Time has jumped around in the last few episodes, as so many different things were going on in our lives and the lives of others in the Gang. However, it's time to move the story forward, as some of the most exciting events of our lives were coming at us.
It was February of 1977, and the spring semester was just getting under way. The Montreal Olympics were behind Tim and the other Gang Olympians; and that awful plagiarism accusation was equally behind me. In fact, my stature had grown as a result of the plagiarism business, but, sadly, at the expense of a member of the faculty who should've known better than to try what he did. The phone on my desk rang and it was Hamilton. "Lunch?"
"Of course. When?"
"Right now. I'll come by your office. I'll drive. My treat."
OK, I'll admit I was intrigued. Hamilton's invitations were often generous, but usually involved his asking me to come by his office, or meeting him somewhere. I didn't have time to think much about it before he stuck his head in my door and said, "Let's go."
We went. As we headed off campus in his car I asked, "Where're we going?"
"To the Bar and Grill."
That could only mean one place, the Downtown Bar and Grill in East Grand Rapids, across the river in Minnesota. It was Hamilton's favorite hole in the wall, sort of equivalent to Fred's love of Jerry's. Except that Jerry's was several steps upscale from the Bar and Grill (it's Downtown name was never spoken; it was always the Bar and Grill), all of which said nothing for Jerry's. But it was quiet, private, had no TV, and served excellent homemade soups and decent sandwiches - provided you were willing to take the soup of the day and the current sandwich special. If not, you got canned soup and packaged deli meat sandwiches. They knew Hamilton and didn't bother to ask him what he wanted: soup, special sandwich, and a draft beer. I had the same, but with Coke.
It wasn't the first time I'd been to the Bar and Grill. Hamilton had first brought me during my first year as a law student. Back then the bartender/ proprietor - Mac - had told me that I must be "some special student" because Hamilton only rarely brought a student to the Bar and Grill. Since then he'd brought me a few times, usually when he wanted to have some confidential or "off the record" conversation. I had no idea what was coming now.
"Charlie, only my wife and Prexy know this, but it's time for you to know it as well. I'm retiring in this summer, technically in June, but I expect to stay around until September."
This was totally unexpected. Hamilton wasn't, I was pretty sure, nearing retirement age. Before I could speak, he continued.
"I'm only 57, but it's time. Let me explain."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Don't be stupid or modest. You know perfectly well why I'm telling you this. Now let me explain."
"Please go ahead."
"Prexy and I've been talking ever since you and Tim left here, promising to come back. It was obvious that Tim had his eyes on being the President of the University of North Dakota, and you certainly wanted a role other than "First Partner." As far as we were concerned that meant that you would be the next Dean of Law."
"Yes, but, Hamilton, I'd like that position when you retire."
"I am retiring."
"I mean when you retire at a normal retirement age."
"Impossible. Think about it. Prexy is older than I am. In the normal course of things he'd retire a half a dozen years before me. If Tim succeeds as President, then there's no way for you to become the Dean of Law. There are search committees, the law faculty will be involved, so will the Trustees; but ultimately the appointment of a Dean is the responsibility of the President. And Tim can't appoint his partner. And it has nothing to do with being gay. Prexy couldn't appoint his wife. Even if it could be accomplished administratively and legally, your appointment would always be suspect, and your effectiveness compromised. No, you have to be appointed Dean of Law by Prexy. Since Deans don't appoint Presidents, there'll be no problem with Tim becoming the next President of this great university even if his partner is the Dean of Law."
"OK, I understand where you're coming from. But I can't have you giving up the deanship several years early just so I can be dean."
"Of course you can. Prexy and I have everything worked out, and neither you, nor Tim, nor anybody else is going to screw it up. So just listen."
I knew when to shut up, so I just listened.
"You and I have been talking about beefing up the law school by adding centers for the study of particular aspects of law. We talked about Native American law, and environmental law, both reasonable things to be located in North Dakota. I'd like to be involved with the Native American law center, but it's obvious that the director of that center is going to have to be a Native American - anything else would be insulting and ruin the chances for its success right from the start. Frankly, environmental law's interesting, but it's best left to the next generation. I don't think that I'd be able to bring cutting edge ideas to such a law center."
"Not only have we talked about a Center for the Study of Native American Law and a Center for the Study of Environmental Law, Tim has started talking about those centers with possible donors. I expect announcements to be forthcoming soon," I said.
"So do I. Tim's been keeping me posted. Well, Prexy and I have decided to add a third center to the list: The Center for the Study of Polar Law."
"Just exactly what do you mean by polar law?"
