Eighteen of us sang in that choir. Twelve were Catholic boys from the Madeleine parish. Six were non- Catholic John Muir recruits.
The high point for me came when “the professor” picked me to sing the Kyrie eleison solo during the elaborate high mass on Christmas Day. It was a deeply moving occasion.
A short time later, he offered me a lead in the school’s upcoming production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Trouble was, I didn’t want it. In the interim, I had discovered the intriguing world of high school journalism and I had decided to drop Glee Club and go to work on the staff of the school newspaper.
When I faced up to John Muir with my decision, he appeared bewildered, unbelieving … then furious. We talked about it for days, it seems to me now. But I held to my decision.
After one final meeting that turned into a tirade, it was over. He tossed me out of the Madeleine boys choir. My adolescent “singing career” was aborted.
Was that a slight twinge of guilt I felt? Yeah, but I suppressed it rather quickly.
My sexual experiences during my first year in high school were pretty much vicarious, such as they were: Like holding hands with Juanita Romme at the movies as we huddled in our seats watching Frankenstein. Or stealing sidelong glances at Bernice Reuff’s jutting breasts during history class. Or goofily mussing the tousled hair of sexy Lurine Rosenburg as we walked home from the library. Or patting Jeanne Browning on the ass as we playfully wrestled for a Coke up on her back porch.
Everybody said the hard-eyed Volk brothers were the two toughest kids in our neighborhood. If an argument turned into a little brawl—it happened now and then— George and Joe Volk could punch quick and hard…smack…pow…like nobody else around. Several kids learned that lesson the hard way. Yet, surprisingly, the Volks were no swaggering bullies. They didn’t go out of their way to stir up trouble. They knew they’d catch unholy hell from their older brother, Eddie, if they did.