For a dean you have an installation; for a king or queen you have a coronation; for a president you have an inauguration. And I am really pissed that the President of the United States gets a bigger "do" than the President of the University of North Dakota - my Tim deserved the biggest and the best. Oh well, we came close!
Well, you know from the title and that introduction what I am going to be telling you about in this episode. However, I'd like to begin with a little follow-up on Paul's story of the summer. Toppy and Murray are absolutely fantastic, and they proved it that summer. They did a good job of playing host, cooking many more of the meals than we expected them to. We later learned that they both loved to cook, and found that to be one of the better parts of the summer. They painted, took care of the grounds, fixed up the boat house, and wiped out a big backlog of minor maintenance.
They were a big hit with all of the Gang that visited. They didn't push for sex with members of the Gang but did hint from time to time and accepted all invitations. Everybody remarked on their libidos. When they weren't working, shopping, eating or sleeping, they were having at it. Oral sex seemed to be their preference, and a number of people came upon them somewhere on the grounds as they went at it. With the Gang, nobody seemed to mind.
During our second week at the cabin we were able to see for ourselves how the two boys conducted themselves. It was hard to believe that they were teenagers - except for their insatiable sexuality. When you considered their backgrounds: children of loggers, both with parents whose love of their sons was so deficient that they could throw them out of their houses - that these boys turned out as they did was a minor miracle. Clearly they found strength from each other, and had had good leadership from their teachers at school. Certainly we knew that Paul was a good coach, mentor, and example.
As we drove over for the week, we talked and decided that it would probably be best if we didn't get sexually involved with Murray and Toppy. We did, however, enjoy talking with them quite often. They were eager to head to Mankato in the fall, and were especially eager to be roommates. They really hadn't decided whether they were going to be out or not at college. There were taking a wait and see attitude.
Tim, of course, asked them whether they'd be interested in attending UND instead of Mankato State. He was quite pleased with their reply, which was that they had committed to Mankato, which had been good to them with scholarships and aid. They didn't think it was fair to change so close to registration. Tim told them that if things didn't go as they hoped at Mankato they should be in touch with him. "Hell, please keep in touch regardless, but do keep UND in mind."
The cabin was pretty full that week, with Ron, Sharon, Kyle and Kevin in one room; Hal, Sara and Junior in a second, Tim and me in our room, and Toppy and Murray quite content to share the couch. It got more complicated when Paul, Amanda and Nettie joined us for two nights. We decided to give them our master bedroom and share the living room with the boys. It had been cool in the evening and we'd all enjoyed a fire in the fireplace. Now, Toppy, Murray, Tim and I lay in front of the dying embers of the fire on sleeping bags spread on blankets for additional padding. We were all still dressed, and I think all of us were wondering who was going to make the first move to undress and climb into one of the double sleeping bags we were laying on.
Toppy finally verbalized what we were all thinking. "It's time to lose these clothes and climb into the bags. Clearly there's going to be some sex here tonight, and nobody should be embarrassed."
Tim said, "You're right." With that he stood up, took off his clothes and slipped into the bag he'd been laying on with me.
I started to follow Tim when Murray said, "Are you guys going to let us two randy teenagers live out our wildest fantasies?"
I said, "And those fantasies would be?"
"That you two don't share a sleeping bag with each other tonight."
Tim looked out of his bag and said, "What do you think, Charlie? They are of age."
I undressed and slipped into the other bag which was now free while Murray and Toppy were up getting undressed themselves. There was a whispered conversation between the two of them and Murray came and slipped into the bag with me and Toppy slipped in with Tim.
Well, Paul had warned us that these kids had active libidos. They certainly proved it. Murray hugged me and then kissed me. His tongue only paused for him to whisper a question, "Can I suck you?"
"Do you really want to do that?"
"Oh, God, Charlie, yes. A thousand times, yes. Please."
"Yes, Murray you may." He had a very talented tongue and it wasn't very long before I came."
He hugged me for a while and then said, "You can do anything with me that you want. Or, I can just beat off. But I have to have some kind of release."
