Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Meatpacker’s Boy

(or, ‘The Impudent Student ‘)

 ((June, 1957) (Ecole St. Louis, School, and Part Four: “The Winter School”))

Façade to: Ecole St. Louis School



His brain had refused to grapple with the theme of learning and desisted: he had covered his papers with little animals and like figures, names of certain people in the classroom, like Linda M., and Mike R. Now it appeared as if he would fail again—he told himself in confidence.
       During the course of the school year, all the studies and elements which the nuns deemed common and significant for learning fell out of his head—one by one; and out of the overall purpose of school itself. There remained no trace of it, and to the nuns he appeared vividly…in another world, as if daydreaming: which he was doing.
       Actually, Chick Evens’ head was on top of the Tower of Pisa, with a pleasant and gentle wind, and a maiden. It was the moment of farewell, with a kiss, that magical moment in the movies where all was at its zenith.  And school, oh that darn thorn, it was like a leafless tree, and when the nun called his name—after gazing at his face for a long while, the liberty of such adventures were drawn to its end—the interruption was likened to falling off the tower itself: how could he recall that end scene, went through his head, as wanting to finish it the proper way. He looked up at the nun who was trying to get his attention, for no good reason: ‘Now what?’ went through his mind.  

       —Chick Evens!  Said Sister Superior, the rector of the school: Tell your mother if she can’t pay your tuition on time, not to come back to this school after summer vacation! Matter of fact, it would be better that you didn’t, anyhow.
       Evens knowing where his mother worked, Swift Meats, as a meatpacker, that it had been on strike for three months this past year, that it was no fault of hers, which he had explained to her before,  that being why the tuition was late this last time, said nothing, it was a gift sent from heaven, so he felt, smiled.
       —Thank you! He said, and ran off to catch his bus, down on Cedar and Robert Streets, rushing home to tell his mother the wonderful news.

 #929 (6-19-2012)