Saturday, October 15, 2016
Last Time I Saw Bones ((Mike Hartzell—1965 to 2006))
Last Time I Saw Bones
((Mike Hartzell—1965 to 2006))
Haven’t seen Bones since the winter of 2006, right before I left North America for South America, my wife gave him a knitted scarf just before we left, the weather was warming up some, it was in March of 2006, and he had his birthday a few weeks prior, we left on March 9th, I think he was born in February, myself in October, both in the same year, 1947, making him eight months older than I. I never called him Bones, just everyone else did, and I called him by his name, Mike. He’s been sleeping on the Streets of St. Paul, Minnesota since 1977, mostly Rice Street. I recall when I went to Vietnam, in 1971, he had already went to Korea, or was in Korea, not sure exactly, but when he came back, things had changed.
I knew him from Washington High School, we graduated together. He’d come down the hallway and he’d stop for a moment and we’d talk (I was hallway monitor), that was back in 1963 to 1965. In 2005, I asked him if he was going to the High School Reunion, he shook his head, looked me in the eyes, turning a tinge paranoia, “No, too many uppity people, can’t stand their prudishness, plus they never talk to yaw, I’ve been asked that, and (so and so) was going to pay the fee, but I told him no!”
He simply had no time for them, and I couldn’t blame him, Mike being very humble. I had went to a few myself: the 1980, and 1985 ones, and that was enough for me, not much had changed as Mike inferred to the snobbish ones, they were still there trying to run the show.
I lived on Albemarle Street, between 1997 and 2006, Mike would often times walk down the alley, wave at me, stop and talk of old times. He was a friend worth his salt. And now is becoming a living legend for those Rice Street, citizens. Not sure why, perhaps because he’s survived those long horrible winters, and just for that he deserves it.
I believe he thought in his half-read wisdom, most folks, or many people, had daemonic images (Mike had good instincts like a sparrow), true or not true, along with a strata of paranoia, he wanted to be in his own world; he and I pitched common conversational things about; he called me Chick, from a nickname I was given way back when, and carried on through my High School days, but faded out during my Army time. I doubt he knew me by Dennis. These last few times we talked he was a bit slow thinking, but a friend with an opinion, who didn’t have to put up with the rogues and rascals of his time, nor did he care nor blame nor praise, the shallow wit, of old friends, and we both knew who they were (the counterfeits).
To be published in the book “A Changeable Banquet” 10-2016
Copyright © Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. h.c., 10-2016