I started with my hand but soon replaced it with my tongue, and soon after that he came. We quickly got back to kissing, and fell asleep in each other's arms.
Tim reported the next morning that Toppy was the horniest thing he'd ever dealt with. "Charlie, he makes you look tame."
I said, "Tim, he's eighteen. I was twenty-four when we first had sex. Eighteen is just about the height of your sexual prowess; I'd had six years of decline when you got to me. Sorry."
Tim said, "I'm not. I loved you just the way you were and just the way you are. But I'll have to admit, a randy teenager is an unusual tidbit."
"Do you feel guilty about having sex with a teenager? You know we had decided before we came to keep them at arms length."
"I know, but I don't feel guilty in the least. The law says they're of age at eighteen. Those two are so mature, they clearly would've been mature enough to make adult decisions at a younger age. I'm convinced that I was mature enough at age fourteen when I fell in love with you. But you insisted that we follow the law, and I agreed. And I still agree. And not just because it's the law, you're right that there has to be a line, and eighteen is a reasonable line. And I would add that I'd never take advantage of an immature boy, even if he were nineteen. But these kids qualify on legal grounds and on maturity level. No guilt. I had fun. So did they. I hope you did."
"I did, believe me. And I pretty much agree with your analysis of the situation. But there's something about 'sex with a teenager' that sounds odd."
"That's only because when we say teenager we're really thinking of a younger age range, say 13-16. 18 and 19 year olds are teenagers, but they aren't what we associate with the word."
"I think you're right. OK, do we trade boys tonight? They want to."
"Sure, but let's let them lead, like they did last night."
Lead they did. They put the two sleeping bags on top of each other and put Tim on top of that. Then they jointly worked him over. Then they did the same to me. Then we both found ourselves underneath one of the boys, with steel-hard ramrods going down our throats. God, sex with randy teenagers is invigorating!
The next day Paul, Amanda and Nettie left, we got our bedroom back, and the boys had to make do with each other. Judging from the noise we heard, they did, in fact, make do.
Playtime in Michigan came to an end, and we headed back to Grand Forks. There, Tim, Prexy, and numerous others, including me, madly set to work planning Tim's inauguration. Amazingly, 41 of the presidents of the forty-nine (don't count North Dakota!) major state universities would be in attendance. 212 public colleges and universities, from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and 23 foreign countries were expected to be represented. In several cases that meant that a member of our faculty who was an alumnus of the school would represent it. Each was invited to send a delegation of up to four, and they were urged to include a student in the group, if possible. Most of the student representatives that came were from schools in the Dakotas and Minnesota.
The community of Grand Forks was urged to play host to those visitors who needed overnight lodging, and there was a huge outpouring of volunteers offering their homes to the guests. Dr. and Mrs. Clark Kerr stayed with Prexy in Dakota House, the president's home. Inviting Kerr was a somewhat controversial act, but Tim was adamant. Kerr was an outstanding educator, having been the President of the University of California from 1958 to 1967. He'd riled up the conservatives in the California government because he'd refused to expel students involved in the campus demonstrations in the mid-sixties. The Regents of the University under great pressure from Governor Ronald Reagan, who had made Kerr a campaign target, fired him in 1967. Since then he'd been with the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education until 1973 and was now Chairman of the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education. Tim's viewed his dismissal at Berkeley to be irrelevant and totally political, and considered Kerr to be an outstanding advocate for public higher education. Luckily, by 1979 the world was tired of the battles of the sixties and Kerr's coming to Grand Forks didn't spark the controversy it might have a few years before.
The big day arrived. At five in the morning Tim woke me up and said, "Charlie, get up and eat breakfast with me; then come with me to the pool and be with me while I dive."
"You're diving this morning?"
"Did you ever doubt it? Diving or gymnastics gets me rolling in the morning."
"No, I never doubted it, but I thought you'd be rolling this morning without any artificial stimulant."
"Come with me, please."
"Of course. And if you're mentioning breakfast, which you usually don't eat, but drink, it means that you're humoring my need for food."
"Certainly. Bacon and eggs."
