Another year gone

DB Crouper

Active member
Looking back to the closed thread, I Miss BFF, from March 30th, 2012, I can't believe how quickly a year can pass. I left my childhood nemisis, BFD, stuck in the end of Chapter Three for most of that year. A recent trip to Arizona to visit childhood snowbird friends included spurious and sundry recollections of young BFD. If anyone is interested, Chapter Four could be forthcoming. Sorry about the MIA. I've been busy.
 

DB Crouper

Active member
This calls for a story from my wayard youth. For simplicity sake I will entitle it BFD, for Bill Frederick Douglas. Any similarity to BFF is unintended and the characters in the story are totally fictional, and any similarity between them and actual people is entirely coincidental. Okay, here we go.

BFD

Prologue
At the age of six, I didn't think of myself as naive or inexperienced. Quite the contrary, I thought I was pretty cool and with it. After all, I had just purchased my own copy of "Jailhouse Rock" with "Blue Suede Shoes" on the flipside, and listened to both sides a couple hundred times. I was one with the music, probably moreso than I have been "one with the music" for the last 57 years. So I felt pretty worldly as I entered the magic rectangle of the first grade classroom. If my last name hadn't started with a B, or if some pretty girl or even a boy in my class had been named Cooper or Crawford, I probably would not be who I am today, as BFD (Bill Frederick Douglas) would not have been assigned to the desk DIRECTLY BEHIND ME!
Time, they say, is the cure for the tribulations and trials in our lives. For the most part I agree. It heals heartbreak, heartache, loss of friends and family, failure, and bad luck, but neither time nor distance has diminished the angst, anger, and derision that is stuck in my craw, going on toward 58 years now, for BFD. I'm pretty sure Miss Perronin, our first grade teacher ( if she still walks the earth) feels the same as I. Thus begins my remembrances of BFD.

Chapter One
The school principal, Oliver Theodore Flietire, (Jim for short) made a ritual of addressing each new first grade class, with a rather stern welcome, and a thinly veiled reference to a table tennis paddle, that sometimes was used for something other than ping pong. The boys in the class passed around knowing glances like paper airplanes, while most of the girls pulled their fashionable first day of school skirts over their knees and toward their ankles. The point was made, but BFD, as we all learned later would become a regular occurance, raised his right arm, and violently stabbed at the ceiling, until Mr Flietire gave in, and inquired of BFD, "What is your question, young man?"
"Don't you think my new shirt is snazzy!?' Mr. Flietire sighed heavily, then hesitated as a discernable look of uncertainty fluttered across his furrowed brow. "Yes, young man, that is a very....snazzy shirt." Even though it didn't seem like Mr. Flietire had completed his welcome, he turned on his heels, and wordlessly exited the classroom. Something seemed out of sync, and it seemed somehow related to BFD. It ALWAYS seemed somehow related to BFD!
 

DB Crouper

Active member
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CHAPTER TWO

Miss Perronin was enjoying her first day of her first year as a teacher. As pretty and as sweet as she was, she did not enjoy her first day for very long. Shortly after Mr. Flietire (let's call him OTF for short) bailed on her, BFD was on the move, even before she could begin her oft rehearsed ( in front of her mirror) welcome sweet young minds speech. She had been writing and revising, rehearsing amd rehashing this soliliquy for the last five years. Her visions of selfless grace and eloquence helped guide her through the grueling college years, as, the truth be told, she was pretty, but she wasn't very smart. Graduating from college had been extremely taxing for her limited intellect, and she quickly realized that she was ill prepared for an uncontrollable lad like BFD.

To the chalkboard BFD strode, and with a flourish, swept a fresh piece of yellow chalk from the chalk tray, and with a practiced motion, produced a large letter B, that could have passed for an 8. He turned to the slack jawed Miss Perronin, and exclaimed, with a confidance that scared the crap out of Pierre Marchbanks(literally) amd Miss Peronnin (figuratively), " I already know the first letter in my name, and my daddy said you should get paid less 'cause you don't have to teach me my B."
It was obvious to the class that Miss Perronin was thinking very deeply about how to respond to BFD. Her brow was furrowed, and her cheeks amd nose squeezed tightly together, and she began to stroll aimlessly down the middle isle, where Pierre was squirming uneasily in his assigned desk. BFD had vacated the chalkboard, and was now rummaging around in the coat closet. Miss Perronin didn't seem to notice BFD's latest venture, but rather seemed to hone in on Pierre as the scource of the new noxious odor in her heretofore heavenly classroom. She stood over poor Pierre, then slowly bent at the waist, to verify her suspicions, then, in what could only be described as a stage whisper, she told Pierre to go to the Principal's office.

