I freely acknowledge a tremendous debt of gratitude to Mt Hermon for the unfathomable decision to allow me to graduate. And to Wendy Bullard, who was generous enough to allow me to live.
Some of the better times: Living across the hall in Crossley from the hilarious Henry Russell and Derricott Morrison. Hanging out in front of a fireplace for hours with Wendy. Getting stoned in Wallace and hearing Sweet Baby James for the first time on some nameless person’s excellent stereo. REALLY enjoying breakfast afterward. Escorting Margie Vaughan to be something like runner-up Winter Carnival Queen (her, not me).
The eye-opening quality of Con Law and of one particular anti-war protest day. Frisbee football. Getting tossed into rivers by 8 oarsmen after winning JV races, especially one in which — at the finish — my encouragement of the oarsmen had turned a trifle colorful. Learning to write a little, with at least some encouragement. Making speaker cabinets with tools borrowed from the school shop, and having the school’s heavy duty vacuum choke on the sawdust. Working stage crew, and seeing Ed Dehn’s commitment to acting. The incredible patience of our Swiss French teacher, M. Weber, who referred to us in derisive tones as “the Andrews (or whoever) business” and simply wouldn’t allow me not to finish. Steve Johnson, John Hargreaves and the other Lord of the Flies veterans of sophomore year at Oak Knoll turning out to be decent people after all.
Some of the, uh, fun and formative times, sophomore (my first) year: Being trapped on the Oak Knoll garage roof by the duplicity of John H. Mixers, the fifth ring of hell. Being tried and convicted in a kangaroo court of kicking Steve J in the nuts (after he’d been inspired, while waiting in class for a tardy English teacher, to do his best to force a blackboard eraser down my throat – who remembers why?). Finding my baseball glove filled with Prell.
To be direct: NMH is an invaluable place, and was invaluable for me. Leaving all the rest aside, in the most important ways it was tolerant, flexible and positive, especially early on at a time when I was distracted by stuff at home and I’d imagine prohibitively tough to engage. And it was rich with smart people, opportunity and resources. I emerged properly scarred and relatively prepared. What more could we have asked? ______________________
Correction note: the initial version of this piece reflected my inaccurate recollection that Margie was the actual Winter Carnival Queen. That honor was in fact won by Andy Margolis. Apologies to Andy, and kudos to Alex Lotocki, and his scary memory for catching the error.