And now, the interview.
Q: What's your earliest memory?
A: The color of the carpets and walls of various rooms in our house in Maryland. I was three at the time. My mom didn't believe me until I correctly listed them: pink for my older sister's room, blue for mine, and beige for my baby sister's room. Hideous, but that's the '70s for you.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Mostly in Dallas (blech), a little bit in Houston and Gaithersburg, MD. At the time Gaithersburg was fairly rural; our house backed up to forest full of deer and raccoons. As we later found out, those cute mammals that we fed off our porch were rampant with Lyme disease ticks.
Q: Please tell me two prep-school anecdotes.
A: Oh geez. I've already told a couple of the best here and here. There's a great one, but it's very long and I need to work out how to tell it. Here's a couple that just popped into my head.
Prep school anecdote number one: A football player's parents called the coach to complain.
Parents: We're concerned with how late our son gets home from practice.
Coach: He's out of here by 5 PM.
Parents: Well he told us he doesn't get out of practice till 8 sometimes.
Coach: He's out of here by 5 PM.
Parents: Well then where is he?
Coach: Do you want to know where your son is?
Parents: Well, yes.
Coach: Your son is going over to [some other kid's] house to drink and play poker.
Parents: How dare you, our son would never do such a thing, why I never, I'm going to have you fired (and other similar phrases).
The coach was not fired, though he was cautioned by school administrators that the truth is hard for the parents of spoiled children.
Prep school anecdote number two: Many years ago, an art collector alumnus of the school decided that he would display a big part of his collection at the school. As a freshman, it's a bit strange, but you get used to being surrounded by art in the hallways, courtyards, even the lunchroom. When you get to junior year and take art class, the teacher takes the class around, pointing at various pieces and noting some of their value. That painting? $10,000. That statue? $25,000. And so on. We had a Chris Bell sculpture, Francis Bacon and Roy Lichtenstein paintings, a Dale Chihuly glass thing, and numerous Amado Pena prints. Even so, being a constant presence, the art really fades into the background.
So you can understand their surprise when two students who were wrestling in the hall (all boys school, par for the course) poked a hole in a painting. The boys were apologetic, and it was repaired with the owner very "boys will be boys", but the students reportedly became quite ashen when later told that they had reduced the value of the painting by several thousand dollars. Also, one time professional art thieves stole three paintings from the school on a Saturday.
Hmm. That second story wasn't as good. How about the time the swim team arrived at the school (they practiced at another school) around 7 AM to find a classmate pounding one out in the shower?
Q: Did you learn more in high school or in college?
A: Hard to say, I learned such different things. Even though I learned tons about film and radio in college, I have to say high school. It taught me how to think critically and taught me the necessity of helping other people, both valuable lessons for living a good life.
Next Post: College!