Friday, December 05, 2014



OAKWOOD School School

is situated on the eastern banks of the Hudson River, a few miles south of the small city of Poughkeepsie.
According to Wikipedia,_New_York 
“the name Poughkeepsie derives from a word in the Wappinger language, roughly U-puku-ipi-sing, meaning "the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place", referring to a spring or stream feeding into the Hudson River, south of the present downtown area” – close to Oakwood School in fact, although I can’t say I ever saw that spring while the school certainly provided equally fine shelter as a good reed roof. The first thing, though, that I noticed about Oakwood Friends (1) School was that as you looked down, through sloping apple orchards, at the Hudson were three huge red letters spelling 
IBM, forever impinging your eyes, especially at night, and that these ever-present letters I B M were on top of a building that stretched what seemed to be a mile along the river and that in front of that building – it was a weekend, and what with my mother and stepfather stationed in the Far East, it was aunt “Baby” who dropped me off – extended an expanse of black macadam, the parking lot for the IBM workers, and sporting area to be for me when I became stir-crazy, as I had already in the doll’s house in West Orange (but surprisingly not at the previous boarding school, Ploen) and let myself drop out of the first floor window, just as I had from the doll’s house in Sour Orange, and went bicycling night times – until I had had my fill of absolute, self-designated freedom, also for my mind to roam, and then crawled back into bed.                                                                                                                          The true welcome accorded me at Oakwood School, in Fall 1952, subsequent to my traumatic two years in Los Estados Unidos de Norte Americano in Sour Orange New Jersey, acted as a kind of instant antacid, but also stunned, overwhelmed nearly as much as its opposite had two years prior. If the first two years left new life-long scars (and a frequent thought during these mounting years has been that I never managed to overcome the shock of Sour Orange after the high hopes that had been invested in the United States where I felt I had successfully escaped the murderous country of my origin) the second two years, at Oakwood, healed a few of the scars, without inflicting any others, though Oakwood, then, overall, provided far too optimistic an experience in that it gave you the idea that the country as a whole might be as comparatively idyllic.
  With my parents off in Korea (my stepfather an OSS/CIC/Corps of Engineer Officer helping to construct the peace village Panmunjon), aunt Baby, my mother's youngest sister, who, weirdly I already felt then, seemed to favor me over Alexander (the one son of hers she had taken along when she too had emigrated after finding an American officer to have an affair with after my mother was having her affair) dropped me off in Pow-Keepsee, a funny name for a town, and the first view of Oakwood - the red 
IBM letters of the plant by the Hudson glow forever in the night of your mind - apple orchards stretching up hillsides - will forever remain the first image.            Welcome was to find for a room-mate someone who became a friend, Kurt Anschel, a reader who introduced me to Socialist literature. Kurt felt that he could make any of the girls, and I think he was right if you were a good boyfriend to them, and he had a black girlfriend, Susy McClain, inter-racial and ethnic dating became a norm that was taken for normal. Kurt’s parents, Romanian Jews, had fought on the Republican side of the Spanish civil war. He may have been related to Paul Celan (the name Celan is based on his real name Anschel), and we tried to explore that line of thinking when we re-connected shortly before his premature death – Kurt now one of many ghosts with whom I commune, via unfinished internal conversations.            Overwhelming was the welcome accorded by the girls who seemed to think that they were doing me a favor in electing someone, who had not the faintest of the job, class vice president! (I eventually gained some footing becoming the photo editor of the Yearbook). Little did they know the problem child who arrived in their midst whom they elected, apparently entirely based on looks, without consulting me or the least knowledge that I hadn’t the faintest about such roles. Had I been a roué oh what a good time I could have had! Most of them were only too eager to be womanized and then of course, usually, have that one roué be their very own squeeze. Girls started getting pregnant a few years after the class of 1954 graduated.                     Unpredictable to myself, skittish, I must have seemed to be, inexplicably, even more so to the girls, but that I always seemed to need a g.f. Lynn Heiman not so long ago mentioned that I seemed crazy.
