Friday, April 10, 2015
My Boomerang Won't Come Back
I have a former student--and current Facebook friend--who likes to post amusing sayings every day. The one he posted this morning brought back a high school memory:
I couldn't quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.
I had that problem once--big-time.
For some reason my family had gone to New York City ... was it to meet my older brother, who was returning from a college year abroad in France? If so, I was in college at the time, and the story I'm about to tell is even more egregious, for it reveals a ... uh ... lack of judgment that's fairly severe.
Anyway, in NYC we visited the UN building, where, in the gift shop, I bought a boomerang that looked a bit like the one in the photo at the head of this confession. My younger brother, Dave, also got one. I remember going with Dave up to the old football field at Hiram High School (RIP) and throwing them around until we (sort of) got them to the point at which they would wheel in air and whirl back toward us. I was never dumb enough to try to catch it, though--perhaps it never really came close enough to do so?
One fine day I was hanging out with Paul Dreisbach, a year younger, whose father, Dale, was a chemistry professor at Hiram College (my dad chaired Hiram's Division of Education); Paul's mom, Ruthana Dreisbach (I never called her anything but "Mrs. Dreisbach," by the way, even when, later on, she became a colleague in the Aurora Schools), had been my choir director for four years at Hiram High and had directed me in three musicals/operettas: The Mikado (I was Pish-Tush), Masquerade in Vienna (based on Die Fledermaus; I was Dr. Falke), and Trial by Jury (I was the judge). Paul was also in those shows and later starred in Hiram High's production of H.M.S. Pinafore).
Anyway, we were hanging out on the mean streets of Hiram. I had my boomerang. We were near his house. His house had a large picture window.
Do I need to tell more?
Toward his house I whipped the boomerang. It didn't come back. (Here's a link to YouTube, to "My Boomerang Won't Come Back," a 1961 hit by Charlie Drake, a song I now realize, listening for the first time since the 1960s, is grotesquely un-PC.)
Anyway, my boomerang, decidedly not coming back, made an uninvited entry into the Dreisbachs' house--via the picture window. The sound alone was impressive.
Had Paul not been with me, I probably would have run--not realizing at the time, of course, that the boomerang itself, lying on their living room floor, would have been the noose around my neck: There were only two such devices in all of Hiram, I'm sure.
So Paul and I walked over to his house and confessed (well, I did; Paul had done nothing wrong). And Mrs. Dreisbach was incredibly calm (maybe in a state of shock?) and did not at all make me feel worse about what I'd just done.
I had to go home then, confess again. And Dad and the Dreisbachs worked out the details of the repair.
Years later, when Mrs. Dreisbach retired from the Aurora Schools, I spoke at her retirement dinner. I told the boomerang story. Lots of people laughed. I was too afraid to look at her to see if she were sharing in the mirth. I hope she was ...