"There are all kinds of legal issues related to the exploration, and exploitation of the poles. The North Pole is under an ocean and brings issues related to the law of the sea and a host of other issues. The South Pole is on land, and the exploration and exploitation of Antarctica, as well as the territorial claims to it, present a different set of legal issues. Both present political as well as legal issues and would be very exciting to study. As you may know, and I know you, so I believe that you do know, I've published several articles on the application of the law of the sea to the Arctic Ocean, and my appointment as Director of the new center would be quite reasonable...."
"And could be announced by Prexy when the new law center was announced, leading to the inevitable need for you to prematurely retire from the deanship. Oh, you and Prexy are smooth. Tim and I are going to have tough acts to follow."
"I do hope so. But you know, the thing that Prexy and I are going to be most proud of, we think, is attracting you two to this university and keeping you here. You two are quite a prize, you know."
"So where are you going to raise the money for a Center for the Study of Polar Law? Is Tim going to have to raise it?"
"That would be laying a pretty big burden on Tim. 'Here, kid. Raise a few million for a Center for the Study of Polar Law, and you can then be president of this university.' I don't think so."
"You know he'd take on the challenge - and succeed."
"Oh, I know that. Tim's the Wunderkind. But that isn't going to happen. No, about the time that you and Tim came back to North Dakota, Fred approached Prexy with a simple offer. He told Prexy, 'When you're ready to move to make Tim and Charlie President and Dean, let me know what kind of money you need to make it happen.'"
"Fred said that?"
"I don't know just how much money Fred has, but it can't be bottomless. He's talking about quite a bit of money to start a law center. Such a center won't be worth a dime if it doesn't have several fellows, at least one of which has a national reputation."
"That's about what Fred said. He's pledged the first five million dollars as part of an even money matching grant. And he says he'll easily find the second five million. He also says that he couldn't think of a better way to spend his money. And, I quote, 'You tell Tim and Charlie that.'"
"Fred, I love you."
"Tell him that."
"Oh, I have and I will."
"Good, everything's settled. How's your sandwich?"
The special sandwich of the day was hot pastrami on a special rye bread that Mac bought at some bakery out in the Minnesota woods. He made his own sauce to put on it, along with well aged Swiss cheese. "Superb."
"Good. Tell Mac."
"I will when he comes by the table fishing for compliments."
"Have I brought you here enough that you're so familiar with Mac's habits?"
"Oh, yes. But he deserves the compliments. But what do you mean, 'Everything's settled'? It sounds like a lot of things need to be planned and executed before you can be established as a Director, me as a Dean, and Tim as President of the whole damn place."
"You know, Charlie. Usually it's you and Tim telling Prexy and me to get out of the way and let things happen. Well, it's our turn. Get out of the way; say, "Yes," when you're supposed to; show up for the right ceremonies and press conferences when we tell you; and just let it happen. The press conference announcing the new Center for the Study of Polar Law and its new Director, Professor Hamilton Fry, will take place next Monday. Prexy, Fred, the President of the Trustees, and I will be there. You and Tim won't. Gee, it's fun to contemplate upstaging you two."
"Out of the way I'll stay."
"Good. On the way home let's visit your good friend Carl and get him started on the design for a building for the Center for the Study of Polar Law."
"Out of the way I'll stay. By the way, how much of this can I share with Tim, and when?"
"All of it. Now. But keep the lid on beyond you two for now. Let the rest of your bunch learn it from the press releases, not from you two. OK?"
It wasn't long before Mac came by for his expected compliments, which we freely gave. Hamilton told him to put the meal on his tab and we left. As we got into Hamilton's car I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. I said, "Hamilton, you're a really special guy."
"So are you, Charlie. Thanks."
Tim and I were expecting to go out to dinner that evening with Franklin and Phil, but I called Franklin and cancelled. "I can't tell you why, but it's really important that Tim and I have some time alone together this evening."
Franklin was, of course, completely understanding. "Another time," was his response. "Don't fret about cancelling, I understand."
I called Tim and told him dinner would be at our house and not to be late. Then I sailed out the door of the law school building. I'm not sure that my feet touched ground as I went through the grocery store and florist on the way home. Tim was greeted with a wonderful dinner (rack of lamb), lovely fresh flowers in the middle of the table, and a partner just bursting with news to tell.
"OK, Charlie, what's up?"
I didn't know where to start. So I just told the whole story from the beginning, pretty much as I have just told it here. Tim listened, spellbound. At the end he sprang up, came around the table and hugged me. "Charlie that's just so wonderful. That means this fall you'll be Dean of Law. Dean Charlie. It sounds nice; informal, but nice. By the way, is this new Center for the Study of Polar Law going to be part of the law school or a separate entity? Are you going to become Hamilton's new boss?"