So what did I first do?  Whom did I want to marry first? (Why not all of them, they were all so pretty and bright!) who had only had the most unhappy and ludicrous experiences with American girls in Sour Orange?
Regarded from the point of view of later experience of doing readings and putting on plays at colleges I think I was welcomed as “fresh meat” by a distaff side that was a bit bored with the boys their familiars. 
I think I announced upon arriving that I was interested in sex, but confronted with such a wealth of eager female flesh I picked Melinda who if there was one who resembled in puritanism my governess, New England Melinda was it – the name says it all to a New Englander. Of course it did not last long. – Melinda, as attractive as a profoundly militantly puritanically imprinted girl can be, not even a kiss, I doubt that we ever as much held hands. The most puritanical of the crew, Melinda Getty, the governess side of my feminine equation, I think not only surprised the quickly dropped Melinda, later during a much-welcomed panty raid if it wasn’t Melinda who broke up Anita and my clinch in a closet. Not only actual governesses abounded, such as teacher Paul Taylor, but self-appointed students – officious Bob Auriti - and I clearly recall that within minutes of Alice and I disappearing (onto the floor of a classroom - from the headmaster's house perspective) there he was the worried headmaster to hasten an unclinching.
At another one of the many make-out parties off campus, either in N.Y. or at a home of an off-campus student in the Poughkeepsie area, I hug Kathy and start to breathe heavily, like a rutting male elephant, heave: everybody giggles, as I can these many years later. When a proverbial Ms. No interrupts a make-out session at a hotel in N.Y. and my hand retreats from Suzy's vagina as soon as Ms. No is back out of the room I resume but only hold Suzy’s delicious full breast, in an unusual fashion, from in back, Suzy exclaims, “What an awkward position” – as indeed it was, which elicits even stronger giggles and presumptions. I shy back at the invitation to spend the night with her, perhaps because there are witnesses in the elevator. Skittish, no? Sufficiently skittish to drive myself crazy. Yet there were occasional moments of absolute chasteness: I hold Kay, dressed only in pajama tops, who - I have not the faintest - might not have been equally chastely inclined. Her room mate, Suzy McClain has taken a powder to facilitate the assignation. Lots of night traffic between the dormitories.
What a hot house it was, and what a hot house adolescence is. Tales of sexual exploits, of what a couple had done after graduation abounded, were looked forward to be duplicated. - Anticipation. Lady Chatterly’s Lover, the Olympia Press edition was smuggled in, Henry Miller. Sinking into the moss at a picnic with luscious French Monique, whose breasts I had been caressing while she became immensely meltingly excited, I notice a scar on her cheek, a burn mark – and I shy back – the company of the scarred I would keep, and eventually I would understand and appreciate at least some of my own scars, or anyhow think I did. I miss Monique even now as well as all these beautiful girls, all of them eminently marriageable but for one whom the boys cruelly and obviously called “Busheltits” – who was said to sleep with her father and was too dangerously promiscuous, even - at that time - for me. The hottest couple was Liz & Lew, who had to “be doing it”, they were so wrapped up in each other and flushed. Ready for the sexual revolution of the sixties, imminent in retrospect. All that was needed was sound birth control.
I, who feels he can recall every kiss, was easily scared off, insecure. So were some of the girls of course. If the pill or other form of secure birth control had been available I don’t think any harm, but the opposite, would have accrued if instead of necking in the hallway by the coat rack we had all made love. How many of us recall that aspect of our lives without becoming hypocritical?
The dances in the all-purpose gym meeting hall basketball court were no sock hops, but transpired at a snail's pace as bodies ground into each other.
