Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The College of the Immaculate Conception 6/66

Linda H. meme:

Fill this out about your SENIOR year of high school! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be!! REPOST with the name of the high school and graduating year as the title.

Yes, this is my senior picture. I had the longest hair in school cuz I didn't hafta participate in military drill period and therefore had a lower-than-average probability of getting gigged for a haircut. (See the full story at the lunch question - #17.)

The school seal: (symbolism explained here, if you're interested)

The questions:

1. Did you date someone from your school?
No. All-male military prep school. I know there was some don't-ask-don't-tell going on but nobody told me about it.

2.Did you marry someone from your high school?
No. Still illegal in most states.

3. Did you carpool to school?
Sometimes. Most of the time I had my own car.

4. What kind of car did you have?
Car I had longest was a BRG (British Racing Green) Fiat Bianchina ragtop.

That's right, automobile fans - rear engine and suicide doors to go with the ragtop. It could even keep up with freeway traffic on a good day with a tailwind, except mine was BRG not red.

5. What kind of car do you have now?
Honda minivan, which I love almost as much as I loved my 69 VW bus, and a 1989 Toyota MR-2, supercharged version. (Hey, Max! It's got a blower!) This one is red. Picture in the header of the blog.

6. It's a Friday night....where are you now?
Home. Hoping for a new episode of psych. Stand back! The excitement may be too much for those with weak hearts.

7. It's Friday night...where were you then?
In the French Quarter (Whereyaat, Chief? We goin' down ta da quahtahs, hawt! Y'all wanna come?), drinking and listening to, or playing, music.

8. What kind of job did you have in high school?
None. Well, I coached at gymnastics summer camps. Girls' gymnastics. It was like heaven without all the religious rigamarole.

9. What kind of job do you have now?
None. Well, dad to a coupla unschoolers and occasional consulting contracts documenting software.

10. Were you a party animal?
No. I was not very social. Ok, I was not at all social, except that I was hanging out in very social situations, like travelling the country to gymnastics meets and playing music in French Quarter bars. That's pretty much *hectic* social but *I* wasn't. It's not logical but it should be intuitive to many of you.

11. Were you considered a flirt?
Snicker. No. Pathetically unsocialized and awkward.

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?
I was in a rock band but never a school-band geek. At least I was spared that indignity during those horrid teen years. NOTE: Ronnie and others tell me that in their universe, being in the band was actually pretty cool. All I can say is that that wasn't the case at my school. The doofiest of the doofuses, the lamest of the lame, the creepiest of the creepy were in the band. They'd rather play the Marine hymn than masturbate. Why go on a date on the weekend when you could spend that time practicing your part for the upcoming John Philip Sousa retrospective? Those guys were waaaaay out toward the asymptotic end of the bell curve.

13. Were you a nerd?
Define nerd. I was a weird loner, but smart in a school which valued smart, and a 4-time sports letterman in a school where even the dumbest of jocks could translate "mens sana in corpore sano" and explain why the endings are the way they are. But I was a loner. I didn't like them. They didn't like me. Still don't. Still don't.

14. Did you get suspended or expelled?
Ha! I was a definite contrarian. I frequently got Penance Hall, even once garnering a coveted *indefinite* Penance Hall sentence for a transgression. However, I was only suspended once, and that was because my entire homeroom was suspended. You're a captive audience, so I'll tell you the story. Endure!

One year, the school held a cheer competition. Every homeroom would create a new cheer and demonstrate their offering at an assembly in the gym. The homeroom that won with the best cheer would get a FREE DAY OFF from school. My homeroom had always been hardheaded and heterodox. I often suspect that the powers-that-be had lumped us together on purpose. Nonetheless, we considered out options. We thought HARD about "Tippety-tuck, Motherfuck…" as a catchy opener but were ultimately too chicken to go through with that. We finally settled for this fine ditty:

"Potato chips, potato chips, munch, munch, munch! Other team, other team, here's your lunch. Eat it!" Followed by a blatantly obscene two-handed gesture of unrolling long, fire-hose-competitive penises to the opposing team.

Well, to our delight, instead of winning the contest and getting a mere ONE day off, we were given THREE days off. Who are the real winners, you kiss-ass "winning" bitches with your lonely, single day off, huh?

15. Can you sing the fight song?
Yes. They drilled it into us, just like close-order military drill and Latin declensions. Now I can't get any of that shit out of my head. Dress right dress, you fucking maggots! Platoon, Queen Anne salute! Yeah, you fuckers, I got your Queen Anne salute right here!

16. Who was/were your favorite teachers?
There were only a couple who were at all bearable. Fr. Reich, physics, was amusing and interesting. Fr. O'Neal, chemisty, was witty and interesting. Coincidentally, Fr. O'Neal stopped by at my dad's funeral in January and it was actually nice to see him. He pissed and moaned about everyone from his classes becoming lawyers. I said I hadn't done that because I was only venally evil, not wholly given over to the Dark Side.