It was. We ate what was, for us, a leisurely breakfast, and still made it to the pool by 6:15. At least two hours early for me, and fifteen minutes late for Tim. Amazingly, there were five other divers already in the pool. They looked delighted when Tim walked in; I think they had concluded he wasn't coming this morning.
I watched them all dive for about twenty minutes and then swam some laps. The five divers, 3 women and 2 men, were quite good. Of course, you'd expect the best to be the ones that came out at this silly hour of the morning to practice. Tim spent time with each of them as well as doing his own dives. He amazed me. Here he was, eleven years after his Olympic diving, and ten years after his last competitive diving. I swear he was as good as he ever was. Of course, I can't prove it, and I'm not a qualified diving judge, but I truly believe that he could've qualified for the next Olympic team if he'd wanted to. He was doing dives of the same maximum difficulty that he had in Mexico City, and he looked to me like he was doing them as well. The UND divers that watched with me agreed. For Tim it was simply recreation. He thrived on it.
At quarter of eight, fifteen minutes early, he quit. He dried off with a towel at poolside, pulled a sweat suit out of his bag, stuffed his clothes in, and said, "Let's go home, Charlie. I'll shower at home."
We did shower at home. That provided the occasion to lessen our libidos somewhat, and we were ready for the day. By nine-thirty we were in the president's office, which Tim had occupied since the first of September. Prexy was there with us, having walked the few feet from his new office - Tim's old office - nearby. It was Thursday, September 27th, Inauguration Day.
Most out of town guests would be arriving in the morning, many in Fargo. We'd arranged for Northwest Orient Airlines to run a special flight from Minneapolis directly to Grand Forks. That reduced the pressure on the regularly scheduled flights to Grand Forks and Fargo, and reduced the amount of shuttling we had to do from Fargo. By one p.m. all flights were in and the Fargo passengers bussed to Grand Forks. By two we had people settled into their host homes and ready to proceed to the campus. By three the procession was assembling and at 3:30 on the dot it began.
It was led by the University of North Dakota Marching Band. My goodness, we spent a lot of time discussing what the band would play. We finally decided on a lengthy medley of football fight songs from all of the major public universities. It started with "On Wisconsin!," not because we wanted to highlight Wisconsin, but because that's probably the best known of them all, and it's been borrowed (probably illegally) by hundreds of high schools, substituting their own name for Wisconsin. We guessed that almost half the audience could easily sing along putting their own school name in the right place.
One advantage of an academic procession marching to football fight songs is that the procession moved at a distinctly non-academic pace, which is what we needed to get 1,442 people into the stadium in under an hour. This number included the members of three marching bands, the University Chorus, the entire academic procession of 212 visiting schools (numbering 582 people), and the entire UND faculty.
In case you're wondering, the football field had been covered by special boards that were used whenever an activity that might destroy the field was taking place. This usually was an activity that involved setting up a lot of chairs on the field, because if it's soft at all the legs of the chairs dig in and make dangerous holes for the football players. The chairs today and the dancing this evening would require the boards.
One group was distinctly overrepresented in the procession: the Gang. I'd wanted all of the Gang to be present for this big event in Tim's life, and I was certain that they'd all want to be there. I decided to try to work out a way for each of them to be in the procession in one capacity or another. Hal was on the faculty, and I was Dean of Law. Ronnie, along with Sharon and Kyle were now on the faculty as well. Jim, Andy, and Marty were all alumni of the University of Michigan, and I arranged for them to march in one of the two delegations that Michigan would have: one in the procession of schools, led by their President, and one later honoring Tim's degree from Michigan. Carl and Carol were similarly taken care of in the University of Minnesota delegation. Paul was an adjunct faculty member at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, and he marched as their lone representative.
