I’d just broken up a fight between Earl and Eddie – I was seriously disappointed in Earl and had sent him to the front room to serve a time-out until bedtime. Earl had been a good Head Boy, he had a good job at a sawmill and he was on his way to being a productive grownup. The possibility that he would throw it all away by losing his temper and attacking Eddie was extremely frustrating.
I’d returned to VA after visiting a crazy lady’s house and was heading up to my room to sleep off all the beer I’d drunk. Unfortunately, Meg and Terry had heard the Vespa and they came rushing through the kitchen calling my name. My heart sank.
Genny Cream Ale
The VA building had many quirks, probably because no one had ever thought through anything – stuff was just added on when it was needed, without any relation to what was already there.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s chauffeur-driven Cadillac had stopped at VA for directions and I’d offered him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, to the immense amusement of Rich Bolotin – and of Solzhenitsyn himself.
The weekend after a brick had been thrown through VA’s front window I rode the Vespa back to campus and returned with my hunting rifle, a Winchester lever-action Model 94, chambered for a 30-30 round. I carried the Winchester in a faux-leather rifle case and most people assumed I was some sort of musician.
I’d been on the couch at VA with Meg and Terry Petronius when the front window exploded with a sound like an atomic bomb.
I’ve mentioned that I’d been flirting like crazy with Meg Petronius – The Most Perfect Girl in the World – from my first day at VA, but with dismal results. At one point I’d gotten so desperate I even flirted once with her older sister, Terry, who job-shared with Meg.
I had left the repair of the Trombley barn’s floor for last because it seemed like it would be the simplest part of the job. I was way wrong. More of the joists were rotten than I had anticipated and the work mostly had to be done while standing in the barn’s disgusting basement.
The VA kids and I had returned to the Trombley barn to finish painting it, except that the first coat we’d put on two weeks earlier had completely disappeared, soaking into the old wood like it’d never been applied.
The charm offensive
As I’ve mentioned, pretty much everyone in the Northeast Kingdom hated VA. But according to Rich Bolotin, who ran VA, this was no more than a minor misunderstanding – a little re-education would turn these folks around in no time.