17. Where did you sit during lunch?
Typically, wherever I wanted in the cafeteria. Closed campus. No off-campus lunching. Here's another story I'm gonna make you listen to, given your captive-audience status and all. Endure! (Again.)

The entire batallion (all students) did military drill in the period before lunch. At the end of drill period, the batallion would be dismissed and there'd be a crazed rush for the lunchroom line. You had about a half-hour to eat cuz lunchtime was divided into two half-hour periods and you ate during one half and played *required* intramural sports during the other half.


I dunno how he did it but the gymnastics coach had worked out a deal whereby the travelling/competitive gymnastics team got to SKIP DRILL and go practice gymnastics in the gym during the pre-lunch period. This did 3 fabulous things for those on the travelling team:

1. Simply not doing drill was a pleasant thing per se.
2. The gym was a nice, termperature-controlled, indoor environment. Drill was outdoors, no matter the weather. Pouring rain? March, you bastards. Your basic New Orleans 99 degrees and 99 percent humidity when we'd offically switched to Winter uniforms (WOOL!)? I know you're faking that faint, private. Get yer ass up! Unusual freeze? Those are not regulation gloves, you fucking maggot! Get 'em off NOW! You're on report!
3. Over in the gym, we could check the time, grab a shower, and saunter over to be first in the lunch line while the batallion was still at attention. Toodle-ooo, boys!

I resolved to be a competitive gymnast and it was indeed a wonderful thing.

18. What was your school's full name?
The College of the Immaculate Conception (aka Jesuit High School)

19. When did you graduate?
1966. More precisely, 6/66, which we all thought was extra special, because of, you know, SATAN!

20. If you could go back and do it again, would you?
I'd rather [Think of the thing that makes you the most squeamish. No, that's not good enough. That's from your forebrain. Go back into your hindbrain and dig out that REALLY horrid disgusting thing, the one you're afraid to even let pass *quickly* through your thoughts. That's the one.] Yeah, I'd rather do that.

21. Did you have fun at Prom?
It was ok. I sorta doubled with one of my few pals - Mange, lead guitar player. It was in a swell downtown hotel ballroom and Deacon John and the Ivories played for it. They were righteous. Afterwards we cruised the Quarter, drinking Hurricanes and other alcoholic concoctions. (Legal age was 18 then, although, since we knew many of the club owners from playing music, we woulda been drinking anyway because we had been using their services since we were 15~16.) I had a date and she was nice. That was unusual.

22. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with?
Not in 40-plus years.

23. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?
See # 20. Does the phrase "When Hell freezes over" (not counting Dante's ninth circle) mean anything to you?

24. Do you still talk to people from school?
A couple. The same ones I talked to then, but less frequently.

25. What were your school's colors?
Royal blue and white: The Blue Jays. Mascot = "Jayson" drawn by Walt Kelly. (We have met the enemy and he is us!)

Well,that was horribly painful. Thanks, Linda! There's some payback with your name on it, waiting out there somewhere. (grin)

UPDATE 3/11:

Mandy S's version of this has a couple of extra questions. I added those here.

VariantXtra 1. What was your school mascot?
Answered at #25, including a picture – Jayson, the Fighting Blue Jay

VariantXtra 2. What celebrities came from your high school?
Easiest answer is to give this link.

VariantXtra 3. Did you play a sport?
Official school teams: JV football. (Liked the sport; hated the coaching philosophy. I was small, even for JV, but I did like the sport. But did I mention how I felt about the fucking shit-sucking coaching mentality? Well, good then.) Wrestling. (Lettered but didn't really like the sport.) Gymnastics. (Lettered 3X. Team state championship all three years. Personal state championships in floor exercise and vaulting. Parenthetical personal - 6th place in tumbling in the World Tumbling and Trampoline Championships in '66.) Club-level: Modern Pentathlon. Fencing.

VariantXtra 4. What was your favorite club?
Archdiocesan Science Seminar. City-wide (but Catholic-school-only) science club was very active and did lots of interesting stuff.

VariantXtra 5. What class or teacher did you fear?
First, let's talk about "fear." I know the word is being used in a somewhat casual sense here but for me at that school there was a more significant depth to that word than "I'm afraid it might rain." More like "I'm afraid to hold this grenade with the pin out when the spoon looks like it might not be completely engaged."

At root, I'm *afraid* when I have something to lose, right? The faculty and staff (and fellow students) at Jesuit could, at worst, kill me. Fuck 'em. They were welcome to try that but I knew they didn't have the WILL to go that far. For anything less than that, I cite Eleanor Roosevelt: No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. I did not give those fuckers my consent and they knew it. It was a five-year Mexican standoff. (School was 8th-12th grades.) Severally and individually, they expended a great deal of energy trying to demean and break me. I'm still standing, you fucks! Eat me!

I didn't *FEAR* anyone there but I was careful and wary. Hey! I'm a hardass but I'm not stupid.