Tom was a problem; he was a graduate of the University of Chicago, a private university which wouldn't be invited to the inauguration. However, after quizzing Tom a little while I realized that his budget training might have been connected with the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), an accredited graduate school operated by the Air Force. It was a public university. I hastily contacted the Dean of the Graduate School of Engineering and Management at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, and asked for his cooperation. It turned out that he was delighted with the idea that AFIT might participate in the inauguration. "Hell, we have a hard time getting recognized in the world of civilian education. I'm sure that the Commandant would like to have us represented, both by Tom as an alumnus and by one of our active faculty." Tom, who was still officially in the inactive Air Force Reserves, got official "orders" to report for active duty for two days, to represent AFIT at the inauguration of the President of the University of North Dakota. He would even get two day's pay for doing it! I hadn't told Tom what was going on, so the orders came out of the blue. He came flying into my office one day waving them at me. "Did you arrange this? It's great. I hope that I can find my uniform and that it still fits!" I'm pleased to report that he found it, it fit, and he looked wonderful as he marched in. After inviting AFIT, we decided that we had better contact other similar schools in the other branches of the armed forces, and the Naval Postgraduate School was also represented - by an alumnus currently on our faculty.
As an aside, the five service academies, West Point, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine would all be represented. The service academies are often forgotten when speaking of public education in the United States, but they're definitely public institutions. All but one would have delegations of two, a current faculty member and a alumnus living near. The Merchant Marine Academy was unable to find an alumnus near us, and had a delegation of one. Following long-standing tradition, the academies' representatives marched in dress military uniform, not academic costume.
Billy and Sara marched for Indiana University, along with their president. Billy was on the faculty, and Sara was a student, since she'd taken several courses and was enrolled in one this fall. Dick marched for Wayne State and Jeff for Eastern Michigan University, his alma mater. Tina and Merle marched for the Sorbonne - officially the University of Paris and one of the foreign public institutions represented. Both had taken courses there and were delighted to represent the school. They were joined by a French teacher at the University of Minnesota who was an exchange professor from the Sorbonne that year.
Sue marched for the University of Oklahoma, and Nancy for the Cerro Coso Community College in California at which she'd taken early childhood education courses while Tom was at Edwards Air Force Base. She was the lone representative for Cerro Coso, and only one other California community college was represented (it's a long way, and they don't have a lot of alumni in the upper Midwest!). Both Judy and Jerry were alumni and Sid was a current student. The all marched with the student and alumni group from UND.
Most of the parents' generation of the Gang were either graduates of public universities or had at least taken a course or two at one. Two, Adele and Trudi had attended private colleges, Adele at Beloit College in Wisconsin and Trudi at Goucher College in Baltimore, and we were unable to find a way to include them in the procession. The best we could do was to put them in the front of the V.I.P. section in the stands.
Mankato State had a delegation of four - the President, the Dean of the School of Education, and two students: Murray Saragon and Toppy Coleman. As soon as Paul had heard about the inaugural invitations, he'd called Murray and suggested that he and Toppy get themselves invitations. Murray was a pretty gutsy guy, and he headed straight for the president's office, got an appointment, and told the president that he'd very much like to introduce him to Tim, the President of the University of North Dakota, but he could only do it if both he and the president were on the delegation to Tim's inauguration. And Toppy needed to be along as well. The president had asked, "How do you know President Tim?"
Murray told Paul, "I really wanted to answer him by saying that Toppy and I had done a strip tease for Tim and later had sex with him, but what I did say was that we'd been his house guest the previous summer. It ended up with the decision being made that Mankato State University would have a top level delegation, including Murray and Toppy. Murray and Toppy were staying with Tom and Nancy, along with Tom's parents, Beverly and Sam. My understanding is that Tom and Nancy gave up their king size bed to their four guests and slept in the queen size bed in the guest room!
I should note that Tim insisted that each of the Gang who had won an Olympic medal was to wear it; in the case of multiple medals they were to wear the best one. So, Hal, Jim, Billy, Marty, Judy, Paul, and I agreed to wear one of our medals. Tim said, "Prexy's going to make me wear mine, and I don't want to be alone." I'll have to admit that I do enjoy the few occasions when I find myself wearing the thing; it feels good.
It was quite a pageant, and Tim and Prexy had spent quite a bit of time choreographing it. The difficult thing was that, except for the bands, which had rehearsed on Tuesday, there was no dress rehearsal. There was just one march, and all screw-ups would be public ones.
