Saturday, May 15, 2010

Seventh Grade

I often wonder what would have happened if the fight I had with Billy O’Brien would have been allowed to finish. Some older guys stopped the fight before it was over. But that was a long time ago. Seventh grade has come and gone and that’s all I really remember about seventh grade. Time went on; Billy and I became good friends during high school. Neither he nor I ever mentioned the aborted fight, except in a joking way. And after high school I enlisted in the Air Force and Billy stayed around. I never saw him again except at a twenty fifth class reunion. I had gone to college and was living away and came back for the reunion. It was not a memorable event, we had a very small class and we were separated by distance. The locals still stayed in touch with each other, while I and others who had left were a group unto ourselves. Billy was there and we chatted, drinking a beer or two, and we sparred in a friendly manner, each of us claiming to win.

Some events cast a long spell. I still remember the day in June 1951 the day before I landed in the Philippines. The ship I was on also transported Dependents and my duty was to deliver the ship’s newspaper to the dependent’s quarters. That day the paper had an article about the next days docking in Manila cautioning that anyone who was of Japanese’s descent to remain on board. The hatred of the Japanese was still rampant in the Island. Hatred dies slowly.

An acquaintance of mine fought in the Vietnam War and still contends that we would have won if the Administration allowed the Military to fight the war in the way they wanted to. We argue about it, stopping just short of saying things to each other that we would probably regret. Now of course we are deciding who is to be our next president and one of the candidates is also a Vietnam veteran. Like my acquaintance, he still wants to fight the war and win. He is also determined that we do not forgo the opportunity to win in Iraq. We all have our Seventh grades.

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