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    Entries in Hunterdon Central High School (3)

    Tuesday
    May172016

    Today's Civil Rights Movement?

     

    When I was a freshman in high school, I did something that, by today’s standards, would be perfectly normal and strongly encouraged and endorsed by the executive branch of the federal government and Department of Justice.

    I had only been at Hunterdon Central High School a matter of days; perhaps, a week, and hadn’t quite acclimated myself to my future alma mater surroundings. Somewhere near the cafeteria was the sophomore wing. I think that’s what it was. Across from the cafeteria was a courtyard. Around the corner as you entered the sophomore section were bathroom facilities. Some of the department head offices were nearby, too. From the cafeteria, you’d go out into the hall and turn left to get to that wing. Being that I was a freshman, it was kind of off-limits, but not in a legal sense. Upper classmen had the upper hand. Wait. Check that. For the politically correct… upper class students. I was just a naive freshgender in those days. I’m talking the late 60s, so you have to understand that we had separate bathrooms for boys and girls. Today? I can’t say I know for certain what kind of nondiscriminatory, nonbinary environments exist in schools.

    All I know is that I had to go. Real bad. I don’t remember where I was coming from, but I raced past students clustered outside the cafeteria as quickly as I could. “EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME! PARDON ME! EXCUSE ME!” as I thrust myself through the crowd.

    Quickly, I made the 90-degree right turn, opened the bathroom door and paid no attention to anything other than getting myself into a stall on time. WHEW! I made it!

    For a fleeting moment, it was like a surreal peace. Ahhh… An instant calm came over me and I took time to reflect… Boy, was I lucky! (I think we’ve all been there.)

    Suddenly, the entrance door opened and I heard the light shuffling of shoes. I hadn’t realized I was alone up to that point. The bathroom was mine. In a flash, everything changed and a giant lump went down my throat. They sounded more like high heels. I heard feminine voices. GIRLS! There were girls in the men’s room!

    Uh oh. I thought about it. When I raced past the sinks, I didn’t see any urinals. There were no urinals! I was in the girls’ bathroom! Oh no! They were chattering away at the sinks and giant mirror, probably fixing their makeup and talking about their boyfriends. Almost panicking, I finished by business and, without stopping to wash my hands, made a beeline to the front door. I never even glanced their way. Straight ahead!

    “Oh, that’s Sammy Knechel’s little brother,” I heard one of them say, but, BAM! that door swung open and I was gone. I didn’t look back until I turned the corner toward the cafeteria. No one saw me exit. Whew!

    That was it. I never heard a thing about it from anyone. To this day, it’s been something I didn’t want to open up about because I was most embarrassed by that experience. Not anymore. Let it rip! Interestingly, if it happened today - almost fifty years later - it would be a commonplace, nonevent. Why am I telling you this? Because I was way ahead of my time. Thus, I sit on the throne proudly. What once was a personal thing is now an encouraged perfunctory performance of bodily functions between teenage boys and girls, together in perfect raging hormonal harmony, endorsed by the president of the United States. I feel so… so… so patriotic!

    Just think… I had no idea what a trailblazer I was. Too bad I didn’t accidentally stumble upon the girl’s locker room. Certainly, I’d warrant some sort of medal of honor, but not from any of the parents I know. There’s still that Second Amendment thing.

     

     

    Thursday
    Nov012012

    Sandy

    This is a song from Bruce Springsteen. You can’t get any more New Jersey than The Boss. New Jersey is my home state and I am very proud of it.

    The name of this song is 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) and it’s from the 1973 album The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle. It was released when I was in the prime of my life and very much in love with my NJ girl. We spent our summers on Long Beach Island, down the shore. Sandy has been one of my favorites since it hit the airwaves. It’s a very melodic tune. For nearly forty years, it’s conjured up wonderful memories of times spent along the Jersey shore. Sadly, I must add something painful to those memories in the aftermath of the hurricane with the same name that devastated my state. My heart aches tremendously.

    This particular video showcases Danny Federici on the accordion. Danny died of melanoma on April 17, 2008. It was his final performance, when he briefly appeared with his E Street Band band mates onstage at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 20. Danny was from my hometown of Flemington and we both graduated from Hunterdon Central High School.

    Here’s to all my friends and relatives in New Jersey, whom I love very much. I have family and friends in New York City and Westchester County, New York. I have a very special friend in Pennsylvania. Most are still without power. My thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of you.

    Cross posted on the Daily Kos

    Friday
    Jan272012

    Once Upon A Time...

    NOW

    At my 40th class reunion in November 2011

     THEN

    My high school yearbook photo

    I know, I know… WHAT HAPPENED!?