Ginny, a sophisticate from Manhattan thought me a country bumpkin. She and Jed and a few other from Manhattan had a leg up on the rest. Mark Strand’s sister was completely womanly in every respect. Such maturity was unusual, also in college among the forever adolescent population. Upon my second Thanksgiving at Oakwood, I and Alice, who were sort of engaged as it were and not just in heavy petting - this was suddenly serious stuff, we were talking about how many kids we would have! One of every kind is what Alice wanted, the early rainbow coalition spirit prevailed at Oakwood, you went to U.N. conferences – After all the petting we had done at Oakwood Alice & I did not instantly hop into bed when we got to her parents’ place in Connecticut. However, every chance we got we were entwined on a chaise with our hands on each other's genitals. Alice's parents wondered about this and Alice said we didn't have much of a chance to be physical at Oakwood, which I don't think was really the case. But that her parents didn’t seem to mind was nice. When they were gone one afternoon I asked Alice to undress, I finally wanted to have a look what a mature girl looked like in the complete nude, and then kissed her to the side of her bush, her groin - I was apprehensive about cunnlingus, Kurt had mentioned that he was wondering whether he would ever, perhaps if he loved a woman very much was his conclusionary comment. Not knowing about the clitoris I hadn't the faintest why women might enjoy a man going down on them, the fact that the urethra is right next to the clitoris made for uncleanliness! So why? However, a pleasant ocean odor emanated from the region, as I had tasted it on my fingers from petting: licking my fingers in front of Alice elicited the words: "How sensual you are, Michael" and may have sealed the deal for Alice slipping into my bed that night, and my rather stupidly humping away, and after I had come asking her whether she too had had an orgasm. She had not, but at least I didn't seem to be selfish. The physical act once performed was a bit disappointing, its psychological ramifications evidently anything but. For, after we had finally consummated I subsequently became so over-emotional - we had gone to the Big City that weekend and seen The Robe at Radio City Music Hall - I broke up with her: we are in the most typical Freudian territory where each first major romance tends to run aground the complex’s prohibitions. (However, I had not only the frightening reaction, but that extra complicating fillip, the “Governess No” – if not out there in real life then in my head and bones – absent it appears at age 12 it had then surfaced.) Alice of the long cheerleader’s legs, of the “we wear short shorts, itsy-bitsy teenzy-weeny bikini” was hurt and I am still full of regrets. Had I been half-way mature and secure we could have had a steady affair, her room-mate Carol King was most obliging in making herself scarce for such events. When Alice & I walked around campus entwined as only teenagers can be, Mr. Taylor the one puritan amongst the teachers glared fiercely.  
Also, a first, I experienced hound-dogging by male friends! Fred See. Jamie Johnston. That was new to Oedipally extremely well-brought-up me.       Subsequent to the brief Melinda non-event, my first real yen was for luscious oriental Moroccan princess Nadja, who I think - though she, like everyone, else was willing to cuddle at the coat racks - had been consigned to a prince, it might as well have been at birth. The mention of the nightly coat rack sessions brings back the recollection of seeing Big Cuban clown Otto from in back, pretending to cuddle, embracing his own ears! And makes for forever comic interruptus when I think of that nightly ritual!  A really big fellow, a hi yella Cuban, whom I regret not having gotten to know better, pretending to be a couple by wrapping his big arms around his head in such a way as to make it appear that he was not alone – but was he actually lonely occurs to me now, or just being the – lonely? - clown?). For some others I was too slow and tentative, for others too fast. In general what was so delightful was that they were all bright and that this lightened class work to no end.