As Pierre exited the room, head held low, Miss Perronin turned slowly toward BFD, who was now rummaging through her stylish coat pockets. She advanced in BFD's direction, seemingly without moving her legs, floating on a cloud of anger and anguish that only BFD could extract from ordinary everyday people. He never saw her coming, and to this day, I cannot understand how a delicate young 115 pound woman could, with one hand, carry a first grade fat kid thirty five feet across a classroom by his armpit, with his feet remaining above his head the whole way. No sooner than he was he slammed into his chair, his arm shot wildly into the air, and he was asking to go to the bathroom. Miss Perronin, her previously well groomed and curled hair now wildly flying in various directions, her eyes dilated and quivering, her lips curled to the point of disappearing inside her mouth, shook her finger at BFD so menacingly that we all drew back three feet or so, our desks screeching eerily on the hardwood floors.

As Miss Perronin advanced on BFD, there was a knock on the classroom door. It squeaked earily as it swung slowly inward, and standing in the hall, just outside the room stood Principal Flietire. He motioned to Miss Perronin for her to meet him outside in the hall. She strode out to meet her fate, her mind awhirl with the hope that today was only a dream. Our classroom door had a window in the upper half, and my desk was situated in such a place that I could see clearly into the hall, where a very animated conversation was taking place, right at the top of a long set of stairs that led to the basement of Central School. Suddenly the frazzled visage of Miss Perronin's once pretty face sank from my view, followed by a long and horrible scream, and a clattering noise that only human bones, falling down a flight of stairs, can make. Miss Perronin, in her agitated state and unfamiliar high heels, had stepped backwards to fend off her first official scolding, and fallen clear to the concrete basement floor. I ran out into the hall with other classmates, to witness the severity of the accident. Miss Perronin lay twisted, on her back, dress hiked up immodestly, eyes closed, blood running from the corner of her mouth. BFD stared down at her, a slight smile curving into place. Mr. Flietire knelt beside her, yelling at us to get back to our desks. Soon an ambulance arrived outside, they loaded Miss Perronin , and took her away. None of us knew if she was dead or alive, but the big money was on dead. Bad things always happened when BFD was around.
 
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DB Crouper

Active member
CHAPTER THREE

Miss Furney entered the ring with a record of 55 wins and no losses. Due to the fact that Miss Perronin was in traction at the local hospital, with a broken femur, collarbone, wrist, and a fractured skull, Miss Furney was lured out of her recent retirement, with the hope that her iron will and longstanding reputation as both a taskmaster and honey badger would gain control of this mysteriously menacing class of 6 year olds. There were rumors that Miss Furney's early employment was at a place called Aushwitz, but we first graders had no idea where that was. Miss Furney was about 70 years old, with spindly bow legs, upon which rested a barrel chested upper body not unlike Jackie Gleason. Her gray hair was in a tightly wrapped bun, her portly face and pointed nose fixed and frozen in a perpetual appearance of disappointment. The ability to never smile or frown had served her well in her 55 years of teaching. She had not only taught all her students to read, write, and learn basic arithmetic; she had also sent them on to the second grade in perfect marching order. It took years before any of her charges became problems. Some never did, and lived law abiding orderly lives for up to a hundred years.

To this day I blame BFD for bringing the pox of Miss Furney upon us. I actually liked Miss Perronin, even though I had only known her for ten minutes. Oh, hell, let's be honest. I fell in love with Miss Perronin at first glance. She smiled at me, and she was very pretty. That was a common problem I once had, i.e., pretty older women who were nice to me. I digress. As I was pining over my lost love on the second day of school, running around the classroom before the morning bell, Miss Furney, dressed in what looked like the gunney sack my dad put his razor clams in, marched in unannounced to the front of the room, yardstick in hand, and growled, "Children, to your desks!" and punctuated her command with a slap of the yardstick on her desk. A mad scramble ensued, and three seconds later 24 of 25 students sat ramrod straight in their assigned desks. BFD was casually sharpening his 12 pencils by the door, where the pencil sharpener was mounted, apparently unaware of Miss Furney's looming approach. With perfect timing, just as his right hand reached the apex of a rotation on the pencil sharpener handle, the yardstick descended in its own terrible downward arc, to a perfect strike across the exposed knuckles of BFD's working hand. With his left hand full of unsharpened and sharpened pencils, he whirled and struck at Miss Furney, which momentarily caught her off guard, but then she deftly stepped back, and once again performed a practiced and perfect strike, this time to BFD's left hamd, causing his precious pencils to scatter like autumn leaves in the wind. As he dropped to his knees to retrieve his pencils, the yardstick of justice descended numerous times, with the admonition, "You will do as I say, young man!" BFD gathered his pencils, tears flowing abundantly, and shuffled painfully to his desk. Within nanoseconds his arm shot in the air, bloody knuckles stabbing skyward, until Miss Furney, acknowledged his appropriate appeal.