"I don't know, but I guess so. We certainly have been talking about these new law centers in a way in which I assumed that they'd be part of the law school. We'll just have to wait and see what Hamilton has in mind."
Tim was ready to take me, right then, up to bed. But I said, "Tim, I don't want to come down later this evening and clean up the kitchen and I certainly don't want to do it in the morning. We have to clean up before we go upstairs."
"OK, but only if we do it naked. Undress me."
I did, and then he undressed me. He took our clothes upstairs and put them away, coming back down hard as a rock, but willing to help clean up before he did anything about the hardness.
I said, "If we hurry, we can get this all done before you go soft."
We did dispatch the dishes into the dishwasher quite quickly, straightened out the kitchen and, holding each other's dicks, headed up the stairs. "This is your day, Charlie. How do you want it to end?"
"In your mouth and then in your arms. But first, you inside of me."
"Which orifice did you have in mind?"
"I'm going to fuck you, OK? Then I'm going to suck you."
The next thing I knew he was doing exactly what he said he was going to do, and I was loving it. As I came in his mouth he moved up and kissed me deeply, and we held each other for a long, long time. We both knew that that day our dreams were fully on track. Our lives were going to be what we'd dreamed they'd be.
Were we ready? I don't know. Tim would be the youngest President in the history of the University, and as far as we knew the youngest current president of any state university. I wouldn't be quite so young as the Dean of Law, but still pretty young. Hamilton had been dean for twenty years, beginning at age 37. I would become dean at age 36, almost 37. Well, if my tenure was as good as Hamilton's it would be a success. Only time would tell - for both of us.
Hamilton duly announced a special meeting of the law faculty for the following Monday at 3:00 p.m. He scheduled a press conference for 4:00 p.m. in the President's Office. As a member of the law faculty, I would be present at the meeting but not the press conference following. Prexy chaired the faculty meeting, announcing the creation of a Center for the Study of Polar Law. Fred announced his $5,000,000 challenge grant to fund it, and then Prexy announced that Hamilton would be its first director, beginning in September. Hamilton then announced his retirement as Dean of Law.
Al Dudley, who was in his third year of teaching constitutional law was sitting beside me in the audience. He turned and whispered, "When does your announcement come?"
Katherine Wilson, a long time member of the law faculty, sitting on the other side of me, heard the question and said, "Yes, when?"
It would've been disingenuous to try to play dumb. On the other hand, I could hardly tell them I expected to be appointed Dean of Law in the near future. So I decided to smile enigmatically, and let them draw their own conclusions. They did, and soon it was all over the law school that I was going to be the next dean.
People started coming by my office and congratulating me, and there was nothing I could do but say, "Thanks, but no appointment has been made; no search has even been started. Sure, I'd like to be the next dean, but it isn't my decision; an orderly process will have to go forward." This was nearly always greeted by a knowing nod or a wink. One thing was clear, however, everyone that I talked to both assumed that I'd be the next dean and thought it was a wonderful idea.
Prexy moved swiftly. He'd anticipated the situation exactly, and had simply been waiting to confirm his predictions. It was no accident that the original announcement had been coordinated with an upcoming trustees meeting. At that meeting the trustees went into closed executive session to discuss personnel matters. They came out of closed session and invited in the press - which consisted of one reporter from the Herald and two from the Dakota Student. The chair of the trustee personnel committee rose and reported from their executive session in the form of a motion: "That the Board of Trustees of the University of North Dakota concurs in the appointment by the President of the University of Professor Charlie as the Dean of Law, effective September 1, 1977."
Prexy noted that since full discussion had taken place in executive session a vote was now in order. The motion was unanimously passed.
The next day the Herald had a short article on page 4 telling of the appointment. They did point out that it was quite rare that a dean was appointed without an extensive search, but that popular opinion was so in support of the appointment that a search had seemed pointless. Just exactly how the reporter had inferred all of that from the little that was said in the public meeting is unknown. Either someone talked or he guessed well. In any case, he pretty accurately summed up the behind closed doors conversation, according to Prexy the next day.
The Dakota Student was more succinct. They had a screaming headline that simply said, "DEAN CHARLIE." The article was pretty short, just providing the facts. An editorial said, "The trustees got it right for a change. But what do we call him? We think our headline writer got it right. Welcome Dean Charlie!"
