Friday, June 29, 2012

High School

I went to Elgin Academy, in Elgin, Illinois…a co-ed,

boarding and day prep school. I never knew what connection

the name had to the Elgin Marbles, which

I saw in the British Museum…or what it meant that

I lived on Elgin Street in Newton, Mass for a year….

It was a haven for the kids of screwed up rich

families from Chicago. Morton Salt,

Clark Equipment, Oberheidt Coal, Johnson

and Johnson scones were all my fellow

students. The only memory I have from the

first two years, is that some seniors took

me down to a liquor store where they got a

drunk to buy them some booze. They had

me in a long winter coat….filled it up with

bottles. I walked back to school. It was a

beautiful spring day. I walked past a group

of students playing softball in their shorts

….clinking a bit as I walked. I completed my

mission, and was rewarded with not

getting what I would have gotten if I hadn’t.

My junior year, things got more interesting.

There was a gang of whites…including

a mafia lawyer’s son…who went out into the

town and got in fights and got beat up

once or twice. There was a group founded by

my Japanese friend, Ronald, two years

older than the rest of us. We were the

“Kaminaris” (Japanese for lightning), and we

had cards printed up. I got into trouble with

them, of which I will only reveal that

entailed an interview with the Headmaster and

other adults…but I held my mud and

showed my mettle.

I had one great teacher in high school.

I think I was lucky. Alan Osborne attended

Brown. and came to Elgin Academy my junior

year. He was a spark plug of a man,

short, and full of energy and humor.

I remember meeting him for the first time on

campus, and he introduced himself to me.

It was the first time I remember ever

being treated as an adult by an adult.

I was in six plays the last two years of

school, which he directed. That’s where

I learned to love acting.

I graduated in 1967. I had to give the speech

to the attendees, as the Valedictorian.

Someone gave me a copy of Look magazine,

that had an article about the hippies

in California. I used that as the basis for

my speech. I said something to the effect that

my generation didn’t want to do what was expected

of us…that we wanted to find our

own lives aside from the material success that

stood in front of us. My father didn’t

say anything, but I know he didn’t like what

I said. Mr. Osborn thought it was great.


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