With that said, I'll give you a couple of responses to the question. There was Fr. Baudouin, pronounced (out of his hearing) as Boda-wang. He was one of those guys they whispered stories about. Ya know he killed a guy with his bare hands and he had a choice of going to jail or joining the priesthood. Those kinds of stories. He was a flat-out asshole. Used to pick kids up out of their desks to slap 'em across the face. Give him that. He was a big, strong motherfucker. Naturally, he taught religion.

He also loved to play the game where your answer is never adequate, even if you quoted the text back to him. Early on, I recognized that and stopped giving him any response when he asked me a question. I always responded, "I dunno, Father."

After a while, he caught on to the fact that I was gaming his game and he didn't like it. One day, after I'd given him my stock response, he inquired,"What do you know, Mister Maier? Do you know you're gonna flunk this class?"

I could feel the people beside and behind me cringing away when I responded, "I don't think so, Father."

Actually, my pal Mange (guitar player) sat behind me (alphabetical seating: Maier, Mangiapane) and afterwards he said he all-but shit his pants and was leaning way back to be out of retaliation range. But the Wangster just gave me his second-best glare and when I declined to fall down dead from sheer terror he moved on to the next victim. Guess he didn't feel like picking me up for a smack was worth his effort. I think he liked to do that with *big* guys to prove how manly/strong he was. IIRC, I did wind up with a C in that class. Devastating to my GPA. Darn! Really fucked up my college chances there, Wangster. A C in religion! How can I possibly explain that to college recruiters? Fucktard.

Father Pearce was the Prefect of Discipline. Sneaky bastard. He's the one who got me for indefinite penance hall that time. I will say this for him: with him it was just business. He had no vested personal animosity, like The Wang. It was simply his job to crush your spirit and make you compliant. If he were with the mafia instead of the Jesuits, he'd have been the kind of buttonman who would give you a coupla minutes to catch your breath and say a prayer before he parked two slugs behind your ear. Then he'd go home and have a nice dinner with the wife and kids. No hard feelings; just the work he was put on earth to do. I was wary of him.

Some of the younger Jesuits were cool; they were into the liberation theology version of Catholicism. They were the ones who got me interested in SNCC and nonviolent civil rights. But the older generation were pretty much universally from the medieval school of Catholicism. They might sneer at the know-nothing Franciscans but they would have gleefully participated in the Inquisition.


  1. This is totally beside your point - but Jay Thomas, who was a well-known and well-loved DJ here in Charlotte for our first rock station, graduated with you.

    I'm glad they didn't kill your spirit, Frank.

  2. whew! I don't know if I should hug you, give you a shot of tequila or send a bill for 65$ :::vbg::: Glad you got that out :D

  3. I have really hard feelings about parochial schools. I'd like to see them all bombed, personally.

    I was *born* in 6/66, how about that! Also, graduated in 1984 (which, yes, we all thought was terribly special too.)

  4. Karen, Mister Terrell (stage name Jay Thomas) is listed in that link I gave for variant question #2. I barely remember him from school.

    Diana, if you only charge $65 for psychiatric visits, sign me up for a series. Rates are much higher here in the Seattle area!

    Linda, I basically kept your wording for the graduation year answer when I took this meme from you and just changed the object to SATAN instead of Orwell's book, given the difference in our respective years. If ya get in the mood to bomb some Cat-licker schools, lemme know. I'll happily ride along. Might even throw a bomb or two.

  5. Frank...love ya. This is a crazy post, but you know that already!

    I helped my brother fix his car : http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/48/Fiat_850_Spider_1965.jpg&imgrefurl=http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fiat_850_Spider_1965.jpg&usg=__00Xp9fmSW3EPsx4AZ4K0pVfQdxw=&h=480&w=640&sz=170&hl=en&start=3&um=1&tbnid=d8yB0Mqv4jnfiM:&tbnh=103&tbnw=137&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfiat%2B850%2Bspider%26ndsp%3D18%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den-us%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1 This one is in far better shape than the one he had! Especially after the turkeys roosted on it...

    I echo what Diana said.

  6. cousin Sonya3/17/2009 1:26 PM

    I knew you were a great gymnast, but 6th at the World Champs? What a stud!

    Before you hook up on the "Cat-licker" school bombing run, ping me and I'll make sure Heide's sick that day. Maybe you can get Rev. Hagee to ride shotgun.

  7. Hey, cuz! I'll definitely send out a family warning before I participate in any Cat-licker bombings. (wink) Hagee would wanna be a thrower not just a shotgun-rider. What a maroon.

    I got 6th in tumbling because I went to watch and learned that there were only 5 people entered, so I entered. I coulda done a front roll and qualified for 6th. In my generic defense, there weren't many people doing double backs at that time so I was a kinda realistic entry with the passes I did.

  8. I went to the same h.s. and you got it and them pegged right. It sucked!