|About the Book|
CHASING CRINOLINESIn this fictionalized memoir, an adult male returning to the golden fields of his adolescence expects to see reminders of long ago transgressions, particularly those bordering on outright stupidity. Worse, he chances meeting someoneMoreCHASING CRINOLINESIn this fictionalized memoir, an adult male returning to the golden fields of his adolescence expects to see reminders of long ago transgressions, particularly those bordering on outright stupidity. Worse, he chances meeting someone still able to identify the perpetrator of those deeds. Risking potential embarrassment I went back anyway, only to find Flag City had shriveled like the art exhibited in a headhunter’s hut. Little remained of the energetic theater in which a production company known as “The Class of ‘55” had a four-year run.Charlie’s house was a boarded-up derelict. Weeds covered the lot where Herb’s Gas Station once thrived, and add-ons had converted the once dignified brick school house into a spill of pastel-shaded alphabet blocks.There were other signs of attempted progress. A water tower loomed overhead, a red-headed robot with one foot planted where Calhoun’s Funeral Home had dignified death in a chapel paneled with knotty-pine. Shade trees, removed to facilitate the installation of water lines and sewers, left the streets looking nude and bony. I missed the trees. And, I missed my friends.I halted my car near the school and wondered what memories my former classmates have of Flag City and the life we shared. Unfortunately, like me, most live far away and are too busy trying to “get ahead” to have time for dreaming about the past.Charlie, for one example, sold his patent for a humane animal trap, then moved to Denver where he invented the lettuce shredder sold on late-night TV. His on-going battles with the IRS receive frequent coverage on CNN.Tommy and Terry, infamous for squabbling over the keys to their Ford, went to California where they attend “OSC,” Bay Area terminology for Oakland Sanitation Company employment. No doubt they are squabbling still, but now it’s about keys to a garbage truck.Roxy resides nearby and must remember at least one of our double dates—that awful night in the cemetery—but, did she ever learn to French kiss? I took lessons in college, but she married a preacher of some fundamental persuasion for whom kissing in any language may be a sin.Robby has not been “stateside” in years. The last I’d heard he was in business with his cousin, Barlow, and head-quartered in the Philippines. Their firm wholesales pre-owned military equipment to third world countries.Certainly, Harold and Marietta have not forgotten the night they ruled as senior class king and queen, or their elevated tryst on a pyramid of whitewashed hay. Unless they leaked it, that secret remains known only to the three of us. They now have a raft of kids and a horse ranch somewhere near Chugwater, Wyoming, which leads me to suppose their love life still rests on a cornerstone of alfalfa.I inched the car ahead for a better look at where the senior class challenged Mr. Meers. The move also gave me a better view of the gym—another bleak reminder of times good, bad, and ugly. The memory of Charlie’s rats brought a shudder, for they almost ended my formal education in a most unseemly fashion.As it turned out, I completed my four years at Flag City High without missing a single day. The accolades received for that accomplishment weakened my armor of invincible masculinity, but unlike Achilles, I weathered that battle. Afterward, four years in college led to my long career as a sports reporter for a West Coast newspaper. The “Trib” recently honored me with a plaque for perfect attendance. It lives in the bottom drawer of my desk.Now, as I stared across the wide lawn at my old school, a wealth of memories flashed across my mental view-screen like a Pathe news-clip of life in the ‘50’s. The lime-green Harley. Union Ridge Cemetery.