By 3:38 the stadium was getting full with just under 9,000 people in the stands - students, staff, and citizens of North Dakota from all over, but mostly from Grand Forks and Fargo. With the band in place, standing in the corner of the field, stage right of the dias, the academic procession began. It was led by four flag bearers holding the American flag, the North Dakota flag, the University of North Dakota flag and the United Nations flag, in that order. You don't want to think about the debates we had about the order of the flags. One point of view, and it certainly was where Tim and I were, would have put the United Nations flag first, the American second, etc. But the patriotic folks would demand that the American flag go first, and had an unofficial, but universally agreed, flag code to cite in arguing for that. We decided that the order of the flags wasn't a battle worth falling on one's sword over, so we decided that the America flag would lead. There was no way we wanted the United Nations flag in a second position, so we let the two North Dakota flags go next in an obvious order, with the United Nations flag last. This wasn't to be considered a diminutive position, but rather a special one. We hoped at least some people would get the symbolism.
The University of North Dakota had an official scepter which followed the flags, carried by a senior undergraduate and a graduate student. This was followed by the official faculty mace, which was carried by the longest serving member of the faculty - a professor of Latin, who'd served on the faculty for fifty-one years; he was now teaching only one course, his favorite, studing the poet Ovid.
Then came the delegates from the public universities of the world, led by the granddaddy of them all, the University of Virginia. In most such processions Virginia gets upstaged by Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and a few others. Not this time, we were honoring public education, and Thomas Jefferson's grand achievement was delighted to lead the way. The President of the University led the delegation, along with one of their deans, a graduate student, and an undergraduate - a first year freshman whose home was in North Dakota. I should note that the Sorbonne is older than the University of Virginia, but not as a public (i.e. government or taxpayer owned and supported) university.
The large dias was at one end of the stadium, extending forward to about the twenty yard line. Chairs for faculty, delegates, and certain invited guests were spread through the field beginning about the thirty yard line, with a large aisle down the middle through which the procession marched. Tim and I positioned ourselves at the point where the procession passed through the back row of chairs. Each delegation was led by a UND student bearing a banner with the name of the school. That student had been instructed to come over toward Tim and present the members of the delegation to Tim, by name. Tim very quickly shook hands with each, while I quietly thanked the student for helping us that day. The students had been coached to move quickly, get the names out quickly and correctly, and move on. It was my job to help move them on as I thanked them. Tim moved the delegation forward as he shook each hand. We knew we had to get five delegations through in a minute, and Tim had a timekeeper beside him, telling whether he was ahead or behind schedule. Luckily, most delegations had less than the allotted four persons, so we were able to keep time. We were, however, four minutes behind the perfect schedule when Tim shook hands with the single member of the last delegation, from Henderson County Technical Institute in North Carolina. He was a trustee of the newly established school, sworn in as part of its first board earlier that month. The school was scheduled to admit its first student in the coming January. This was their first exposure to the world of academia, and Tim was delighted to welcome the school's representative.
Following the delegates from public higher education came the University of North Dakota Chorus, singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic, accompanies by the University Band. You probably haven't heard it sung by the UND Chorus, but if you've heard it sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir you have some idea of what it sounded like. They were fantastic. The marched in and took their places on the opposite side of the dias from the band. When they finished their number, in came the older of the two high schools of Grand Forks, Central High. They were led by their marching band, and they were good, rivaling the performance of the university band. They marched to the front, stood facing the audience, now pretty well filling the chairs as the almost 800 delegates plus delegation banner carriers had taken seats. The Central High band marched in with a Sousa march, and kept it up while 24 faculty and students from the school came in and took their seats. Then they began with the old faithful, Pomp and Circumstance, and the UND faculty marched in.
As they entered each faculty member, numbering over 500, was greeted by name by Tim, an amazing feat, accomplished with the help of an earphone and three guys in the stadium press box with field glasses feeding him the names from a list which had names and pictures! Dumb, my kid isn't. A good number of faculty members were impressed that the new president knew them! Nobody tumbled to his trick, and I think I'm revealing it for the first time here. (I have his permission.)