May of 1977 was soon upon us. On Friday evening, May 27, Dr. Wilbur Olafsen, Principal of Southwest High School in Minneapolis, would be honored at a grand retirement ball at the Fjord Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis. When we'd heard of Dr. Olafsen's planned retirement, we'd immediately put the date on our calendars. However, it soon became clear that we weren't simply going to be attendees. The planning committee called Tim on the phone and asked him to be the emcee for the whole affair.
"Why me? Surely it should be one of his colleagues in Minneapolis."
"You're his most famous graduate. He tells stories of Tim the student at Southwest all the time. You're the graduate he's most proud of. For you to come back and be the emcee at his retirement would be his fondest dream. Tim, you must do it."
Of course, he agreed. He made a quick trip down to Minneapolis in March to meet with their planning committee. Most were current faculty, and about half of them had been on the faculty when Tim was a student. One had been his teacher. And then there was Nelson Waters, Tim's old high school diving coach. Coach Waters had been in Mexico with us, and then had been in Montreal for the big retirement press conference. It'd been Coach Waters who'd contacted Tim and urged him to be part of the retirement event.
Tim asked, "Isn't a ball in the grandest ballroom of the city more than you usually do for a high school principal?"
"Wilbur Olafsen isn't your usual high school principal. He's been principal for 32 years, and has made Southwest one of the finest high schools in the state, if not the nation. Students, teachers, parents - they all love him. And we can expect most of them, past and present, to want to be at this ball. The ballroom, opened to its fullest, can handle 1,400 persons and we expect to sell that many tickets." That was Nancy Franks, chair of the committee.
Tim asked, "You're calling it a ball. That means dancing, dinner I assume, and less than the usual amount of speeches. Am I right?"
"Exactly. Dr. Olafsen knows how to be mercifully short, and he deserves the same at his retirement."
"Who's going to provide the music?"
"We have three student dance bands that want to perform. They're pretty good, but we'd like some professional group as well. There are a number of good dance bands around the Twin Cities, and they'll be a little more sedate than the student groups."
Tim said, "How would you like Chubby Checker?"
"Just exactly how are we going to get Chubby Checker, and what in the world would that cost?"
"I don't know, I'll ask him."
"You know Chubby Checker?"
"Not well. But he'll take my phone calls."
Chubby did, in fact, take Tim's phone call. He agreed to play at the ball for no fee, just transportation for him and his band. They'd be in Chicago in May, so it wouldn't cost much. The committee was both flabbergasted and delighted. Tim left the committee to make their plans, saying that he'd be glad to go along with whatever they worked out.
Letters went back and forth, and the committee did keep Tim posted with their plans, and they did a good job of incorporating the few suggestions that he made - one of which was to keep his and Chubby Checker's names out of the advance publicity. "We want people to come to this to say goodbye and good luck to Dr. Olafsen, not to see a musician or sports celebrity.
One thing that the committee had decided early on was that students were going to be welcome at the party. That led to the immediate decision that there'd be no alcohol. For some of the adults that might be a spoiler, but the committee was adamant. Tim completely agreed. So did Dr. Olafsen. They didn't consult him much on the plans, but they did discuss key decisions with him, and he was completely delighted to have students part of the party - even though most such faculty retirements were mainly for colleagues and key alumni and parents. This party was different, and they realized just how different it was going to be when tickets sold out in less than a week. The announcement had gone out in an alumni mailing, a system-wide teachers' bulletin, and the student newspaper as close to simultaneously as possible. The response, from all groups was stupendous. The committee was delightfully surprised.
Tim and I arrived in Minneapolis in the morning of the big day. Dr. and Mrs. Olafsen had invited us to lunch at the Radisson Coffee Shop before the run-through that was planned for the afternoon. We had a lovely lunch, sharing old times and catching each other up to date. It was clear that Dr. Olafsen hadn't a clear idea of what was planned for the evening, "I'm just along for the ride." Chubby Checker would be a complete surprise, as would the fact that every single class valedictorian since he'd become principal would be in attendance. The committee has insisted that, arm wrestling contest or not, Tim would be in that number. He didn't fight it.
The evening started at 6:30 when the doors to the ballroom were opened, even though the official time was 7:00. Hors d'oeuvres, a beautiful spread, were available on buffet tables in the ante-room to the ballroom. At seven o'clock two of the tables were switched to salad and at 7:30 three others were switched to main courses. This gradual approach to the meal meant that there was never a long line to get to the food.
The main ballroom was tightly packed with tables, with a fairly large dance floor in the middle. A platform on the left side of the dance floor provided a podium and a bandstand. The walls were decorated with newspapers clippings depicting major events in Dr. Olafsen's career that had made the newspapers. There were more than a hundred, and these were mostly major articles - including a fair number involving Tim.