"Yes, young man, what is your question?"
"May I sharpen my pencils?"

That was the beginning of the war. BFD always seemed to bring out the worst in people, and contrary to what most thought, Miss Furney was a person.
 

DB Crouper

Active member
Back in the saddle.

Chapter Four

Principal Flietire and Miss Furney met in the hall, much like Miss Perronin and her boss had met the previous day. I noticed however that Miss Furney seemed to be telling Principal Flietire whatfor, an expression I had heard from my father, but, until now, had not fully grasped its meaning. If anybody was going be piled up, broken and bloody at the bottom of the stairs today, it was not going to be Miss Furney.
Interestingly, Billy (BFD) was sitting placidly in his desk, with a vacant yet mysterious expression. It kind of seemed like he had run out of fuel for the day. After much animation on Miss Furney's part, and a wincing avoidance of her rage by Principal Flietire, he scurried away, shoulders hunched forward, and had he had a tail, it would have been between his legs. Miss Furney turned slowly, menacingly, toward the classroom door. Her eyes didn't sparkle, but they glowed. I was about 4 feet tall at the time, but wishing I was about 4 inches tall and invisible.
Billy seemed oblivious to her Jason-like entrance into the Hell that was our first grade classroom, on our second day of school. Everyone except Billy was terrified into a stupor of thought. It appeared that Miss Furney had won the war, but Billy, like so many great military leaders, was simply setting the trap for future and more important battles.
Teaching was Miss Furney's calling, and we immediately were reciting the alphabet and counting to a hundred, in a sort of ritualistic chant. Even Billy joined in, but I knew at times he was only mouthing the appropriate chanting, since he was seated directly behind me. We were a good little bunch of soldiers for the remainder of our second day, but as we exited the classroom after the final bell, I heard Billy say, "Goodby, Miss Turdy". If she heard him, which I think she probably did, she didn't acknowledge it. That was very confusing to me at the time. Now that I'm much older, I think I get it. The score was now even; Miss Furney-1, BFD-1. But Billy had regained the momentum.
When I arrived home, my mother asked me how the school day went. I told her we recited the alphabet, counted to one hundred, and practiced writing our names. As it seems to be with mothers and sons, some things need to be kept secret.
 
Glad to have you back Don. Could BFD have had ODD?:think: I've got a friend with a kid like that. At nine he scares the hell out of me. Always having meltdowns. One time at a company picnic he came over to a group of kids and one of the dads getting ready to play croquet. The dad invited him to play but the kid said he gets to go first because he 'always goes first'. When the dad denied him of this, the kid turned around and walked away but returned a few minutes later holding a play gun upon which he pretended to shoot everyone playing the game.
 

DB Crouper

Active member
I don't know about ODD, Jim, but I do know he was odd! None of my receding number of classmates/friends know what became of BFD, so I guess he didn't become a serial killer. Unless, of course, he is really good at it. Chapter Five, THE CHASE, is forthcoming in the next few days. It is good to be back. Thanks.
 

C_Run

Well-known member
I just reread one through four. I'm waiting for the conclusion with baited breath. I know it's supposed to be "bated" but this IS a fishing forum.
 

