I’ll Just Throw the Backgammon Die out Verbally and see on what square I land …

April 20, 2012

In this weeks New Yorker:

“Alice Miller is the author of “The Drama of the Gifted Child” (1979) a study of parental narcissism and its effect on children who are not necessarily gifted with artistic talent or superior intelligence but are unusually attuned to the needs of others.  A fragile or depressive mother may use such a child as a mirror, but only to mirror what she wants to see.  The child is obliged to disguise the full range of her own feelings behind a mask of compliance.  She is rewarded with love for wearing  it and punished by rejection for trying to take it off”

And from New York Mag…Barney Frank says:

“Adam Clayton Powell was not the first Black member of the US. House, but he was the FIRST self-respecting Black member.

Powell got here in ’45 and he was told that he couldn’t use the swimming pool that was only for white people, he couldn’t eat in the House dining room, and he couldn’t get his hair cut.  So he said “The HELL I can’t” and he DID!!”

and in Monday’s New York Times in an article “For Two Economists, the Buffett Rule Is Just a Start” about Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty …they feel that the “Buffet Rule”..does not go far enough….in changing the gap between the 1% and the rest …that it really should be a tax of more like 50 or 70 percent…as the wealthy are getting richer and the rest are simply not…

“From 2000 to 2007, incomes for the bottom 90 percent of earners rose only about 4 percent, once adjusted for inflation.  For the top 0.1 percent incomes climbed about 94 percent.”

I had lunch today with someone I have not seen for almost 50 years…one of 54 (I think) classmates from St Albans…the elite (unbeknownst to me at the time) school in DC I attended from the 4 through the 12th grade…the worst period in my life as I was bullied..rolled down stairs in trashcans….kicked in the balls daily during “recess” by Eddie Stowe and his goons….

I was a smallish thing – and could not qualify for the football team in 4th Grade…so was put in the joke group called “Troop 19″…..which I was in for all those years from 4th to 12th grade…much I am sure to my father’s disappointment..as he was a TOTAL jock and physically adept at everything from Boxing to being the Captain of the Football, Baseball Team in college…he was just a natural athlete….

After receiving many an email for “status” by our class “secretary” I thought what the Hell …and wrote I was Gay and wondered if any others were…(I was in the class of 64)……(I did not know I was gay until I was a Junior in College….)…and I said I would NEVER donate a penny to St Albans as it was the worst period in my life…Tom wrote back and said Are you sure you want me to post this…and I said well at 65 who the F… really cares …but some did and were appalled that I would come out….

well I had lunch with Bob Fawsett today…he was not a close friend at STA…but a nice guy…skinny and dressed back in the 60’s  like the Fonz with slicked back hair…was VERY skinny ….

well we met in Venice  at the Rose Cafe….we all have changed….after 50 years but his eyes are the same……he has I think 3 daughters and like 9 grandchildren from I think his first wife….he has been married 3 times…no children from the last 2 wives….. after St Albans he was in a band – worked for IBM in
Venezuela and the US…went into commercial Real Estate and was making a million a year…he was responsible for developing all the property from DC to Dulles Airport….and he said your time consuming  trip from the airport into town is my fault… he developed Reston Virginia….

but he retired at the age of 43 as he said he was making too much money that his ex-wife could get a percent of ..so he went down to “making” nothing….

but he is one of the 1 percenters…and I said you must be Republican…he said Of Course…and then after he queried me more about my life and I told him that one of my sisters was a marvelous herbal specialist and farmer – lives in Oregon (where he and his wife take their RV to for 3 months of the year)…and that my other sister was a coach and  lived in Berkeley….that  .one of my brothers was a reknowned psychologist who has changed the way one handles and looks at people who are suicidal…. living on Bainbridge Island in WA   and my other a renowned Bird Savior and Specialist working for the DNR in Wisconsin…

as we got up from our table he said…Well you MUST be a Democrat for Obama…I said in my best Fargo North Dakotan accent:  “You Betcha!!!” but said I DO NOT TALK POLITICS with my friends who I KNOW are Republican…as at the age of 65 no one is going to change me nor am I going to change anyone else….so it is needless stress…and I love Life too much for that BS..