One of the student bands played, softly (the committee kept control of the master volume control for the sound system), until just before seven when they left the floor. Chubby Checket walked to the podium and, without introducing himself at all, introduced the "Twin Citians," a student dance band. Chubby disappeared and the band played, quite well. Urged by members of the committee people started dancing - a mixture of traditional ballroom and the now standard, never touch each other, steps of the current generation. All ages seemed to mix well on the dance floor, and the music of the Twin Citians was pretty traditional: big band stuff with a little rock beat added.
Chubby reappeared, still unintroduced, but the chatter in the room indicated that a lot of people had figured out who he was. The "Black Bats," another student group, were introduced, and the music they played was just about what you'd have expected from a band of that name. Their costumes fit the image as well. The dancing was now pretty much limited to students and a few brave adults, but it gave the rest of us a chance to eat the good dinner that was provided. Then it was Coach Waters', representing the event committee, turn to speak. He welcomed everyone and introduced Tim who would be the emcee for the evening.
Tim did a wonderful job. He spoke briefly, and then introduced a series of faculty and alumni who shared stories of Dr. Olafsen's life. They were all wonderful tributes to a wonderful man and principal. The stories were interspersed with breaks to dance, and the third student group, which had played at the beginning, was now introduced, this time by Tim. They were the "Tornados" and their stuff was actually danceable.
Precisely at 9:30 Tim stopped the music - mid-number - and brought Dr. Olafsen to the podium. He was given a series of gifts, hugs, plaques, and mementos. Then Tim announced, "And now especially to honor Wilbur and Cynthia Olafsen, I'd like to introduce the dance band of Mr. Chubby Checker who's going to invite us all to "Do the Twist!"
Here, indeed, was Chubby Checker. Those that had recognized him before were saying, "I told you so!" and others were kicking themselves for not making the connection. A few were scratching their heads and saying, "Who's Chubby Checker?" or "Chubby who?" After his first number Chubby called Tim and me to the dance floor and said, "OK, I know you guys can do the Twist." The music started and we did, indeed, do the Twist. Then Tim moved over and invited Mrs. Olafsen to dance with him, and she did. She was a pretty good dancer, too. Two students, both seniors, had been primed to join me and Dr. Olafsen at that point, because we wanted to avoid the question of his dancing with a man. (This was Minneapolis in the 1970's folks!) Soon the dance floor was filling up, and a lot of people were doing the Twist.
Soon Tim took to the podium again and introduced a few more speakers, all alumni, to tell tales out of school about their former principal. The best story of the evening was about THE STREAKER. As soon as this was mentioned a roar went up from much of the audience. A graduate of about three years before told the story. As I retell it here, I'm adding additional material that I learned later, because it's a good story and it's worth a few more details than we had time for that evening.
One day, just as the second lunch crowd was getting ready for the bell that'd take them back to class, a tall, blond young man, with long wavy hair, naked as a jaybird, entered the cafeteria from an emergency exit door that someone had previously opened just a crack. He ran through the tables, receiving loud cheers, and then into the hall. He ran down the ground floor hall, up the stairs, through the main floor hall, past the school offices, and toward the outside door at the end of the hall. By the time he'd gotten this far a crowd had come up from the cafeteria via the central stairs and were cheering him on. He almost made it out the door when John Kramer, a second year math teacher with a quite Franklinesque stature, grabbed him by the arm and stopped him dead. Kramer pulled him into his room where he was teaching calculus to a group of seniors, mostly, but not entirely, boys. Despite his using his one free hand to hide himself as best he could, the streaker put on a pretty good show for the class, who had a hard time containing their giggles. Kramer told the boy, "Sit at my desk there; this isn't going to become a sex-ed class." Then he got on the office intercom and said, "I think we need a few men as an escort, and perhaps a sheet, in Room 119."
Dr. Olafsen and three men teachers soon arrived. They hadn't brought a sheet, but a rolled up, thin wrestling mat. The mat was unfurled and rolled around the young man who was advised to hold it up and follow Dr. Olafsen. Holding up the mat made it impossible for the boy to hide his face, and he was marched down the hall with the mat stretching from his armpits to just above his ankles. The hall was crowded with students, who Dr. Olafsen hadn't tried to clear away at all. A lot had cameras, and they used them. Again, Dr. Olafsen didn't make any effort to stop the pictures.