Ben, the son of the president of a Southern black college, shy about breaking the color barrier altogether, found Nadja’s North African tan to be the perfect compromise. Was Melinda marriageable? I imagine so, Puritans did perpetuate themselves, and perhaps she found a man who softened her cutting edge. Later I would spot her at Bryn Mawr, but the crowd was too large for her ever to interfere again. Nancy M. was then my one good intelligent friend where sex played no role, since Nancy at the time was not only not interested in sex but had a good mind and was interested in writing.               If West Orange had had a single live teacher (such a shock after postwar German boarding castle Ploen!) I cannot recall a single teacher but one (or for that matter, person) whom I found objectionable at Oakwood, or person the way I came to dislike others later on in life or had previously, and there was at least one life-changing encounter, with Nisei literature teacher Yoshiro Sonbanmatsu. I was a Joycean by the time I graduated and had started to write again, in English now, after a four year lay-off. Terry Matern, a victim of WW II coral fever courtesy of his work as a Navy Diver, is responsible for introducing me to Whitman who infused me for many years – ah those pantheistic days that experience with particulars then grinds down during the passing years into discerning differentiation. John Mason, who taught French and Art, pointed out, not so incorrectly, that I seemed to have a tad of steel in me that might be enabling in the Big City, although he might not believe some of the monsters ill-prepared me then encountered. Yet the most and actually only useful thing I learned was to type, from Mrs. Newlin, the wife of our excellent history professor Dr. Newlin with a deep affinity for the New Deal which appreciation I took away with me, until I realized that the New Deal had actually saved Capitalism’s ass! Scoring in the 99th percentile on my American history college boards – did not give me a swollen head, all I had done was read the New York Times for nearly four years and the textbook in its entirety, but surprised someone who had been in the country such a short time that he could score that high. Did that mean that practically no one knew anything at all? So it turned out to be. - But there appeared for senior year a formidable East Indian former high school principal autocrat who came to teach algebraics, the bearing of a British drill sergeant, straight-backed to the point of concave! We took one look at each other – and that was the end of my career as a math genius. A weird moment for sure to feel all desire and ability disappear in one fell. But that was entirely my problem, that I and authoritarians instantly locked horns, in this instance to the detriment of my abilities. Still puzzling even now that unique moment. All I can do is speculate, and I do.    Not just were the teachers as fine as need be, but suddenly I had two literature teachers, in succession. Yoshi taught a senior course where you encountered Ibsen, Samuel Butler, the Greek tragedies, Gide, Joyce (which segued nicely into the looming college Freshmen humanity course) all the way to Finnegan Wake’s Anna Livia Plurabelle – I became a life-long Joycean, the Russians – and I made first forays into writing in English – after the burst at Plön at age 12 I had ceased to write once in Sour Orange. When I happened to read that Bruckner was so grateful to someone for having performed one of his symphonies that he gave him a Thaler I took that as the theme of my first American story – I was going to be an editor in that field, a servant. Marcus Aurelius’ writings became a lode star, as did Laotse’s The Way - I, it turned out, was of the rural Tao, with a bit of the military cast, erotics the driving force, all this made crude sense considering my origins.
   Although Oakwood was a school of serious readers – Kay and her love for Thomas Wolfe, John Bernstein and his Camus, Kurt and his Farell come to immediate mind – that is not to say that the obverse of such interest would not be very much in evidence as well, the inevitably soft-headed goo of Kahlil Gibran… the soft underbelly – are there “hard” underbellies? not even a turtle has them! – but there has to be at least one animal that developed just a hard underbelly, no? - Feminine loving disposition can take some odd routes.
For reason entirely obscure at this point, perhaps it was a simple vacuum that needed to be filled, Kurt and John Ernst and I became a kind of power threesome on the Oakwood Campus during our senior year. The election of the next president was upon us and the threesome decided to teach the school a lesson in democracy. We nominated and backed someone completely unfit for the office, who won – and then we pointed out to our mates that they - sheeples would be the current designation - had slavishly followed the threesome's advice instead of making up their own minds. – I doubt that the three eminence grise gained much favor with their nasty act; however how did the poor fellow feel who then had to resign?                 