DB Crouper

Active member
Chapter Five

Day three of the great adventure- public school. It was determined, by the administraters, that it was important to enhance the educational experience of rookie participents, which led us into "Show And Tell". This was very short-lived in our school system, as Billy sort of stole the "Show" part.
Dawn Aarbogast, who always went first at everything, had a really orange goldfish in a really nice bowl. We learned that Charlene, Dawn's goldfish, had been born about the same time as she. Ho hum, a six year old gold fish. Julie Bartelli foisted upon us a pretty cool collection of silver dollars, which surprised no one, as her father owned the local concrete company, and was rumored to be quite rich, partially because of his use of sub-standard cement that was imported from overseas. I was next, and only had what seemed to be a dismal failure for someone who had spent 6 1/2 years on this earth. In my left hand I sported my Wilson Al Kaline glove, which I had purchased at Berg's Hardware for $30 in 1955, which represented 600 pounds of rasberries I had picked, for a nickle a pound. In my right hand I held a stainless steel clam shovel, a leftover sawed off razor clam harvesting machine, bestowed upon me with the hope that I would contribute my fair share to the family larder. I had entered the classroom proud of my "Show", but felt that it didn't measure up to a live goldfish, and a huge collection of silver dollars, that would be worth way more in several years(as Julie patiently explained to us).
I was pleasantry surprised to see my stuff well received by Miss Furney, as she told the class that hard work and loyalty to family were very admirable qualiities. None of us knew what she was talking about, but I knew it wasn't good for my social standing. Billy was next, and I only hope I can deliver an accurate account of what transpired before his time expired. It was pretty wild.
" This is how me and Pop fish for catfish", Billy began, presenting to the class a 40- 80 pound white fibergass broomstick, complete with a spinning reel that could only fit in the back seat of a 1936 Packard. At the end of the 50 pound test monofilament dangled a 2/0 hook with a 6 ounce weight duct taped to the shank of the hook. "And this is how we cast", Billy continued, as he expertly laid his weighted hook into Dawn's fish bowl. "and this is how we set the hook" , he blurted out, as Miss Furney closed the distance between herself and Billy. But not fast enough. Billy put a redneck hookset on Charlene, right through her side, and yanked her free from her bowl- free at last, but unfortunatly, dead. Dawn screamed, as Miss Furney, fury in her stride, went after Billy. He dropped his meat rod, and retreated toward the door, but with a nefarious plan. Billy, as he made haste to escape, scooped up the cigar box that contained Julie Bartelli's silver dollar collection, and diappeared out the classroom door, with Miss Furney in hot pursuit. I remember thinking how glad I was that he didn't grab my Wilson Al Kaline glove. I also remember thinking that a heavyset old woman can really haul ass if she is angry enough. I could hardly wait for the first week of school to end.
 

DB Crouper

Active member
DB Crouper;n408685 said:
Chapter Five

Day three of the great adventure- public school. It was determined, by the administraters, that it was important to enhance the educational experience of rookie participents, which led us into "Show And Tell". This was very short-lived in our school system, as Billy sort of stole the "Show" part.
Dawn Aarbogast, who always went first at everything, had a really orange goldfish in a really nice bowl. We learned that Charlene, Dawn's goldfish, had been born about the same time as she. Ho hum, a six year old gold fish. Julie Bartelli foisted upon us a pretty cool collection of silver dollars, which surprised no one, as her father owned the local concrete company, and was rumored to be quite rich, partially because of his use of sub-standard cement that was imported from overseas. I was next, and only had what seemed to be a dismal failure for someone who had spent 6 1/2 years on this earth. In my left hand I sported my Wilson Al Kaline glove, which I had purchased at Berg's Hardware for $30 in 1955, which represented 600 pounds of rasberries I had picked, for a nickle a pound. In my right hand I held a stainless steel clam shovel, a leftover sawed off razor clam harvesting machine, bestowed upon me with the hope that I would contribute my fair share to the family larder. I had entered the classroom proud of my "Show", but felt that it didn't measure up to a live goldfish, and a huge collection of silver dollars, that would be worth way more in several years(as Julie patiently explained to us).
I was pleasantry surprised to see my stuff well received by Miss Furney, as she told the class that hard work and loyalty to family were very admirable qualiities. None of us knew what she was talking about, but I knew it wasn't good for my social standing. Billy was next, and I only hope I can deliver an accurate account of what transpired before his time expired. It was pretty wild.
" This is how me and Pop fish for catfish", Billy began, presenting to the class a 40- 80 pound white fibergass broomstick, complete with a spinning reel that could only fit in the back seat of a 1936 Packard. At the end of the 50 pound test monofilament dangled a 2/0 hook with a 6 ounce weight duct taped to the shank of the hook. "And this is how we cast", Billy continued, as he expertly laid his weighted hook into Dawn's fish bowl. "and this is how we set the hook" , he blurted out, as Miss Furney closed the distance between herself and Billy. But not fast enough. Billy put a redneck hookset on Charlene, right through her side, and yanked her free from her bowl- free at last, but unfortunatly, dead. Dawn screamed, as Miss Furney, fury in her stride, went after Billy. He dropped his meat rod, and retreated toward the door, but with a nefarious plan. Billy, as he made haste to escape, scooped up the cigar box that contained Julie Bartelli's silver dollar collection, and diappeared out the classroom door, with Miss Furney in hot pursuit. I remember thinking how glad I was that he didn't grab my Wilson Al Kaline glove. I also remember thinking that a heavyset old woman can really haul ass if she is angry enough. I could hardly wait for the first week of school to end.
BFF (Billy) died recently, at the age of 69. He did not "slip quietly into that good night". I will try to finish his unique story soon. It's good to be back.
 

