One of the fun things about the self-publishing boom is getting to read memoirs of ordinary people. The folks who live next door, who sell boxes or repair copiers, who marry their prom date and have two kids and live more or less happily ever after–those kind of “folks.” Such is the case with this little memoir by a graduate of my own high school.
Greg Phillips tells of the fun he had, the hell he raised, the dodgeball he played and the cars he drove in his short and sweet memoir of life in Delaware County, Indiana in the 60’s and 70’s. He was a young man full of life and energy–energy that was often curtailed by the whack of male teacher’s fraternity paddle on his backside! As a parent I often yearned for my son to be in a school like I went to–where there were decent men, family men, who taught not only history or math, but also taught boys to be hard-working, straight-talking, gentlemen who knew how to handle themselves. As Greg Points out, this was before the childless Phd’s (as I like to call them) took over education.
This could have been a teacher’s actual paddle.
What shines thru in this story is the accountability, the consequences for actions, the do-the-right-thing spirit of the times in which Greg and I grew up. Whether its the story of the fabled 1972 Tiger basketball team with future Purdue star Bruce Parkinson, or the integrity drilled into boys in the same-sex gym classes of a saner era. Greg writes truthfully about all the ways he was formed into being a hard-working, hard-playing family man and businessman. He tells about the tragic loss of his son, the sad loss of his father and all types of life experiences.
I like the memories of boys being boys and no on calling the cops or the therapists or the safety squirrels. I remember the legend of the teacher who lost his finger in the basketball hoop–he taught the next day. That’s the way men were then and the way they should still be. Boys and girls of every era raise hell in one way or another. We shouldn’t over-react to it.
Illustration Credit and link to the poem Dodgeball–go on, click! Read it!
“Bad” is too harsh. This isn’t fine literature and was never meant to be!
He owes no apology for his talk-it-out writing style, but Mrs. Dunn would have a lot to say! And while I certainly wasn’t in his gym class–it was all single sex back then, I don’t imagine quite as much profanity was used, but I AM sure it was all implied.
This isn’t so much a book as a nice long chat with the author at the Hide-out or the Mouse on Smith Street. And that’s just fine.
3 full stars. A fun written oral history of a life well lived and not yet done!