There was a soccer team, and better foreign players than I in Khasro Nasr & Sandro Sabaci. Yet I was elected captain senior year, so I can’t have been that awful. As a twelve-year old I had been on the Ploen team that had many a player three and four year older. Yet the two main recollections, or three, of soccer at Oakwood - I think we exclusively played other Quaker and Quakerlike schools - was (1) of futilely seeking to score from six yards out while stuck - slipping and a-sliding around an entirely muddy pitch - the forever emblem of utter frustration, worse than Hamlet, more pathetic! - and (2) having a ball kicked into my testicles, and the ref lifting the elastic on my shorts up and down as I lay on the ground gasping in pain, pretending that providing me with air at my abdomen was what I needed, and the girls, the cheerleaders... giggling, girls are always giggling, why??? Why is all of life so funnee if you are a girl?           I had learned tennis from a famous player early on in life but I don’t think played much tennis at Oakwood. But in my attempt to become an American had already pursued baseball in Sour Orange. My past as a village rock and horse-chestnut tosser and my ability with the javelin made me into an oddly effective relief pitcher at Oakwood – with Benedict as my catcher also the kind of psychological backup which I began to realize was really appreciated, much as Lew sought to instill that kind of support also in himself. My delivery - the sum of numerous throwing activities since early childhood - resulted in a resemblance of a wheeling cricket-toss that proved truly disconcerting to American batters – at least for an inning or two. However, my love of the sidearm persisted, as did the ability of opposing batters, even the worst of them, to belt my side-arm deliveries - which they appeared to be able to see coming from left field heaven - to kingdom come - as I eventually allowed myself to realize. “All the way from left field” as the American expression has it, and had all the time to “tee off” on it, a golfing expression, with zip. My only other athletic achievement consisted of entering a half mile or mile race at a county meet.... and coming from quite a ways off the lead and surpassing everyone at the end, and winning. That come-from-behind win felt surprisingly good and I ought to have kept up running middle distances at Haverford.     There was one time that I was caught outside during my exploration of the IBM macadam expanse, and expelled for a week, but allowed to review a Stravinsky concert in New York City, and not the old Rite of Spring Stravinsky but atonal 12 tone Stravinsky of the 50s: I hadn’t the faintest then what to do with that.                       There were few “Nos” at Oakwood - sex was o.k. up to a point - however going aroaming at night was a definite no no, as was coming back drunk from a weekend, drinking and smoking were more than just frowned upon. Quaker edicts these were said to be. The twice a week Quaker meetings where you might be moved to speak or the spirit moved as of itself, were held in the barn-like gym, which also served as the dance hall, for very very slow, masturbatory type dancing, and not just for basketball games.
  Oakwood may have been a good college prep school but its loving easy-going ways, its integrated student body, its liberal politics did not prepare its students for the world outside its idyllic precinct.
  I think I was commemorated in the Class Yearbook as someone who could criticize at the drop of a hat. I was the yearbook photo editor and the fellow, Hoffman is his name, who was the photographer and who had been in Guatemala when the CIA overthrew that government, made for the one major catastrophe of sorts during my two years. His chemicals exploded in his lab and the men’s dorm had to be evacuated and the men all had to sleep outside. That was the night before graduation and I was too slow for Mustang Sally after picking her up and she wanted me to go down on her. All we did was pet below the waist, and I recall the look on her and Bang and his sleep-mate's- was it Lynn? - face as Sally zipped her pants back up in the morning. – Amazing actually: there is an explosion at the boy’s dorm, the boys have to sleep outside, and the young hussies are roaming around wanting to be picked up! – Actually, somewhat courtly, slow and easy, that was my The Way – always ready for the No to come swooping down, not entirely unuptight.                         Oakwood was also a haven to the children of those persecuted by Senator McCarthy! My early political education in the ravages of fascism re-awakened during the Army-McCarthy hearings. So this too, was Amerika! Shine and Cohn! Bobby Kennedy, the House Un-American committee. I wanted to put on Irwin Shaw's anti-war play Bury the Dead, but the author refused permission. I liked the guy's novels, he wasn't a great artist, but seemed to have his heart and sight in the right place, The Young Lions. Later I met Shaw at a restaurant where writers hung out and had the chance to ask him why he had refused permission back then. He had been afraid, he admitted, he did not want to be one of the hunted, on the black list. Pete Seeger who and The Weavers were blacklisted, came to sing in the all-purpose gym, and as he sang Wimoweh his lean body seemed to shoot up through the ceiling when his tenor hit a hit a high C. How he gazes up to the stars as he appears to ascend to them with his song even now sends shivers up my spine, also the sight of his so prominent Adam’s apple jiggling about! - It was McCarthy time, something sinister began to scratch at my knowledge of the country that I had fled to.                         