With the faculty in and seated the Red River Marching Band came in playing the University of North Dakota athletic fight song. I've already noted that we didn't think much of it, but it had to be played. They follow it by an equally undistinctive anthem from Red River High School. With these two pieces behind them, and their delegation of 24 faculty and students seated, they would be given the honor of playing for the grand procession of the day, which would be accompanied by Verdi's Grand March from Aida
With the faculty all in, it was time for the procession of alumni and students. It began with a delegation from Southwest High School in Minneapolis, where Tim's successes began. Dr. Olafsen led the delegation, which included Coach Nelson Waters, Tim's first diving coach, and six students, the three academically top ranked students and three of Coach Waters current crop of divers. This was followed by a long procession of UND alumni, stretching over 68 years, each year represented by, when alive, one man and one woman, sharing a placard with their years. Then a delegation of four students from each of the schools of the university. The group from the School of Education carried Tim's Bachelor's hood from his undergradute degree. This was followed by four representatives of the University of Maryland carrying his Master's hood, and four from the University of Michigan carrying his Ph.D. hood. The hoods were carefully placed in front of the speaker's podium.
The procession continued with all of the dignitaries that would be seated on the dias. This group was led by all of the university deans (with me at the end as the junior dean), then the full Board of Trustees of the University, then representatives of the Legislature, Supreme Court, and the Governor of the State. Prexy waited in the back until the Governor had been seated on the dias, and then he started his long march down the aisle in his grand, new green robe with pink hood fringed in white. Half way down a cheer began, and by the time he reached the front of the stadium it was deafening, with the entire crowd on its feet. Banners unfurled in the stadium stands that said PREXY!
Confession is supposed to be good for the soul, so I guess this is a good time for a little one. Neither Tim nor I believed in leaving anything to chance. All of the students in the procession (the largest group was the two hundred or so carrying delegation signs) had been prompted when to start the cheer and told to stand up as they did so. A number of groups of students in the stands had been primed as well. It wasn't that we were worried that there wouldn't be great enthusiasm for Prexy, he was quite loved as president. Rather, it was important that it come at just the right moment, and it did. Prexy stood at the head of the aisle and turned toward the crowd and waved a "Thank You." There were tears rolling down his cheeks. He moved slowly to the dias, and the band, which had been warned that they would likely have to stop playing as Prexy entered, prepared to begin again.
Verdi's March had been reorchestrated to delay the trumpet solo which is the highlight of the piece. That solo is often played by a long trumpet (i.e. all the curves straightened out) with one valve, a modern version of the medieval buisine, a valveless forerunner of the trumpet. Three trumpters, one each from UND, Central and Red River High Schools (a position hotly contested for at all three schools), came to the front of the band with their shiny, new one-valve buisines as Tim prepared to start down the center aisle. As he started, the three trumpeters burst forth with the Aida trumpet solo. They'd been chosen well, rehearsed well, and they did wonderfully. As Tim walked down the aisle in his magnificent green robe, two gold and one bronze Olympic medals (from three different Olympics) hanging around his neck, everyone knew what this was all about. It may have been officially billed as an Inaugural Convocation, but it was a coronation! The main aisle down which the procession marched ended on the thirty-yard line, and Tim began at the back of the end zone; his grand march would be eighty yards long. It was perfectly timed for him to get to the front and then stand and wait for the solo to end. Tim had the grace and poise to pull it off. I know he would've loved to somersault his way down the aisle, but his robe and medals insured that he wouldn't try. As the trumpeters finished, they received a wonderful round of applause as Tim hugged each of them and thanked them. Then he mounted the dias and took his seat as Prexy called the convocation to order.
The procession, scheduled to take an hour, had taken 76 minutes. Prexy and I considered it a minor miracle that it had been accomplished before dark. Tim didn't like being sixteen minutes late, but nobody else cared in the slightest.
Prexy started by asking, "Is there anyone here that doesn't know why we're gathered here?"
He got a rousing, "No!" which is what he wanted.
