Sunday, February 17, 2013

The White Album

Yesterday I heard a song from Abbey Road on the radio, which got me thinking . . . .
Fall 1969.  I was a junior in boarding school, where a couple of friends and I had created a considerable amount of trouble for ourselves the preceding spring by taking a midnight walk to the campus of the boys' school, five miles away, across the Connecticut River.  Our arrival behind the science building unfortunately coincided with the late night (early morning?) departure of one of the physics teachers. 
We weren't expelled, but we were "campused" (boarding school-ese for "grounded) until the next Thanksgiving vacation.  A couple of us spent the summer working on Cape Cod and roaming between Falmouth and Provincetown on our days off, but when September rolled around, we were stuck.
Nearly everyone else departed for a long week-end in October.  The aforementioned physics teacher felt so bad about his timing that he invited to us dinner with his family one night.  The administration  also took pity on us and let us go out one night with the rest of the small group remaining on campus, to a Sly and the Family Stone concert at U Mass-Amherst.   And we spent a lot of time at the pool.  We took a record player (!) with us, plopped the White Album on the turntable,  turned the volume up as loud as it could go, and went swimming.
I was doing other things that fall.  I was taking English with Miss Palmer, who is responsible for my ability to write a literate paragraph and to quote Chaucer, T.S. Eliot, and Lady Macbeth in the same sentence.  I was failing Algebra II. 
But when I hear old Beatles' albums, I always think of those lonely afternoons, swimming to the White Album while everyone else in our known world was in Boston.

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