Welcome back, five months or so later, to the next chapter in the early Bevboy. For weary readers, this is where I tell the stories of the early part of my life, stopping at around age 25 (I’m far, far older than that, ladies and gentlemen!)
This one, I have promised for months and months now. I finally found a decent open source OCR application and used it this evening to take my high school class prophecy, scan it in, and use this software package to take the tiff image and produce text files. Then, I had all kinds of fun cleaning up the text. I’m sure there are still mistakes here, but my tired eyes cannot find them.
What? What’s that? Oh, what’s a class prophecy?
Glad you asked.
In my high school, at least around the years I was there, we had a person stand up and read this thing called a class prophecy. The person would speculate on the future of his classmates and, as a “prophet”, say what those fates would be.
I had seen this feature in old yearbooks and wondered why there hadn’t been one lately. When told that nobody had spoken up to do it, I foolishly volunteered.
Armed with a typing course, a manual typewriter, and some cheap typewriting paper, I started writing the first draft in April of that fateful year. Remember: No word processor. I had to write my thoughts out by hand on scraps of paper, and assemble them into some kind of coherent narrative.
I wrote the first draft and showed it around to some chums and some teachers. I got some feedback. Wrote a second draft. So enthused were the teachers that they got the school secretary to type the thing in professionally, and that is the basis for tonight’s post.
There is an alternative class prophecy. Sorta, two. In this file folder, I have them. One is the draft you’re about to read, with my notations for improvements in the wording and some such. The other one is a substantially different draft, with some radically different fates for some class mates. I may choose to run that in a later post, if there is a clamour from my readership to do so.
This was a fun exercise. I remember spending hours and hours typing away in my bedroom, doubtless pissing off my parents and my sister, feverishly producing something that would only be read once at the class graduation dinner, and which would not be printed in the yearbook. I did it for the love of doing it, pretty much the same reason why I do this damned blog. If I didn’t do this blog, nobody else would step into the fray and do some of the things that I do in it. You now know that this passion for writing things that nobody wants to read goes back 30 years. I never learn. Nope. Never.
It is embarrassing, reading this juvenilia. It was sorely tempting to rewrite portions, to update the early 1980’s references, or even to cut things out entirely. I resisted those urges, except in the case of obvious typo’s that the secretary made back in the day, and to fix the errors that the OCR software introduced. There are more errors. They are mine.
As I mentioned, this was fun to do. There were a couple of classmates I didn’t like very much. You can have some fun discerning who they were. I won’t confirm or deny. I mean, this was a long time ago. I don’t hold grudges that long. Except for that kid who borrowed a dime from me in 1974 and never paid me back. Randy Miller, you and me gotta talk.
The next time in this very occasional series: My first bicycle.
So, for the 1982 graduating class of Cornwallis District High School in Canning, Nova Scotia, here is the class prophecy.
*** Class Prophecy ***
Having always looked upon changes in life with only the greatestof trepidation (I don't think I could handle menopause), I was therefore, terrified at the prospect of GRADUATION. Beople with whom I had gone to school for, well, a couple of years would be leaving my life, perhaps forever. Would I see them again? Were we like ships (or gallstones) that pass in the night? Does any-
body care so far?
Dumbfounded (as befits a man of my station), I was neverthelessintrigued when I heard of an alleged soothsayer on my favorite T.V. show, THAT'S INCREDIBLY AMAZING, (or maybe it was THE DUKES .OF HAZZARD). This man had a surprisingly good record for predicting future events. He predicted that Prince Charles and Lady Di would have children, and that Ronald Reagen would own a fast food franchise. On a hunch, I visited this little man, who
lived only a short distance from my home.
Arriving at the man・s abode, I felt uneasy. What if I were makinga fool of myself? Oh well, it had never stopped me before! I entered the darkly-lit hallway and there he was: my mysterious soothsayer. But who was that standing beside him? The dark shadows crept along the room, thereby immersing the second gentlemen in a sea of midnight. My attention was drawn back to my peerless prognosticator as he began to speak. My soul cowered in
fear as he said, "Sit down, Beverly."
"No, thank you," I stammered. Sweat poured down my brow as Isearched for the proper words. "I think I'll stand."
"Sit down," he bellowed. The little nerve at his temple shot outand although I could not see his face, I thought there was something naggingly familiar about him. The other man behind him laughed uncontrollably, sort of like Don Rickles in a leper colony. His Inspector Clouseau moustache moved in rhythm to his
gyrations. My soothsayer regarded him for a moment and thencontinued. "I understand that you wish to know of your classmates' futures. We shall show you. But first, do you have an excuse for missing yesterday's class?" He grew embarrassed but quickly composed himself. "Sorry. It's an old habit that won't die. Take a look at my watch. Notice how it seems to sparkle as it is manipulated." He had removed a Bulova from 'neath his robes and had begun to swing it lazily back and forth in fromt of my eyes. Instantly hypnotized, I felt myself floating in some nether world, with my all・\too familiar companions at my side. Who were they?
