No doubt that I'll be
writing about it as time goes on, so we might as well start now.
I graduated in 1965 from Trinity Prep in Sioux City, Iowa. Trinity was a Roman Catholic "minor seminary" for high school age boys who thought perhaps God had touched them for the priesthood. If you've read my memoir, Curlew: Home, you perhaps noticed I concluded that what I thought was the touch of God was actually a case of indigestion. Which was my way of saying, No, I didn't become a priest.
This summer, the weekend of June 8-10, many of Trinity's graduates will be coming together for a school reunion, including the Class of '65. In anticipation of that get-together, members of my class have been trying to locate one another. Which means I have an Inbox full of e-mail messages from those former classmates, and I've had extensive correspondence with some of them.
Yes, of course, I am going to the reunion. No. I haven't yet made my room reservations because one of our number is going to see if he can arrange for a block of rooms all together for our class, and I'd like to reserve one of those.
Most of my classmates came from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas; one of the original freshman class was even from Texas, as I remember. Accordingly, when we graduated, we scattered. And - scattering - we lost touch. The school closed its doors and its dorms some few years after we graduated, so there was no focal point for keeping in touch, and as the universe is wont to do, things fly apart.
Well, we are now back in contact, many of us.
There was one bit of shocking news in all this. All of my writing life, at least forty years now, I have held the biographical note of one of my classmates up as the standard I aspire to as a writer. It was Marion Abbick's biographical note, and I remember that it appeared in the graduation issue of the school magazine. Somehow he had incorporated his "brown oxrfords" into that piece of writing, and ever since I have tried to put Marion Abbick's brown oxfords into everything I write.
So now I am in contact with Marion Abbick. People call him "Doc Abbick." He is a dentist. He rides a Harley. He has released a CD called Sing to Live... Live to Sing, available here. He has in his possession a copy of that 1965 graduation issue of the school magazine and, he says, there are no brown oxfords in it, not his, not anybody's. Indeed, he reminds me, we didn't write our own biographical notes for that issue. Our classmates wrote each other's. He remembers that Dean Schechinger wrote his. And he has no memory of any mention anywhere of his brown oxfords.
Was I pulling his leg, he wondered?
No. Marion Abbick's brown oxfords were there somewhere, a magical detail that transformed an ordinary writing assignment into something wonderful. It was a striking example to me of what a good writer could do, and something I have aspired to ever since. I'll be terribly disappointed if we don't eventually find that passage and if Marion Abbick didn't write it. Turns my world on its head, in a way.
No, I tell you, I'm not making it up. Where are Doc Abbick's brown oxfords? Where?
Folks, you can expect to hear more from me about the Trinity Class of 1965 getting together in June. This will be like plugging in a lamp and lighting a corner that hasn't been illuminated in quite some while, and I'm looking forward to it. And I'm also looking forward to watching my reactions to the experience. And reporting some of that here, perhaps.