Should I Have Listened To My Mother?

Another fine sunny day in Sitka.  Cold, but clear, no snow melt yet.  All the shop keepers and the people in the coffee shops commented on the weather as if we had been given a gift.  

Today (2/25/'14) in the Wall Street Journal, an old high school friend, Ralph Gardner, wrote in his column, a nice story about our old English teacher, Joe Moriarty.  Joe was a black Irishman who drank to excess and was larger than life in our eyes.  He was wild and mercurial.  He let me read my writing aloud and caused me to fall in love with poetry.  He allowed me to find the rhythm and flow in language and to circumvent the dyslexic side of my brain from gumming up the music that words could make.  That tonight I am here typing rather than in a bar or behind the wheel of a long haul truck, or on the bandstand with a country band somewhere I think is due to Joe.   He was the hero to many of us.  He made doing well in school seem rebellious, which was important in the mid sixties and kept many of us in school.  

I'm grateful to Ralph for writing such a fine piece in such a prominent paper.  You can see it here:  But I have to wonder why he felt that he needed to use our yearbook photographs and reprint them in the Wall Street Journal?  

I remember my mother begging me to get my hair cut before the yearbook photos were to be taken in 1971  but would I?   No...of course not.   I think I even remember her saying words to the effect of: "There is going to come a day when you are going to look back on those pictures and, you know, fashions are going to have changed...."  Well you can guess the rest.  Today those pictures were distributed to the readership of the Wall Street Journal.  I don't know what their readership is, but I'm guessing somewhat more than the Daily Sitka Sentinel, and I would have paid GOOD MONEY to keep those photos out of the Sitka paper.  You can judge for yourself, but let's just say: Bozo the Clown with a bad part down the side.

Anyway... is today the day I'm embarrassed by my youth?  

Well...All I can say is this:  I hope I didn't cause my mother any real anxiety, but somehow I think she had more important issues to worry about in 1971,  besides my hair. The truth was I was doing all right, Joe Moriarty and my mom had taken good care of me, and even though they are both years gone now, they both take good care of me to this day.

I have lots to be embarrassed by, but the hair is the least of it.  Then...and now. 


Cold Day, north wind blows

and a few white caps stack up.

Tears come to my eyes. 

jhs--Sitka,  Alaska