I became a kind of music impresario and placed loud-speakers outside, broadcasting classical music, on weekends. I had hooked back up with my first American music, Ledbetter, the Blues and Jazz, which I favored with my record collection at Sour Orange, and it made sense that at least one famous folksinger, Bonnie Rait, derives from the school. Wish I’d known that when I heard her at Trancas, on CPH in Malibu, back in the mid 80s!                    As compared to the amorphous thousands of kids of Sour Orange High Oakwood was a small enough school - graduating class of about 25! – to be well defined, also by having a strong international component, European kids of all kinds if you want to include Morocco and Iran as European, I imagine Sam Ho, son of a Nationalist Chinese (Chiang Kai-shek) minister was one of the first of what seems to be a strong East Asia component. I of course welcomed the re-acquaintance with Europe after those two years in Wonder Bread Sour Orange and, considering my family origins, found it “normal” and was very much of the U.N. rainbow coalition disposition. - Camp Pocono had one Ukrainian my age and a Czech tennis coach via the defection of the Czech national tennis team after 1948. Oakwood had foreign teachers as well, not just the East Indian drill sargent; there was a Dutchman, barely remembered, in charge of our dorm one year, Yoshi the Nisei lit teacher, beloved by one and all – had he been interned or volunteered to fight in Europe during WW II? – I forget - a few years ago we were in touch again, but he’d become too uncritical. As a prep school Oakwood had just enough, a tad, of preppiness to leave a small after-taste, that was provided by parents who had been preppy but wanted to acquaint their children with an alternative. The Ernst brothers, John became a good close friend, future Yalies were the prime example and gave you a hint of the species for whom I never developed much liking. Yet thus I made the acquaintance of Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue and Paul Stuart, and Brooks Brothers suits, and then just jackets became part of my uniform attire with denims for many years. I was not entirely unaware of the way I dressed it seems. I even detect a tad of narcissism – I borrowed Suzy McClain's patent leather I think was the material, ultra white shiny Jacket and wore it demonstratively for a week! After Alaska it was Ben Davis jeans, the original gold rush jeans, made of tent denim, when I could obtain them, and safari jackets instead of Brooks Brothers herring bone fabric jackets.
Upon graduating most everybody went to the good eastern schools or Quaker colleges or the like – the girls went to Sara Lawrence, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley Vassar etc., the men to a lot of the equivalents of Oakwood; that is, to Swarthmore, Haverford, Oberlin, Earlham, Antioch – and the many who feared that they would not be accepted by their favored choices applied to the Mississippi School of Mining and Engineering: even now I wonder what those folks in Mississippi thought of all those applications! and I forget if I was even accepted! It was a kind of bitter joke – Mississippi was the most hated state. One summer, shortly after graduating from Haverford, I spent some time in the Louisiana Delta. My friend and I drove back to New York and sped through Mississippi not stopping once. By that time I had also spent an entire year devoted to Faulkner and The South!
Oakwood, as you then start to learn, by way of the kinds of teams you play in soccer and other sports, was and may still be part of a series of Quaker or Quakerlike schools, a cabal ranging as far south as D.C. and north a Boston, a conference of sorts I suppose, Fieldston ethical culture outside NY is the most famous of the lot that did a different way of prepping for college and life, and at Haverford you then made acquaintance with those kindred spirits. Not that I was aware of much of that until later. "And where am I now?" is a question the still so easily disoriented me still ask himself just about every day of his life. Oakwood certainly was not a rich kids school, I'd say its backbone was the professional middle class, well to do, but parents with a definite somewhat socialist or at least very New Deal orientation, plus the Quaker ethos. There was also a side that had local roots. It also gave second chances to kids whom other schools had tossed. I recall a certain Sachs who at once took the girls into the basement of the gym – “into the sack with Sachs” - very ratty looking Sachs did not last long before he got tossed once again. Another kid was reputed to have killed someone, you didn’t inquire how and where and why, but he and his aura turned out not to be psychopath, a regular kid, probably as sex crazed as I considering that he, too, was willing to share Judy during a blizzard that we had her on a table in the library and alternately kissed her – and I have a hunch could have proceeded all the way on a very exceptional night. I became really keen on Judy and we dated for some time – until she got cold feet. Kurt thought we'd looked like such a fine couple!
