Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blackboard Jungle

I wrote a Blog in late January about getting an unexpected call from an old High School friend whom I hadn’t seen since 1973, when I returned to Chicago for my cousin’s funeral. My cousin was a decorated Chicago Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty.

Today I received a call from another old High School buddy. It seems that Joe has been busy tracking down old friends (using the internet) and is passing my telephone number to them. When you are not working and have nothing to do, you tend to attempt to relive your past. I know this is true because I have done the same with my old Army buddies.

I had a lot of acquaintances in High School, I was a popular person. But I could count my real friends on one hand. Most of my friends from my neighborhood went to Catholic High Schools; I was in the Chicago Public School system.

Ted was my second best friend in High School. In our conversation, he asked me if I recalled our senior prank. It was the custom in the early 1960’s for the graduating seniors to do something outlandish and to not get caught doing the deed.

Led and inspired by our friend Wayne we decided to confiscate every Black Board eraser in the School. We found two unused lockers on the third floor where we could store them. Four of us were involved in this prank, but we had help from other classmates in procuring the erasers.

The teachers were going crazy without their erasers. Some of them were using dish towels to wipe the blackboards. Another teacher would use his shirt sleeve.

The last eraser was in the desk of our Journalism instructor, who we called Superman. The reference was to Clark Kent – the mild mannered reporter from the Daily Planet. Like Clark Kent, he was tall and wore glasses. He kept the eraser locked in a desk drawer when he was not in the room. Unfortunately he let someone clean the board and she gave it to me when his back was turned.

We reached our goal and eventually sent an anonymous note to the principal, telling him where the erasers could be found. It was a good senior prank and we never got caught.

Five years ago in a Cicero pizzeria, three couples plus two of us single guys met for a mini reunion. All but one of the 8 people had been classmates.

One of the women that attended this mini reunion, sat behind me in many of my classes (we were seated alphabetically) in High School. She would stab in the back with the sharp point of her compass. I mentioned this fact at our mini reunion asking her why she hated me. And with her husband sitting next to her she said:” You’re so stupid, didn’t you realized that I wanted to be with you.”, “I wanted to be your steady girlfriend.” Her husband just laughed. I wonder what she does to him to show her affection.

The other single guy at this mini reunion was my best friend in High School; we called him Bones (because he played the Trombone). He told me that he had been telling stories about me for nearly 40 years. I hadn’t seen him since 1964. He was still the same guy that I knew back then, only older. He is now a social worker involved with batter wives. He has never been married and has no children that he admits to.

Today, it was good talking to Ted again. I hadn’t spoken to him since 1981 or 1982. We’ll probably get together for a pizza when I go to Chicago this summer for my annual Family Reunion.

The Beach Bum


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