Memory Lane - James Phoenix
 
Hi troopers,

The process of writing a memoir is a real stroll down memory lane. I grew up in the 50’s and my well meaning parents, trying to give me opportunities they never had, paid extra to send me to Parochial School, so anti-everything that wasn’t Catholic nuns could hit me with sticks...God bless those saintly women.

I had eight years of that and then right out of the 8th grade, one full year in what they called a junior seminary, where I lived away from home, wore nothing but black, went to mass in the morning and novena at night, except for Sundays when we went to mass twice. There was silence at all meals while one of us was selected to read scripture and of course confession seven days a week...It was rough coming up with anything to confess, but we all did the best we could.

Finally though a fluke, I escaped to Public High School in my second year. You didn’t have to be Catholic to go there, but it wasn’t a whole lot less rigid. Both the principal and assistant principal were bona fide fascists.

I once sat through a lecture by our assistant principal, a Mr. Mahan, where he said: “Joe McCarthy was a great hero for all true Conservatives.”

I fit in perfectly because I was tall and blond, with a close crop haircut, just long enough to put a sharp part in and a genuine goodie, goodie. I ended up as class president my senior year and was selected for the prestigious  “Marshall Staff” which amounted to the school police force.

We had our own special homeroom and wore green blazers with the school logo on the breast pocket for special assemblies and events. For every day, we wore “arm bands” when we directed traffic in the corridors.

I did go through my adolescent rebellion, as we all do...But I was thirty-three at the time.

So I got along just fine...But God help you if you didn’t fit in, if you were in anyway different. When I was in high school, it was a very good plan to keep your head down.

It’s a changing world and it’s changing for the better.  We were at the mall last night and there was the usual selection of bops going through the puberty rites, a rough time in anybody’s life.

One kid in particular stood out, little skinny guy, black wife beater T, tattoos everywhere and a beyond the pale eight-inch loud pink lacquered Mohawk, chatting away with a bunch of his pals, no problem.

When I was in high school, if they let him walk through the door in the first place, (they wouldn’t,) they could never leave him unsupervised for a minute...He’d be bounced off a wall in a millisecond.

Now there’s real tolerance...I’d call that progress.
Susan Thomas
3/19/2013 23:20:45

Wondering if you're the James B who was in NHS '66?

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3/20/2013 08:18:27

Yes, sans the bead of course...My nom de plume is James Phoenix. Turns out James Brown was already taken by the other hardest working man in show business...It's been 47 years, but didn't we go out one time?...I had had high hopes for a tempestuous affair, but as I recall, there was nothing wrong with your eye sight.
JB/JP

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