"Is there anyone here that believes that we should not proceed with the inauguration of Dr. Tim as the President of the University of North Dakota? Speak now or forever hold your peace!" Silence.
"Then let's do it!" Loud cheering.
Then came the boring stuff. You can't invite dignitaries like the Governor of the state and not let them speak. They had been given very strict time limits, and very short ones, and Tim had personally warned every speaker that he would embarrass them mercilessly in his speech if they went over by more than 30 seconds. None did, which Prexy considered to be not a minor miracle, but a major one. During this period each of the four musical groups performed a number.
Now, according to the program and Tim's careful planning, we were ready to introduce the President of the Board of Trustees, to get on with the actual inauguration. Instead Prexy said, "One of the privileges of being the master of ceremonies is that I can, essentially, do what I like up here and nobody can stop me. Right now, I'd like to reminisce a little.
"Right now I can feel Tim's hot stare at my back as I screw up his well planned program. Well, as you all know, this is my last opportunity to tell Dr. Tim to sit still and hold his tongue, and I'm going to take advantage of it."
He turned around toward Tim, who was, in fact, visibly annoyed and staring at Prexy, and said, "Tim. Sit still, listen carefully, and don't look at your watch. As of right this moment, all bets are off about when this affair is going to end. Several of us have a few things to say. Now smile for everyone."
Tim forced a huge, false grin, and then burst out laughing.
"That's much better," commented Prexy. He continued,
"I'm thinking back to April of 1965. I got a telephone call from a swimming and diving coach in Minneapolis telling me that the campus should expect a visit from a young man named Tim, just Tim, and his partner, Charlie. It was Coach Nelson Waters at Southwest High School in Minneapolis. He called to tell me that this Tim, who refused to use his last name, was a most extraordinary young man, as was his partner. He suggested that it would be most unwise for me to let them off campus without personally talking to them. Let me just say, I've gotten very few telephone calls like that during my tenure as president. Shortly afterwards I met Tim and Charlie, and found that Coach Waters was a master of understatement. I was meeting the two most extraordinary young men I would ever meet. Many of you here have had the good fortune of meeting them, and I hope that most of the rest of you will before too much time has passed.
"Tim didn't want this to be a celebration of him, rather he wanted it to be a celebration of this university and of public higher education in general. Well, he and Dr. Kerr will have that opportunity shortly. But the people of this university and state want to have a more personal celebration, a celebration of Tim. To start off, I would like to introduce Coach Nelson Waters, from Southwest High School in Minneapolis."
Nelson made his way to the podium. After appropriate introduction and thank yous, he told a few brief anecdotes of Tim's time in high school, and mentioned briefly his grand coming out. Then he approached his main theme. "Tim holds to a most exceptional philosophy of athletics. He believes that love and support are the keys to athletic success. Of course, he doesn't deny the need for innate talent and dedicated practice. But all that comes to naught, according to Tim, without love and support. He's sought out teams, coaches, and universities on the basis of the love and support they were willing to provide, not their facilities, coaching skills, or athletic records. That's what brought Tim to the University of North Dakota, what kept him here, and what brought him back after his departure for graduate study. Tim not only thrives on love and support, but he gives it generously. His loyalty is legendary. Four years after he left Southwest High School Tim made the Olympic swimming and diving team. He insisted that I, and coach Larry Knudsen from here, be his coaches of record in Mexico City and we went with him. It was one of the most exciting times of my life. I know of no other high school coach who has been so honored by his former student. But that's Tim. As you associate with him as president of this great university, you'll learn of his ability to give love and support, and his absolute loyalty to the people who love and support him. We love you Tim."
The other speakers that Prexy called forward, to the huge embarrassment of Tim, were Ralph Billings (Olympic coach), Harry Jensen (UND diver), Larry Knudsen, Billy Carson, Judge Sherman Wilcox, Sid Madison, Fred Milson, and me.