The boy was taken to Dr. Olafsen's office, along with the three men teachers who had accompanied him. He was told to sit down in a chair facing Dr. Olafsen's desk. He couldn't sit down without removing the wrestling mat, so he didn't move. "Sit down!" ordered Olafsen. The boy sat, and the mat fell to the floor. It was speedily removed by two of the teachers standing by.
The boy was red as a beet, covering his privates with his hands. Dr. Olafsen got his name and school; he was a senior at one of the St. Paul public high schools. His story slowly came out. He had accepted a dare. Three other students from his school had come with him. One had come into the cafeteria and easily opened the exit door. He had disappeared in the commotion after the streaker ran through the cafeteria. The other two were waiting in a car on the street outside the exit door that had been the streaker's destination. When they realized he hadn't made it, they took off. Dr. Olafsen didn't even try to find out their names.
Dr. Olafsen left the room for a while. The boy, who we now knew was named Nate, just sat there with the three teachers staring at him. His hands never left his lap. Shortly Dr. Olafsen returned, and asked Nate a couple of additional questions.
Nate began to get a little upset at his predicament. He was sitting in a principal's office, naked, with four people staring at him and making no effort to get him something to cover up with. Nate said, "Get me a sheet or something. I have some rights."
Dr. Olafsen smiled and said, "Let me explain exactly what your rights are. You have the right to be arrested. There's a school police officer on duty in this school. I could, and probably should, call him in, charge you with indecent exposure, and have him arrest you. When he did, he would immediately call the local police station and they'd send a paddy wagon over to pick you up. I'm sure that they'd also bring some kind of cover for you to wear, probably jail coveralls - they're bright orange. You'd be taken to the jail, your age determined, and then you'd be turned over to juvenile services, since you're under 18. They'd call your parents, release you into their custody (provided they were willing to vouch for your turning up when summoned), and then investigate the matter thoroughly. Numerous students here would be witnesses to the event. Eventually you'd end up before a juvenile court master, who would - you hope - see a certain amount of humor in your adventure and only put you on probation until your 18th birthday - but you could get sent to a residential juvenile facility, a.k.a. reform school. After reporting to a probation officer until you were 18, you'd be released from probation, provided your school counselor and principal agreed that you had been well-behaved during that time. Then you could go back before the court master, have your probation legally terminated, and your record sealed because you had been a juvenile.
"Is that the right you'd like to exercise?"
"I didn't think so. You've been running naked and barefoot through my school, I want to make sure that you haven't presented us with a health problem."
Olafsen picked up the phone and called for the school nurse. He met her outside his office, and they conferred briefly. She made a quick trip back to her infirmary and then came into Olafsen's office. "Is this the young man?"
"What do they call you?"
"OK, Nate. Stand up." He did, very reluctantly. "Face Dr. Olafsen's desk." He did as ordered. "Bend over the desk." He did. "Take your hands and spread your butt cheeks, I want to check you out."
She put on rubber gloves, took a tongue depressor, and used it to spread him even wider and check out his rear end. She pulled off the gloves, catching the tongue depressor inside one of them, and tossed them into the waste basket. "Turn around." Nate did. "Back up to the desk." Nate did. "Spread your legs and lean back. Use you hands to support yourself." Nate didn't move.
Olafsen said, "Shall I call Officer Murphy?"
Nate leaned back, his genitals sticking out, and getting a little hard. The nurse put on another pair of rubber gloves, took another tongue depressor, and used it to lift his balls, move them from side to side, and then push his dick around in a similar manner. She finally announced, "He doesn't seem to have any infections we need to worry about."
Then she said to Nate, "Turn around, hands on the desk, and let me see the bottom of your right foot." Nate complied. "Now your left." Nate complied. The nurse concluded, "He doesn't seem to have any athlete's foot fungus to have spread around the school floors."
Olafsen said, "Good. Thank you for checking him out." The nurse left.
Olafsen continued, "Nate, I hope you've learned your lesson. I guess you can go home."
"I don't have any clothes. No money. No car. How am I going to get home?"
"I guess you'll have to call your mother." He handed Nate the telephone. By the way, when you talk to her I expect you to ask her to bring nice clothes, including slacks, dress shirt, coat and tie. When you walk out of here I want you looking nice and proper. I wasn't very happy with your choice of clothes when you came in."
The teachers in the room, who'd had a very hard time not laughing through the whole scene now lost it. I think even Nate may have thought it was funny.