During one of my nightly forays to the IBM parking lot there was another stir-crazy, a kid from New York, Italian-American, and he was carrying heat! Apparently everyone in his neighborhood did. Kids from the Big City were very different.        I was surprised to read on the Wikipedia entry that Oakwood is the oldest prep school in NY state! And yet still so small! and that it has an endowment of 46 million, a paltry entry that they need to change. Quakers are internationally minded, have been for a long time, at least their liberal faction. They give refuge, aid the destitute, have a long history of it and of the various sects are one of the few I care for. At Haverford you then ran into a fair amount of hypocrisy and holier than thou, with a kind of Quaker veneer that I may be able to define once I give an account of my days there, but not at Oakwood.
Upon graduation, in Kurt's presence, I actually cried at the thought that this was the end of Oakwood. The same tears I shed in my screen memory as shards of broken glass in the spring of 1941 as I leave my first paradise at the inception of the bombing that shatters all the window glass that then look like tear -dew in the flowers. But not upon leaving Fir Place for a final time in 1950, since coming to the U.S. appears to have obviated sentimental attachments to anything German.    Eleanor Roosevelt came to give the graduation speech to the class of 1954. That night (since I’d been too slow for Mustang Sally) I walked by myself across the Poughkeepsie Bridge and back, but did not feel particularly lonely. Something would get me for sure, but it wasn't going to be loneliness, not someone who had survived that ice and fire at age nine months.                  The summer vacation between Junior and Senior High School years was my last at Camp Pocono, and now as a full-fledged counselor, teaching canoeing, and with a cabin lean-to of my own with what was it four or half a dozen six year olds!? I always did love kids, especially since I can still regress at a moment’s notice just as my grandfather had been able to. -
About graduation time my father suddenly appeared from Ethiopia, reappeared in my life. And in Canada, in Montreal. My mother came from Japan, concerned. However, William in no time had a job – selling telephone voice amplifiers – and a wife # 4. Something had gone wrong in Addis, not only had wife # 3, lovely blonde Hannah, split for a physician, but the business with one of the sons of Haile, a duke, of Hassan?, had gone awry, and my father had fled with the help of British friends. In business with the wrong people, and in the wrong place. But he recovered and advanced again in short order to end up running RCA Canada!
I meanwhile had become a very young and light-weight first rate ax man, a specialist with a double bit, and planned to spend the summer on graduating from Oakwood as a lumberjack. My father knew someone at a lumber company in the Quebecois woods. But when I got to Montreal, the woods were closed because of the danger of forest fires, I read all of G.B. Shaw's plays, and then hitchhiked and had some very interesting adventures, in Ontario, also finally, in a car’s back seat. However, I am just trying to think what real lumberjacks would have said to 135 pound me showing up to swing an ax with them!  

(1)Friends, the Quakers, was, is possibly the only Protestant denomination that I came to regard with favor for their peaceable disposition, although I myself can be someone who “loves to fight” as I discovered in analysis, one of many fundamental conflicts and contradictions in my being. 

I reread the OAKWOOD section from SCREEN MEMORIES because my own recollection of what I wrote was becoming uncertain, but then needed to make only a few minor emendations, yet keep forgetting to put in the significant fact that during my senior year I played with a severely injured right inner thigh - during the first practice that year I tore most of that muscle   and even now all that is left is maybe one quarter of it, it never grew back! We were doing an excercise where you alternately and quickly lift the left and right leg really high and were doing so on an incline -  even though it had been physically a very active summer at Camp Pocono evidently I had not excercised those muscles. It was a most painful injury, but I managed to captain my way through it. 

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