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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Trier and Wilmette Recollections Shared by an Old Friend

Message from a classmate:

      I'm still enjoying the reunion.  And I'm very grateful you brought Joseph McCloskey with you.  Also, I enjoyed learning that you dwell in the environs of my alma mater - a wonderful part of our country. 
      We survived Sonnenfeld
[our excellent, demanding, fifth grade teacher in Wilmette] together.  You likely may not remember me, as I spent a considerable amount of time in the silent "conference" room working independently with serenity - efforts to manage my behavior.  My solitude was commonly interrupted when Skip Dunham was sent in; he would educate me on the sexuality of the world. 
      Glad you convinced me that nobody was cut from the swimming or diving team.  I was self-centered enough back then to interpret not being "chosen" as a premier as being cut.  At least now I can begin my recovery.
      Anyway it was great to see you and identify that the spirit of your youth still prevails.

  George Brannen


Dear George,

It was good to see you, my friend.  I know what you mean by "still enjoying the reunion."  Me, too.

Interesting to read your story about your interpretation of being put on the "C Squad."  I had the identical reaction when, as an eight year-old, I was told that I was being put on a "farm team" in the Wilmette Little League.  Proud of my ability as a sandlot/Cub Scout League softball player, I was so hurt not to be put in the "majors" that I quit, and never played competitive baseball again. 

As for the "C Squad," it had a few remarkable successes.  Mike Doscher was a C-Squad member for three years, then made the State Meet Team as a senior.  He had skipped a grade, and was a year younger than we were.  Once he matured a bit, he got really fast.  I do not remember his event in the State Meet, but I think he may have been our second man in the 200 free, as Dave Robertson had moved David Lyons into the 50 and 100 for the state meet, letting Terry "T-bone" Townsend handle the 200 and the 400, events they had shared all season long in the dual meets.  This left a second slot open in the distance events.  As it happened, Lyons and T-bone brought us four first places in the solo freestyle events.  The last time I saw Mike Doscher, he was swimming in the finals of the NCAA meet at N. C. State in 1963, as a member of Stanford's 400-yard Freestyle Relay team.   ...

Our meeting and conversation were part of the Plan.  There are no coincidences.  That realization has come to me only in the last three years. 



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