"Mom.... I'm in the principal's office at Southwest High in Minneapolis.... It's a long story; can I tell you later?... Can you come get me?... As soon as possible.... An hour? Mom, can you come quicker?... OK. And , Mom, can you bring me a change of clothes.... Everything, shoes, socks, underwear, slacks.... My good pants, and a shirt and tie, and my sport coat.... I'll explain when you get here.... Please, Mom.... An hour and a half?... OK.... Thanks, Mom; I'll explain.... Goodbye."
"It's going to take her an extra half hour to go home for the clothes."
Olafsen said, "You can wait out in the outer office with the secretaries." He let that sink in. "Or, you can wait in my conference room next door. We'll call you when your mother arrives." Olafsen opened the door to the conference room and Nate walked in, hiding himself with his hands as best he could. When he was gone, the four men in the room almost broke down laughing. Sandy Kristof, one of the teachers said, "I take it you aren't going to take any disciplinary action. I don't think he needs it; he's learned a tough lesson."
"I've talked to his principal over in St. Paul. He would probably have involved the police, but says that call is up to me. I told him to bring Nate in tomorrow morning and read him the riot act, but to let it go at that. I think he will. He says Nate's a good student, headed for college at the 'U'."
"What about his accomplices?"
"They had the good sense to keep their clothes on. Even if we wanted to, I'm not sure what we could charge them with. I'm sure that Nate's report to them on his adventures here will make them think hard before there's a next time."
The story isn't over. Three days later the school newspaper advisor came into Dr. Olafsen's office. Pictures of Nate being marched up the hall wrapped in a wrestling mat were surfacing and the students wanted to run one with a story about the streaker. There was even one picture of Nate running naked, and it showed far more than could've been printed in any newspaper in that day. Olafsen said, "Sure run a picture, but the one in the wrestling mat, and from the rear; don't show his face. Nate doesn't need that picture surfacing in his future. And no name. The name hasn't been released to any students, and it shouldn't be."
Even lacking the face and the name, it made a great story for the newspaper! And someone had leaked the story of what had happened in Olarsen's office, nurse are all, and that made it into the paper. If Nate had shown his face around Southwest High, and had been recognized, he would've been thoroughly embarrassed a second time.
He did come by, but it was four years later as Dr. Olafsen was preparing for his retirement. At first he didn't recognize Nate, but the sport coat Nate was wearing triggered his memory. Nate told Dr. Olafsen that he was graduating from the "U" and would be going to law school in the fall. He thanked Olafsen for handling the matter as he had, "even though I could've killed you at the time." He went on, "If I'd been handed over to the police my future would've been destroyed. I never would've made law school with that in my background, even if the records were sealed. Thank you for handling a tough situation so graciously."
"You have no idea what it means for me to have you come and tell me that. Thank you."
I've digressed from my story of Dr. Olafsen's retirement, but Nate's story was too good to pass up. "Nate" isn't his real name, mind you. He's still practicing law in the Twin Cities, and I don't think he'd like to see his name attached to his story. But I'll see to it that he gets a copy of this.
Nate's was the best story of the evening, but not the only one. Stories, food, music, and dancing alternated throughout the evening. Tim was the host with the most. The lineup of 33 valedictorians (32 years, plus Tim and Mike in Tim's graduation year) was impressive. As they all hugged Dr. Olafsen, his eyes were so moist he could hardly see. His thank you speech was short and sweet. It had to be: he was so choked up he could hardly speak.
Promptly at midnight Chubby Checker took the mike away from Tim and announced, "This party's over. Now, 'Come On, Let's Twist'." He took Tim out on the dance floor and they started the dancing. The floor filled, and Chubby shouted, "Everybody, right where you are, Come On, Let's Twist." Slowly everyone got to their feet and at least made an effort to do the Twist. Chubby brought Wilbur and Cynthia Olafsen up onto the dias and let them Twist up there.
By 1977 the Twist was passé; Chubby Checker was no longer the headliner that he had been. You wouldn't have known it from this crowd. Representing all ages, from high schoolers who couldn't remember Chubby Checker to alums who only remembered being shocked by the new dance craze, this group got into the spirit of the evening.
Tim took the microphone, thanked Chubby Checker and everyone who had helped with the party. Then he announced that the Olafsen's would remain in the ballroom to greet people as long as people wanted to stay. It was pure Tim, and the Olafsens were good sports, even though they learned only with the announcement that they might be staying in the hotel late into the night. The availability of the ballroom had been arranged with the hotel. It was 3:30 before the last person shook hands with Dr. Olafsen, and with Tim. I think that Tim had signed as many autographs as Olafsen had shaken hands.
