The first day of high school is one of those times when you feel you are gaining entry to the larger world. Confirming this fact was my class schedule.There, at the last period of the day was band. I would march at football games. I was in the band.
I had been warned that there was this scary man with a glass eye who ran the thing and he took no guff from anybody, especially the new students. Within ten minutes I was told to put that flute away and he handed me a trombone. I had met the bandleader, Mr. McGrath. For the next three falls I would attempt to play the trombone in marching band. And witness one of the more colorful figures at Hackensack High.
Junior year I decided to audition for the school play, Carousel, and who was the director but Mr. McGrath. I was given the role of Mr. Bascombe, the wealthy amusement park owner. In the script, I (125 pounds) was to be the victim of an attempted robbery by Jiggs (250 pounds and a linebacker in the football team). I was to overpower him physically and escape from the situation. My attempt drew guffaws from everyone there that day. Mr. McGrath had the wherewithal to change the script, giving me a gun. Now the script would be believable.
I was also there when he introduced the humanities class to Joe Smith of Smith and Dale. Mr. McGrath died a few weeks ago.