I could feel that girl’s smile all over me, like a glow.

Some other kids stopped dancing and began to watch us: two strange birds holding on to each other in that big, old gym. We danced one more slow dance, and I led her back to her seat, as the party was ending. I held her hand as we walked, and then held it as she seated herself, very properly, like something from fifty years before.

I thanked her for the dance and she looked up at me, and smiled, her pretty white teeth showing behind her red lips, her delicate blue eyes sparkling in the bright sunlight.

Thank you, Bob”, she said, saying my name for the first time, ever, in her soft, sandpapery voice.

“Thank you very much.”

I shook her hand and walked away.

The dance was over.

Eighth grade was over.

When I reached the other side of the gym to retrieve my coat to go home, suddenly, there was Mr. Mazzucca, very spiffy in his party clothes, looking handsome with his dark hair combed back, glistening.

“Bob”, he said, grabbing my arm, very firmly, turning me to him.

“You did a wonderful thing.”

“You were very good.”

He smiled at me, let go of my arm, and walked away.

Only kind thing he ever said to me.

Does one good deed truly bring another?

As we all slowly filed out of the gymnasium, I looked around and found Katherine in the crowd. She didn’t see me, but I could see her, and she was smiling.

Still smiling.

I thought about her, and all the years of her isolation, her inability to connect with the other kids, her self-imposed prison where she couldn’t figure out how to act, what to say, how to be, just to make her lonely life more bearable.

Just to be happy and wanted.

To be part of the gang.

And I saw, like a light going on in my brain, that Katherine Evans was just like me.

She was just…like me.

 

The fast track.

The Chosen few.

The other thirteen selected kids that didn’t need the “firm” hand of Mr. Mazzucca to keep them in line.

What about them?

One became an accountant.

One became a stockbroker.

Two became lawyers.

Two died early from disease.

Some, I never saw or heard about again.

Two went to prison for one reason or another.

If you include me back in that special group of students, then I, too, am not unfamiliar with sudden encounters with the Chicago Police Department I’ve been arrested several times, beaten, handcuffed, thrown in paddy-wagens, fingerprinted and locked into a cell, where the bed was a flat grey metal slab, with dozens of quarter-sized holes cut into it, so nothing could be hidden under it.

I’ve had thirty-seven operations, among other misfortunes.

Some successes, too.

Married the best, most beautiful woman on the planet.

I ran an international newsstand for twenty years, a world travel foreign language bookstore for six years, and, since 1985, a collectable magazine and poster mail order business. I never know exactly what to say on the Internal Revenue Service form that asks: Occupation?

I believe almost all of the fourteen of us were Jewish.

Perhaps being the “Chosen People” isn’t always as wonderful a thing as it sounds.

But then, what do I know?

I never saw Katherine Evans again after graduation, the next day.

She went off to Bowen High School like almost all of our class, all divisions. I went to Lab School in Hyde Park, for the next four years.

I haven’t always been the best person in the world. I haven’t made all the right decisions when I had to, and I haven’t always been nice when I could have been.

But when I think about the right things I have done, that might have made a difference in someone else’s life, when I had the chance to make someone else happy, I sure am glad I had the nerve to ask Katherine Evans to dance with me.

Her pretty smile, her light blue eyes, her soft gloved hand are still with me, fifty years later.

 

 

 Author’s Note: Robert M. Katzman, currently adrift and seeking some meaning in something besides marriage, is a Chicago writer and poet, and is available for hire to read his work. he has sold over 6,000 of his five published books and is now working on a 6th, all non-fiction.

He can be reached at: robertmkatzman@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments »

Comment by Veenk

May 30, 2017 @ 6:57 am

Bob,
a wonderful recollection, captured second by second. It took me back to Mark Twain grade school, two art teachers, and even a charming girl named Kay who was rarely asked to dance except by me. (By 7th grade she was taller than any boy in school, except me.)
I shared your isolation on the day of JFK’s death. We had just started basic training at Ft Leonard Wood, and for 8 weeks were not allowed to have radios or see TV. I walked to the PX each day for the Tribune and Sun-Times and the LIFE with the Zapruder cover.
Wishing you well in yet another transition. Keep writing.
=veenk

Comment by Bob

May 30, 2017 @ 9:09 am

Fixed. Thanks for the heads up, too. I posted it very late last night. The end of it always kills me.
B

Comment by Don Larson

May 30, 2017 @ 4:38 pm

Hi Bob,

I recognize most of the characters you mention. I liked Mr. M too. It was great to have a male teacher to resist the feminization attempts the female teachers tried to manifest.

The day Kennedy died is indelible in my memory. Most of the graduation dance is recalled too.

Keep writing my friend. Lot’s more yet inside awaiting our eyes.

Warmest regards,

Don

Comment by Katrinka Threet

May 31, 2017 @ 7:40 pm

Another interesting and well written story or accounting of a portion of your life. For the first time in my life, someone….you have given me the feeling that I could write my story and that it just might not kill me to get it out. Thank you again Bob, I really do enjoy your writing!

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>