Norman and Betsy had been with us at the ball, but having been warned how late it was going to be came in their own car and left shortly after midnight. We didn't see them until the next morning. We spent a relaxed day with them and then headed back to Grand Forks the following day.
The school year was ending, and nothing made that year very different from any other. There was a retirement party for Hamilton, but because he was staying on as the Director of the new center, it wasn't a big deal. We spent a little more time than usual at the lake that summer, and convinced, among others, Hamilton and his wife to come join us for a week.
I knew that plans were going forward for a law school convocation to install me as the new dean, but neither Hamilton nor Prexy asked for my input, so I stayed out. Tim and I arrived back on campus about a week before Labor Day. Hamilton was still occupying his office and going about the business of being dean as if nothing were changing. Nothing was said to me about plans for a transition. It was almost as if the plans of the previous spring to change deans had all been a dream!
In theory I was supposed to become dean on Thursday, September 1, but there was nothing different that day. Hamilton wasn't in his office and his secretary told me that he wouldn't be back until Tuesday after Labor Day. She reminded me of the opening convocation of the law school on Wednesday. I thought I saw a hint of a smile as she gave me that reminder, but that was all. I asked Tim if he knew anything, and I think he was as puzzled as I was.
Nothing changed on Tuesday. Hamilton was in but unavailable. Wednesday morning brought no further changes. The convocation was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. and by 10:30 I headed over to Gallagher Hall where it would be held. The faculty would process in, clad in full academic regalia. That meant that I would be wearing the blue gown of the University of Michigan where I'd received my highest degree, along with the hood for my S.J.D. and various other doodads which came with the package. Then I was embarrassed by Prexy who came up and handed me a manilla envelope. "Here, hand this around your neck." I opened the envelope and found my Olympic Gold Medal, which he'd gotten from Tim that morning.
"You don't want me to wear that today?"
"I certainly do. Let's remind these folks that they're getting a really special new dean." That was the first that anyone had told me that this opening convocation would also involve my installation as dean.
There are three institutions in this world that really know how to put on a show: English royalty, the Catholic Church, and academic institutions of higher learning. In each case the costumes and pomp date back to the Middle Ages, and would look ridiculous except in the royal, church, or academic setting. At least the universities have gotten rid of horses, but not much else. With a long gowned procession, led by a scepter and a mace, accompanied by a band playing 'Pomp and Circumstance,' we marched into the hall. After the formal opening of the academic year for the Law School, a dozen people "petitioned" the President of the University to appoint one "Mr. Charlie" as the next Dean of Law. After the formal assent of the Trustees given by the President of the Trustees, President Edison called me forward and presented me to the faculty and students and asked for their assent. This was met with a standing cheer, and I was duly presented the mace which was a symbol of the office.
Then we heard a speech by the Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court, during which I was welcomed to the legal community of the State of North Dakota.
Then out we marched, with the band playing not only traditional University of North Dakota music but also "We Kiss in a Shadow." (Tim wasn't near me in the procession, so we didn't kiss.) Lunch was in the President's Dining Room with all of the dignitaries from the convocation. About 3:30 it was over and Hamilton, Tim, and I walked over to the Law School. Hamilton went into his office without saying anything, and I headed to mine. I opened the door and it was completely empty, right down to the missing rug on the floor and no pictures on the walls.
Tim, Hamilton, Prexy, my secretary, and John Randon from Building and Grounds soon came in. John led me into Hamilton's old office. Everything from my old office had been moved, except that the bookcases had been upgraded, a new conference table had been introduced, along with eight very comfortable swivel chairs that replaced the table and four chairs I had used. But my huge, old metal desk had been retained! They'd remembered that I'd insisted upon that desk and had decided that I probably would like to keep it. I gained a glorious view of campus but lost my fireplace, a change that I was willing to accept - as if I had a choice. The entire move had been accomplished by a crew in a little over four hours. They had been ready to go at a little after ten and waited for me to leave for the convocation. Hamilton's office had been emptied the previous evening. The only thing changed about my desk was the name plate which now read, "Professor Charlie, Dean of Law," and a new framed photograph of me accepting the mace as a symbol of office in the convocation a few hours ago. I also discovered a stock of my favorite pens with the same inscription as my desk name plate. While we were standing in the office a new name plate was affixed beside the door. Later when we left the building I noticed that the building directory had been changed to show that Professor Charlie was Dean of Law.
Hamilton, Prexy, and John were grinning like Cheshire cats. Their transition planning had been superb and they were pleased. I was delighted, though I had to admit that I'd been a little frustrated for the past week. They just laughed and Hamilton said, "We were hoping so."
That night I wasn't frustrated by Tim!
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