There’s never been a better day to listen to Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, while emptying a box of junk. But not just any box of junk. One that contains these gems:
1. A collection of all my clips from the 1984-85 Webster Groves High School Echo newspaper, including all known examples of my painfully-unfunny “humor” piece, “From the Dark Side,” a playful knock on another writer’s “From the Light Side” column. Geesh.
2. A press photo of NYC folkie Brenda Kahn. Not autographed.
3. Tax returns from 1990-96.
4. My high school commencement program from WGHS. The guy listed just before me married our German teacher, who, herself, would die of cancer a couple years later. Notable graduates included rockstars Karl Grable and Anne Tkach. The bulk of the rest of the names? Um…? Nope, can’t recall ’em.
5. A 1994-95 St. Louis Blues media pass, issued to Thomas Cron of the Riverfront Times. Who wore for the photo, inexplicably, a weathered Colorado Rockies ballcap.
6. A photo of a college crush playing ping-pong. Ah, Ruth S.!
7. Photos of myself finishing a St. Louis Marathon in 4:05:42. Glad to have evidence of such a thing, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen again.
8. A letter from Cliff Froehlich, turning me down for a job at the Riverfront Times in 1989. The gig would go to Daniel Durchholz. This one gets framed.
9. Contact sheets (and negatives, hmm) of photos taken at Mangia Italiano in the earliest ’90s, featuring wrestlers Wayne St. Wayne, Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff and one of the Von Erich brothers. Damn. That was a great, great day.
10. An “Enormous Richard Distinguished Service Award,” signed by the six members of the group: Chris King, Chris Bess, Joe Esser, Rich Skubish, Karl Mueller and Matt Fuller. This artifact is a keeper, as it entitles me to “impose upon” the group’s members anytime I’m in St. Louis… where I am right now!
11. A list of books read in 1992, including, but not limited to: “The Student as Nigger,” “Rebellion in Newark,” “The SDS,” “Malcolm X Speaks,” “The Year of Young Rebels,” “The Racial Crisis in American Higher Education” and “Death at an Early Age.” And this version of Thomas Crone wasn’t arrested/jailed ever… why? Oh, yeah, for fun, there was also a reading of Douglas Coupland’s “Shampoo Planet.” Balance is very important in life. Was then, is now.
12. A German passport, issued in 1980 and ceasing validity in 1985. Somebody combed their hair back then.
13. And, with 1985 on the brain, a season preview of that year’s Webster University Gorlok soccer team. That squad would go on to win the program’s first game (season one was winless) in a heart-stopping match at Parks College. The team’s 16-year-old keeper was seen in the photo, but was nowhere to be found in the article, probably owing to no coach wanting to actually entrust a 16-year-old to that job.
Good times with a box of junk, friends!
Yet it’s time to get out of the house, for fear of nostalgia poisoning.
Blessed Boxing Day to you and yours.