My musings interrupted, however, by a sudden thud. I looked downat a boxing ring (for I was floating above the ground) with a pair of familiar contenders. Why, there were BOBBY ARCHIBALD and BRUCE HOUGHTONQ! Bobby is the defending world heavy weight champion while Bruce is ranked second. As Bobby goes down for the count (for the third time), my vision blurred and we disappearedonce more.
During our sojourn through the nether world, I had more time to muse. But not very much. We rematerialized in New York city outside a large arena. "I'm impressed. More magic?"
"American Express". On that strange note, we teleported inside the arena, where a sold―out concert by the latest musical sensation, Hell's Belles, is underway. As the three ladies walked on stage, I realized that I was regarding the countenances of PAM CONNELL, HEATHER RAND and ELAINE ELLS. I stood (well, floated) in awe of the spectacle which was assaulting my senses. That was, until they started to sing. As I heard stirring rendition of "I Love Lawrence Welk" (originally recorded by Joan Jett), I couldn't help but wonder why Tiny Tim had quit the music business.
°Everything grew cloudy and then clear again. We were still in the Big Apple, but this time in the garment district, where DEBBIE THOMAS, the eminent fashion designer, is working on her latest creation: black leotards, yellow blouse and red shoes. Her designs are quite the rage in the upper levels of society; those with mucho moola (and little taste). Debbie's designs have been
worn by such people as Shelley Winters, Princess Di (pregnant again) and Orson Welles. By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that Debbie gets most of her ideas from Salvation Army rejects.
The scene changed once again, this time to a hospital on the French Riviera. Dr. ALLAN ROMBAUT, the eminent brain surgeon, is about to begin operating on STEVE BALSOR, who received injuries when his Porsche crashed into a beer truck. Dr. Rombaut, busily signing autographs for his screaming female fans, fails to notice that his patient is now under the care of one Dr. RUTH PARKER (talk about being snatched from the jaws of death), who is the center of the hospital's gossip and the darling of the social set. Dr. Parker is really a veterinarian, but she's practicing on Steve so that she'll be better prepared for tomorrow's operation on her pet gerbil. Oh, missed a stitch, honey! ’
"How do you like the show so far?", asked my psychic companion.
"It's got everything: action, tragedy, irony, laughter, drama. What else do you want?"
"Popcorn," I replied, instantly regretting it. Snocones are much better.
I am not accustomed to being ignored; thus, it was most surprising that we teleported once again, our point of reappearance being Los Angeles. I immediately saw THERESA CASEY, who is a 2000 dollar a day model. She is currently working on a dog food commercial and has hopes to do a commercial for Hogeterp's Bakery, where the real dough is (think about it). The bakery is run by EVELYN HOGETERP, whom I haven't seen since Grade l2. She looks the same--just wealthier. She's really in the dough;
Also in L.A., I couldn't help but notice that Best Motors has opened a new branch. Founded by Jeff Best and JULIE BUTLER, it provides a library service for cars,. The thing is, nobody brings the cars back! That's why they hired ALLAN TUPPER P.I. But I think he watches too many T.V. police shows; he's wearing an old raincoat, sucking on a lollipop and is saying, "love ya, baby". He s shaved his head, and has a cockatoo on his shoulder. How corny can you
Suddenly, the scene shifted to a Las Vegas casino, as the headline performer, TIM THOMPSON, entertains the audience with his zany antics. Tim is very popular in Vegas, and constantly sells out wherever he goes. As Tim goes into his fisherman routine, I notice a familiar figure in the audience. Why, it's TINA FRAIL, who is Tim's biggest fan. Tina (I am told by my guide) is a photographer for the Daily Scandal ― one of their best photographers. But I'm sure she'd get better pictures if the lens cap were off.
Next, we went to a research clinic, where my former classmate, .ARTHUR HOLT, is a medical researcher currently searching for a cure " for hangnails. (Working as Art's assistants are his trained rats as well as DOUG FRAIL. Doug hasn't changed a bit physically since Grade 12, but his I.Q. has increased tremendously. No longer able to relate to we normal folk, he spends his spare time talking to his wife about organic gardening, even though she left him six months ago and moved to Alaska,. Maybe somebody should tell him.
All during this time, I marvelled at the extraordinary abilities of my guides. I said as much to them, albeit tactfully. I fully expected an explanation of some sort, but received only a garbled response. My guides waved their arms majestically and we were off once more, this time to a skyscraper in Toronto, where Dr. PAUL CLARK, the world-renowned psychiatrist, is earning his money. He is sitting in a chair taking copious notes as his patient, JANICE MEEK, is relating her
life story. Paul laughs a silent laugh at a particularly amusing episode ("Bev Keddy did what?"). Janice, it appears, is quite disturbed, and is ranting and raving, saying that the meek shall inherit the earth. But I thought Paul had that claim all sewn up. Leaving Dr. C1ark‘s office, we three headed down the hall and across town to a small school where BEV MUTCH (my namesake) is teaching French to a Grade 8 class. What Gabrielle Roy novel are you teaching them, Bev? Any way, aren't you an English teacher? My second guide smouldered at that though}- maybe they're related.
