One of my college roommates sent me an email on April 1st. The message line was "Brad tries out for the WVU bowl team". When I opened it the email said: "Go Brad..." and then "April Fool".
There was a picture attached. I opened it and it was a picture of me as a college sophomore, sitting on the toilet in the apartment three of us shared....
People who knew me in that era of my life call me "Brad". Once, as an affectation in high school, I wanted to be called "J. Gordon" like "F. Scott". Anyone in my family calls me "Jimmie", except for one branch that called me "Jimmie Gordon". Most of my grown up life I've been "Jim". No one has ever called me "James" except the people who call me on the phone trying to sell me something or have me give money to some cause.
My freshman roommate in Arthur I. Boreman Hall was Mike Lawless, who graduated high school with me. Sophomore year we moved to an apartment with the greatly to be desired address of "69 Richwood Avenue". Mike was a student in mining engineering as was Mike Miano (who sent me the picture). Both Mikes' were in school a semester and working somewhere in mining the other semester. It was just lucky that they alternated semesters, so one was there when the other wasn't. Our third room mate was a kid named Doc Likens (I think his name was Henry). I have no memory of how we found him to share the three bedroom apartment over a laundromat, but, like me, he was there both semesters. We didn't call Doc "Doc" for his brilliance. I'm not sure why we did. He brought the name with him. He was the messiest person I've ever lived with. Mike Miano was the neatest.
My junior year I lived in an apartment further up Richwood Avenue with a kid two years younger than me named Jo-Jo Tagnesi. Jo-Jo and I grew up together in Anawalt. The woman who owned the apartment lived downstairs and we lived upstairs. I can't remember her name but I do remember we had to pass through part of her living space to get upstairs. So, besides Doc, I only roomed with people I already knew.
My senior year, I was a Resident Assistant in a freshman dorm that was the living place of young men and women who had received 'late admission'. That meant they applied after the deadline or were admitted after people with better grades had been. You can imagine the general atmosphere of that dorm, I suspect. Being an RA, I didn't have a roommate.
Sitting on the toilet, I had on a yellow button-down collar shirt. I think I had five of them, all alike. Yellow was my favorite color back then. Now, most of the things I own are some shade (mostly dark) of blue.
I have big horned rimmed glasses on. The most startling thing about the picture (besides how young I was!) is that I didn't have a beard. I had a modest moustache , but no beard. I didn't grow a beard until after Bern and I got married in 1970. I've had it ever since except for two times. The first time I cut it off was during a vacation when Josh and Mimi were quite small. Funny thing was, I cut off the beard part when we stopped to stay in a motel on the way to Long Beach, NC. The kids didn't seem to notice, but the second day we were at the beach I went into the bathroom and shaved off the beard. When I came out Josh and Mimi reacted with panic and confusion, running to Bern crying. They didn't appear to recognize me! It took me several days to get back enough beard for them accept me as their father.
The second time was once when I was on Block Island. The kids were mostly grown. I was subbing at St. Ann's Church on a Sabbatical for three weeks and then Bern and some friends were coming up for another couple weeks. I just got it in my head to cut off my beard. I did and looked in a mirror and thought I looked like a slightly smaller John Goodman. I had it mostly grown back by the time Bern arrived.
I searched my memory after Mike's email and picture of me trying out for the 'bowl' team to see if there could be any more damaging photos to worry about....I'm just glad I grew up before smart phones and tablets and the Internet and U-Tube. God knows what nonsense Miano could have gotten into these days....
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