Ill and worried, brooding over MP

I have to promise to pay back charges to Con Ed, about $900 or so, and send them something. I sent them about $70 last month, but they still have us on disco notice. (Oh! I get a couple hundred on Gusto in two days, Friday. Will ease my pain slightly.)

Sunday evening, after that half of Pinnacle, I went out to the Chinawoman’s and got another half, this time of Platinum. Felt pretty wasted on Monday morning. Monday evening I just had a big Resin beer. With a big Marie Callender’s pie. I had a gaggy, overfed feeling yesterday (Tuesday) morning.

Spent most of Monday meaning to get out to the Park and run with the 410 and HR monitor again. I did not. Nor did I Tuesday, yesterday. Instead I did some book shelving, put away the mousetraps that have been here for six weeks, and moved the Color Classic over by the Moki desk. And managed to write, to finish the long piece on Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word. Gawd how I hated writing that. I don’t even recall sending it in last night, since I was probably halfway through a pint of Tito’s I bought at Shirley’s. It is now after eleven a.m., I should go check.

I am wearing the Chucklehead t-shirt, which I put on yesterday when I meant to go out for a run. I am wearing the Forerunner 235, which never seems to give me heart rate. An advice forum says it will pair with the HR chest strap, but I’m not getting it. I shall go out again with the 410, perhaps.

I keep returning to the MP pictures and videos I discovered a few days ago. GDS, one of the few classmates not to have turned into an unrecognizable whitehaired blob (with his salt-and-pepper hair and beard he actually looks much better than when he was 17), tells stories that are new to me and rather fanciful. He did JV baseball freshman year? He went to football camp in ’68 because Roback wanted him to? And embarrassingly tried to use the varsity locker room, to his eternal shame? He talks about what a good friend Brian Ameche was. At MP and in the early months at college. Now, that last bit is truly fanciful, as George only lasted a week or ten days at Yale, before feeling so alienated that he packed it in. Perhaps he met Brian there once, but in his recollection he’s got himself spending a full term or so in New Haven. Then there was the production of “Life with Father” senior year. At one point we were going to do Oklahoma! at Gilligan’s behest, partly directed (choreographed?) by Eileen Pohl, but it was too much for her so we went for a popular straight play from the same era. Bob Finlan, who looked like a cross between Wally Cox and a turtle, was director. George apparently played the William Powell (title) role. I can’t remember that at all. I think the younger Marlowe boy was one of the Day boys, the one who read The Youth’s Companion. And Kip was Clarence, Jr. And George as the father, seriously?

“Whatever thy hand findeth to do, King Solomon said, do thy damnedest.” I can hear that in George’s voice, but anyone could say it. Anyway George tells a story that most people were clowning around in the last two weeks of rehearsals but he was dead set on doing the play right. And so people tried to figure out ways of teasing him. During the dinner table scene, instead of prop food they put worms on the serving dish. I’m certain that I’d remember this if it happened. I mean someone would have told me, at least. Could it be that I was so distracted by thoughts of Yale (just accepted; fat envelope when I got home from one rehearsal in April) that nothing made any impression on me? I do remember putting red henna in their hair since they were all supposed to be redheads. I think they did it in the sink backstage, or in a lavatory. Gilligan said that when they put on Life with Father (was this college, or MP many years ago?) they all dyed their hair, literally dyed it red, professionally, everyone but the non-family members in the play. That would be Stephanie Tagye (long black hair) and some other girl. But hair dyeing simply was not on for us. Too drastic. And where would we go?

PJD appears a few time, plump and mustachioed and unrecognizable. It’s funny how these guys mostly disappear into a generic old-guy look when they get old. And they’re not that old. Smooth, clear skin, no wrinkled. Just fat and white-haired. Anyway PJD mentions Kip, as partner in mischief with McDonald. McDonald gets mentioned throughout these videos, and his photos are everywhere. But Kip! One of the towering figures of the class, and now completely vanished from memory, almost. A couple of pictures. And this one mention. Deaths of McDonald and Brian and others are mentioned, but no one mentions the mysterious Kip. I suppose we should be grateful for that.

Some of the participants are barely memorable, even as names. Abell? Who was Corcoran? Fickinger I remember because he was in sixth grade, along with Ameche and Sullivan. A good-looking blond-haired kid, I remember, floppy forelock. The old-but-fit (and unrecognizable) version tells a tale at the 2021 dinner of drinking warm cold duck with Steve Kreider and someone else. Kreider doesn’t like the bubbly so they persuade him to buy a six pack. They’re at some game, some championship being held at Villanova, and they hear there’s a liquor store up by Valley Forge Military Academy where you can just say you’re 21, and they’ll let you buy. And so Kreider does. And they get really drunk, Kreider drinks most of it, and Fr. Breslin nearly catches them. (Breslin, would have been a mostly offstage presence during this period, maybe 1970ish. He’d transferred to Villanova where he was “Dean of Men,” i.e., chief disciplinarian. He’d had a similar role at MP during their freshman year. Known as The Mouse because of his fondness for sneaking up on guys stealing a smoke down in the basement lavatory; also because he was a bit rodent-like in appearance. Breslin eventually defrocked himself, left the order, and became president of Drexel Institute of Technology. Some kind of scandal attached to his name there, or the next institution he ran. Have to look that up.)

Kreider was widely regarded as a tool, a butt of jokes, but at the dinner he’s remembered affectionately. He died in 2010 or 2011. Melanoma. Down at Avalon or Stone Harbor he’d burn himself to a crisp every summer. Then the skin cancer came on in middle age, and he’d have it cut off (Paul F gestures to his shoulders and back) but it got him in the end.

And then there’s Beebe. Doesn’t look anything like the GB of 55 years ago. Bald now, with white goatee. Cheerful and good natured.

A lot of the yearbook pictures were taken during the semi-vacation period between end of classes and graduation. I visited, probably to see GDS and McDonald. Here’s a photo of Eileen and Bill and Gilligan in the cafeteria. Bill is wearing the same striped t-shirt he wears in another yearbook picture or two, so I guess they gave their cameras a good workout that day. We had a professional photographer for many of them, but I think this may have been a McDonald. This one was a candid.

Everyone who mentions him eulogizes McDonald, but he could be a real stinker. He loved to tease and deride Kip, bring him close to tears. They were all supposed to have access to the darkroom (yearbook staff) but McDonald commandeered the keys, wouldn’t let Kip get in there. Kip did get in there once or twice, with George. Once complained to George about his mistreatment. George said, “Oh you should see the way he treats Joe Olsen.” Kip was suffering from brain fog, partly due to his ongoing condition, and