at Wichita High School North
was a taste of society like
I had never enjoyed before: life became an exciting course of love and honor.
If they had not told me about the stage, I would have missed out on a group of us
who knew how to get our act together and celebrate every play with a victory party,
the so-called cast party. As I recall, I got two Best Character Actor awards over the years,
one for my role in
The Madwoman of Chiallot
and another for my role as a general in
The Mouse That Roared
my favorite role. My voice carried, and I was in every play that
I auditioned for. At Wichita High School North I was also in
as a psychologist,
and at West High in my junior year I played Mr. Van Zandt in
The Diary of Anne Frank
In my senior year at North High I played the Duke of Norfolk in
A Man for All Seasons
and "Stonehenge" in Denny and the Witches
by Andy Brown, which starred Rob Bailey as Denny.
I got kissed for it by a number of pretty girls, and that always turned me on.
I was physically robust, bench pressing 345 lb. in my senior year, but preferred the theatre to sports.
On the other hand, brother Rick became a superb gymnast who could put on an amazing show on the high bar.
I went to a few power lifting meets with Lynn Stephens, an intellectual pal who was into football,
but that had no connection with high school. I believe I got into power lifting through the YMCA.
I found high school very enjoyable, and enjoyed picking up geometry, trig, history, and touch typing,
which was perhaps the most valuable skill I acquired. I won a Spanish-speaking contest one year,
but did not really master another language until my university years, when I picked up German.
Math was hard for me until I finally mastered calculus in 1971-1972 during my Junior Year Abroad in Bonn,
Germany, after which my mind could zoom though most subsequent courses in mathematics, physics, and engineering.
I had turned around: In 1967 my favorite albums were probably
Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
by the Beatles,
Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme
by Simon and Garfunkle,
and Surrealistic Pillow
by the Jefferson Airplane. The Viet Nam war was raging, and
Light My Fire
by the Doors
was ringing in our ears together with
the movie of the day was
starring James Coburn.
I stayed in school and the draft passed me by.
I feel lucky to be alive after those years and pleased to be passably
sane and on the beam. Later the whole episode reminded me of
The Stars My Destination
science fiction novel by Alfred Bester, as if the author had foreknowledge of our times
far before that period.