the one thing that he told me that for some reason I did not know …was about Eddie Stowe who kicked me in the balls every recess……I had heard years ago that Eddie had committed suicide…for which …back then I was Happy to hear…but after I told him how on graduating from St Albans in 1964 I travelled for 3 months through Europe with the book “Europe On 5 Dollars A Day”…. with 2 other classmates – Peter Bernhardt and John Calhoun  ( he told me John is a “lifer” in prison for murdering someone)- those 2 guys  were as different as oil and vinegar….we got car wrecked – shipwrecked on the Greek Island St Georgious – had to flee Greece before we were thrown in prison…..

anyway Bob told me… well while you were motoring around Europe….  the Summer of 64…Eddie Stowe went down to Rehoboth Beach….3 guys beat him almost to death….one night at the beach as the waves were crashing in…he lived ….but never was the same again…and committed suicide a few years later…

THIS made me VERY sad…even though I had hated him ……all of these years….

6 Responses to “I’ll Just Throw the Backgammon Die out Verbally and see on what square I land …”

  1. bob fawsett said

    excellent…..you didn’t even take notes…..I am sympathetic to the 99% totally…..how to help them is where we differ……I think now on reflection that John’s imprisionment was related to drug dealing vs homicide…..however those two often collide? Lars will know or perhaps Roger Clapp? Sorry, I didn’t know about Eddie Stow’s mean streak…….he was definitely aloof……when he got the MGA I was pissed at him myself……his mother and sister are very sweet though… so who knows where the bad stuff comes from…..looking forward to more recollections when we reconvene at the bar?

  2. Roger Clapp said

    Rob — Sharing of the highest order. Thanks for contributing to the “greater StA64 experience.” Sorry that I did not make the time to chat with you during those years. My friends from the class continue to grow in number and depth. And so it goes. Take care.
    Cheers,
    Roger (the Clapper not the Cooper)

  3. Robby, Rick just forwarded to me your email containing the link to this blog as he knows that, despite our long and entertaining history of laughingly considering our own painful experiences at St. Albans, there is much to still be learned, much to be forgiven and much that we did not not know as your posting so nicely demonstrates. Your brother is my only friend, not quite the 50 years you have travelled but close, from those years of purgatory and seeming damnation and, yet, we both survived, perhaps thrived because of, despite the time spent there. Rick also knows the deep regard my family holds for yours, with the Cable connection and the many parallel paths taken. I wanted to say how much we admire your own courage, compassion and generous thoughts here. My only return visit to Mount St Alban, if you disregards many years of taking children to Flower Marts and of running through over many years of morning runs, was the service for your father which allowed me a very welcome reconnect to the Mattesons, brothers and sisters in history and sensibility.

    One story I will share that happened soon after I saw you all in the Little Sanctuary for your father’s service. My two sons as we passed the school one day ( we live ironically quite close) asked why we had never considered sending them there. It caused me to think beyond the resentment, hurt, pain and dislike of the 9 years I spent there and to consider their question in light of what I hoped for them. I knew that this school with its entitlement, arrogance, snobbery and bullying was part of the world we were intent on trying to change and to protect them from. Which is not to say either that the school consciously encourages those negative values or, perhaps, still represents them but, rather, that given the choice I saw the example that we could show our children more in the perambulation of Bhodda in Kathmandu or the slow transit of the Yangzee before the Three Rivers Dam was closed or the Potola Palace in Lhasa or the shores of the Galapogos. They should meet everyone on equal terms, they should be curious rather than expecting and they should be able to live who they were in plain sight.

    Anyway, just a note to say thank you Robby for reminding us that there is hope even 50 years in.

    Warm regards from all of us Addison/Ripleys
    Christopher

    • Rob said

      Chris…Thanks!! I really never knew you…as ..well, back then one did not associate with guys 4 years their junior at STA…remember..years later you and your wonderful wife fondly at some event that Aunt Mimi was involved in….anyway…our paths will cross before too long!!
      Take Care!!! Robby

    • bob fawsett said

      C: wow, no matter what the pain….we owe STA that stellar ability to express ourselves in writing….thanks for your heartfelt reminisces. Well done……..You’ve got to admit, the place was and still is beautiful…….it strikes me that there seems to be a theme in our present day dialogue surrounding current events that resounds from your feelings from 50 years ago……”entitlement, arrogance, snobbery and bullying” ……these are the issues today, cast as barbs from political foes in DC and therefore the constituants too……..what hath STA wrought, or PS 41 in Chicago for that matter? Bob

  4. bob fawsett said

    constituents….my apologies! Bob

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