C_Run

Well-known member
Sorry about Billy. I remember the closed thread, ol' what's his name shut it. We had printed it all out so my wife could take it to her school but now she's been retired from teaching four years. Hope to hear the end. Welcome back.
 

DB Crouper

Active member
Chapter 6

In small towns, rumors account for a large segment of local entertainment. It was like the circus, the Harlem Globetrotters, Portland wrestling, and the Miss Oregon Pageant all descended on our little town at the same time. Rumors ran rampant through the streets and alleys, faster and more reckless than Mario Andretti. Since we didn't see Billy or Miss Furney for a couple weeks, we favored the rumor dejour that she had caught up with Billy as he was crossing the 4th Avenue bridge,attempted to swing him by an arm in a vicious arc over the railing, but Billy managed to attain a desperate vice like grip on her arms. As he cleared the rail, and was suspended over the river below, he placed both feet squarely on the water side of the 6x6 top rail, knees bent, and, like a weightlifter squatting 4 times his own weight, extended his legs, tightened his grip on Miss Furney, and the two of them. spinning slowly, descended to a watery grave, neither willing to loosen their grip, to save themselves or help the other. It was a good rumor. For only being in the first grade, we had already learned about pathos, tragedy, the conflict of good versus evil, imagery, and imagination. I must admit that the image of Billy and Miss Furney locked in a death grip, being eaten by crabs and bullheads, on the muddy bottom of the Necanicum River taught me about nightmares as well.
As with most rumors, this one turned out to be less than totally true, but I still worry about the fate of Miss Furney. Billy, however, strolled into our classroom a couple weeks after his escape, carrying a cigar box under one arm and a fish bowl, with an orange goldfish, under the other. He solemnly presented the cigar box full of silver dollars and the goldfish to the rightful owners, bowed his head, and quite convincingly said, "I'm very sorry." Our 3rd teacher of our third week in the first grade smiled eloquently at Billy, and directed him to his desk, directly behind mine.
Our new teacher wasn't pretty like Miss Peronin, wasn't old like Miss Furney, but may have been mentored by her. Miss Homm was large and shapeless, but actually seemed to like small children. She had a gentle disposition, a ready smile, and a modicum of patience with all of us. We liked her because she liked us, and the return of Billy was worrisome. His war, if he wanted one, was going to be one against 24 children, and Miss Homm.
Billy actually behaved for about a week, but I knew it was wearing on him. As I sat directly in front of him, I began to hear strange and alien mumbling and incantations barely loud enough to notice. With each passing day Billy's desperate efforts to conform increased in frequency and volume. Miss Homm had to hear him, but made her own monumental effort to ignore his increasing subterfuge of her classroom. The inevitable collision of Billy against the world escalated rather quickly. I heard it first, being nearest to him. A soft melodic voice from behind me crooned, "Miss Homm the atom bomb", barely audible at first, "Miss Homm the atom bomb", barely louder. "Miss Homm the atom bomb", now heard by others adjacent to me. "Miss Homm the atom bomb", with each chorus, he turned the volume knob up ever so slightly. At the recess bell, Billy was nearly yelling, "MISS HOMM THE ATOM BOMB"
Miss Homm had us line up and exit the classroom in an orderly manner, and told Billy to stay at his desk. To this day I often wonder what transpired between Billy and Miss Homm,.during that 10 minutes, while we milled around the playground,. What happened during the next 5 minutes, after Billy joined his classmates on the playground, I will never forget.
Pierre Marchbanks, a portly and cheerful child, a friend of everyone, approached Billy, and without warning, landed a thunderous punch directly to the heretofore pointed nose of Billy, who hit the gravel playground flat on his back. Pierre straddled him and landed several more violent head shots before Mr. Cook, the recess supervisor, could pull him off of an unconscious and bloody Billy. In twelve years of school with Pierre, I never saw another aggressive moment out of him.
Billy was taken away in the same ambulance that transported Miss Perronin a few short weeks earlier. We didn't see Billy again during our 12 years of public school, and of course the rumor was that Pierre killed him, but I no longer put much stock in rumors. I had already seen enough real entertainment to pretty much forego the need for rumors.
END

PROLOGUE

I needed to finish the story, because, ironically, I learned at a 50 year high school reunion this last summer, both Billy and Pierre died recently, only days apart. Pierre was felled by cancer, and Billy was beaten to death, in what was described as a case of mistaken identity. Go figure...
RIP Pierre and Billy.
 
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