Saturday, October 5, 2013

* Leave ! Now !

Never in my life have I abandoned ship. 

Except twice. 

When I was 6 and when I was 26. I'll be 70 in 2014, so that's a pretty good record. 

The first time I was dressed in a Hopalong Cassidy cowboy suit and I was supposed to dance a hop-skip-and-a -jump simple  routine for a tap dancing class performance at Yale's Woolsey Hall. 

My mother said I could keep the suit and the holster and gun, if I overcame my stage-fright and went on stage to do my solo. 

Just before my debut came up, I ran out of the Hall with my mother following. That was about 1950. 

The next time way 1970 and my mother wasn't there. 

It was May 4th. I was looking at Jeffrey Miller's head on the asphalt. I didn't know his name back then. The blood was pouring out of it like a river, not a puddle, it was flowing in a stream over toward a curbstone. 

I thought, "This can't be put back together" just like the humpty dumpty nursery rhyme. "It's too late. He's gone."

I went to my apartment in Manchester Hall (I was a grad counselor in that dorm) and tried to call my parents. The phone lines were dead. I said to myself, "I'm getting out of town" and without taking a stitch of clothing or food or money,or consulting my employer (an institution which was in chaos anyway) I got in my car and drove toward Cleveland.

 The phone lines were down on the ground on the way out of Kent, all along the road, with workers fiddling with them. I couldn't tell if they were trying to restore them after three days of student unrest, or remove them so the town would be cut off. 

I kept driving, even though I knew only one family in all of Ohio and they were grieving for a son, killed a week before in a car accident, a fellow counselor in my dorm.

 I went to their house and they took me in even though they barely knew me. Already numb from their own loss, the television news screaming across the nation of four students shot to death by Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State, couldn't penetrate their grief. 

We were all numb for different reasons. 

Two days later I went back to Kent and the FBI let me in to get my clothes from the University which had been closed for the rest of the semester. 

The FBI was searching every dorm room desperate to find weapons and prove the shootings were justified.  They took one of my counselor's geology rock collection which later wound up on display in the Ohio Grand Jury courtroom in Ravenna labelled as as weapons.

I drove back to my parents in Connecticut who didn't want to hear about it.

The most my father---a Philadelphia lawyer and v.p. of a holding company ---said was," If the FBI calls for an interview insist on a taperecorder and a witness." 

They did. 

And I did. 

They dropped their request.

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