Toronto (my guides tell me) is a city of many things (whatever that means). They waved their arms and we appeared in front of a building. The sign in front said "Wicked Wanda's and Little Orphan Annie's Laundry and Chinese Food Emporium". The establishment is run by WANDA and ANDREA SCHOFIELD, two of my old buddies. They have a natural business sense and have become the only laundry and Chinese food emporium around, anyway.
Closer to home, I noticed that Wade Enterprises, the multinational corporation run by MIKE WADE, bought New Brunswick (I wonder how T.C. Irving feels about that). My guides tell me that behind every great man there is a great woman (cowering in subjugation?) and this is no exception. Mike's assistant is BETH HARRIS, who is the driving force behind Wade Enterprises. Is there any truth to the rumor that the name will be changed to Harris' Haberdashery? Let us hope not.
A great man needs great protection (no, I don‘t mean deodorant), so Mike hired the best two body guards in the business:DON UEFFING and his younger brother DAVID UEFFING. They are the strong silent types and do their jobs well. "Once", my guides inform me simultaneously (rather like living stereo), "an old man asked Mike for a match and his bodyguards beat the old guy up". Now that's loyalty!
We found LINDA SCOTT in Halifax, where she runs an etiquette clinic. People come from all over the world to get answers to such pressing questions as "What fork do I eat my steak with?" or How does one stop somebody from slurping their vittles?" Meanwhile, SANDRA LAYTON, the beautiful Sandra Layton, the omniscient Sandra Layton, is a reporter for The National Enquirer. Surely you've read her bylines. It was she who broke the story of the affair between Phyllis Diller and John Travolta. And of course she got the exclusive story about Joe Clark:"My Life as a Zombie Slave". Way to go, Sandra! Moving through the air with the greatest of ease, my mysterious guides took me to Morocco, home of sandy beaches, beautiful surf, and income tax evaders. Looking upon the scene of decadence before me, it came to no surprise to see my old pal MICHELLE PHILLIPS strolling along the sands. She has»made a fortune from her multinational chain of old folk‘s homes. Next year, I am told, she will be starting a chain of orphanages.
Moving to the nation's capitol, the House of Parliament has been set on its ear by the young brilliant lawyer SCOTT WILLIAMS. In the few short years since becoming a solicitor, Scott has gotten several murderers, rapists and crooked politicians cleared of any wrong doing. When asked why or how he could allow himself to get these people off the hook, Scott said that he did it for the money.
The scene shifted once more to a military training camp as Colonel I DOUG KAIZER prepares his regiment for an invasion against Quebec. Doug's meteoric rise in rank has been inversely proportional to his hair length. After the war is over, Doug will write his memoirs and move to the French Riviera with his wife (Laura Secord, who else?) and bad back (sleeping on the job too much?). In the midst of planning his strategy, Doug calls for aid from SCOTT CHISHOLM, head of the Canadian navy. Since our navy is so small, Scott's position is only part-time; the rest of the time he works at McDonald's. Scott is a bit worried, since Trudeau (84 years old and still Prime Minister) is planning cutbacks, which means that there will be fewer people to run the ships. This could mean that Scott will have to add janitorial service to his duties. ‘
We found HEIDI GERRITSE and SANDY BARKHOUSE in Hollywood, wherethey are working on their T.V. series The Bobbsey Twins. Since these two went everywhere together in high school, they were a natural choice to play the roles. Also in Tinsel Town we found RICHARD PIERIK working on the movie Star Trek 36: The Revenge of the Tribbles. Richard assumed the role of Mr. Spock when Leonard Nimoy died of old age the year before. He enjoys the notoriety which the part has given him. It allows as well the privilege of picking and choosing movie parts. His next movie is one in which he has the starring role: Binky the Space Cadet.
I found HEATHER D'ARCY in Vancouver, where she is vice・presidentof Canadian Tires. Her keen business sense and acumen have driven the corporation to the brink of bankruptcy.
CINDY McFETRIDGE is alive,well and living in Windsor (what does one do in such a place?). LINDA THORPE is an umpire for the Montreal Expos. CATHY STEVENS writes an advice column which is syndicated worldwide ( I could swear that I read one of them about 15 years ago, though).
"But what of me?" I asked as we returned to my guides' home."You? Hahaha! You don't want to know! It's a fate worse than death. You will be living in Newfoundland."
"Oh, no", I gasped. "Don't tell me anymore!" I felt myself breakingout in a cold sweat. As my first guide smiled, his eyes danced merrily back and forth, and at last I knew who he was. And his companion, as he laughed (haw, haw, haw!) I knew who he was as well. His hairdo had changed (probably several times) but I still knew. "I know you both. You're Mr. Sin..." But then I realized I was talking to
myself, since my guides had disappeared. But I knew for a fact thatmy guides had been none other than Mr. Sinnott and Mr. Jones.
Wandering from the now deserted house, I knew that whatever the futuremight hold, that I would be there to face it. I couldn't choose my future, to be sure, but I still had had an advantage. When it comes
right down to it, Newfoundland wouldn't be so bad. I could buy fur`coats real cheap!
Best wishes, Grads of '82