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  • Writer's pictureWJ King


As those of us fortunate enough to reach the ‘golden years’ or whatever in hell crowdin’ seventy is called, we fondly recall high school graduation. The senior year preparation for higher learning, off to a job or perhaps the military. Senior pictures to be taken...that takes me back to a memory of a cordial conversation with my guidance counselor. Miss Spinneweber was almost giddy with the news:”Bill, you’re aware one of the responsibilities included in a student’s senior year, is making an appointment for their senior picture.” I responded in the affirmative. “Well, you’re not going to have to make that appointment as you are not graduating with your class.” Had a knee slap not been considered poor form, I’m sure the old girl would have included one.

Panic ensued,so I naturally reported to the Village Bar, a block over on Madison Avenue. Had the news been more cheerful, for me not Miss Spinnewebber, I’d have adjourned to the Village for a celebratory quaff. What I lacked in academics I made up for in adaptability. I accepted my lot like the trooper I was and remained. It had always escaped me why some were in such a rush to get out of school and get a job, save. I knew I would be an active participant in the work a day world for the duration once out of school. That is why I passed on the exodus in the ninth grade when a car wash began paying the princely sum of $1.90 per hour on Hurd Ave., remember, it was 1967.

After football practice one day, a career cut short after the better part of a week, some outrageous tale about academic shortcomings or something or other, a ne'er do well, organized a team outing. To the Roxy Burlesque Theater on E. 9th St. no less. The rapscallion’s name? For the sake of anonymity let's call him Tony D. Well, let me tell you that after spying a grown woman’s bare nipple, I went home and threw out the work I had been doing in preparation for the seminary. Rape, rob and pillage was all I knew. I still have episodes to this very day. It was no wonder I turned to the devil’s brew for solace.

I had sunk so low, as to attend the senior stag night. I admonished all attendees, “would your poor mother approve?” Somehow, through mistaken identity probably, I was tossed into the gulag with some bad actors. Harley Brown pleaded to the gendarmes, “had I any idea there would be beer..” Kim Richmond's response to the gestapo’s torturous methods was escape, twice. Much like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape, he re-entered the cell block victoriously giving Harley and myself a wink. Aha, he knew what was outside the walls and would report.

In the morning with enough aliases to fill a police blotter, we reported to Huron court for adjudication, as prescribed by law. Some of the aliases provided by draft cards I had manufactured. I called ‘Normie from the Bronx Rados’ and cryptically told him who I was and needed a ride. He secured me safe passage with Nancy Graham I think. A big go to guy even then old Normie. Cathie Wagner and I made it to the Prom though I think she was hot for Bill Hughes, who could blam’er. But that’s just the way I recall it and I am on in years. wjk/8/10/21/600

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