What was I going to say about Tim that hadn't already be said? I kept it as short as I could: "What can I say about Tim that hasn't been said? Drag out all of the superlatives you can think of, string them together, and maybe you can approach what might be said about Tim. But I know one thing about Tim for absolute certain: his enthusiasm for a speech is inversely proportional to its length. I have to go home with Tim tonight, and so cutting this short is very much in my own best interests. Let me just say that nothing, absolutely nothing on earth, compares with being loved by Tim. Many persons, including those that have spoken today, and especially me, have experienced Tim's love. Thank you, Tim, for the love that you've given me over the years."
Prexy returned to the podium, turned to face Tim, and said, "Now we'll return to the program as printed." Tim looked relieved.
Tim was soon standing in front with me beside him at Prexy's insistence (again, not part of the plans), facing the President of the Trustees and Prexy. After the appropriate questions, and oath of office, the trustee president removed the president's hood from Prexy and placed it over Tim's head. He was now officially President Tim of the University of North Dakota. All of the deans of the university came forward and congratulated him, as did all of the Trustees, and the student body president. Even though I'd joined the line of Deans to shake his hand, I got in the line again, this time at the end. When we got face to face I hugged him tight and then kissed him, straight on the lips, and more than briefly. At that instant loud cheering broke out, and Tim and I got a standing ovation that seemed to go on forever. Tim was their hero; Tim was their gay hero, and it seemed that the entire university community was determined to show those facts to the world. How else to explain that it was my kiss that had ignited the flame of support that the cheering represented?
The cheering ended when it was drowned out by the three combined bands and the chorus beginning their big number, "They Call the Wind Mariah" from Lerner and Loewe's Paint Your Wagon - a song that Tim and I both loved and which was completely appropriate for windy North Dakota.
Next up was Clark Kerr who was introduced by the Dean of Education. He gave an excellent speech, at 14 minutes mercifully short for a major address at a function like this. He captured Tim's theme of the importance of public higher education magnificently, pointing out that in numbers private higher education was almost irrelevant. He was adamant that in quality public education lacked nothing compared to the private sector. He praised the University of North Dakota generally, and in several specific areas in which they had a fine reputation. He noted the astounding success of their endowment program under Tim, as both an undergraduate (unheard of) and and Vice-President for Development. He ended by affirming the vision of the university that Tim was about to present, and urged the entire university to get behind him and create a school in the upper Midwest that was as great at the University of California that he had presided over in the far west.
Wow, what a set up for Tim's speech. Of course, it had been planned; Tim didn't leave that sort of thing to chance. AAA had worked with Kerr as well as Tim. But, unlike many of his speeches, both his and Kerr's speeches had been written by the speakers themselves, and AAA were only consultants and editors. He began by honoring the five most important people in his life: His mother and father, whom he introduced. His brother Carl, whom he introduced as well. His partner, Charlie, who needed no introduction. And, last, his mentor Prexy. He spent quite a bit of time talking about me, far too much as far as I was concerned. He announced that I would not only be the Dean of Law, but his closest advisor. Then he turned to Prexy, whom he praised effusively. He said that he expected Prexy to continue as one of his key advisors, with an office just down the hall. He paused in his speech to announce Prexy's appointment as President Emeritus, and presented him with the president emeritus hood with the black fringe. He turned to his audience then and said, "And I want everyone to continue to call him Prexy. I certainly shall." Prexy got a long standing ovation, just as Tim had. It was a fitting farewell. Prexy came to the podium and said, "I consider my greatest contribution to this university to be that Tim came here, stayed here, returned here, and is willing to cast his lot with us for the long term." More cheering.
Then Tim said that he wanted to share his vision of the University of North Dakota. It took your breath away. World renown faculty; brilliant, dedicated students; Olympic athletes; sparkling new facilities; new programs; major endowment increases; fiscal stability; legislative support; recognition throughout the world. In Tim's world Harvard and Yale were simply Avis - trying harder. He encouraged faculty, alumni, and students to go out into the world secure in the knowledge that they hailed from a great university, and march with the pride that that knowledge brought with it. The cheering was deafening.
He ended with a simple invitation: "Ladies and Gentlemen, you're all invited to a North Dakota barbeque dinner, served on the common area beyond the stadium west parking lot. We're ready to serve thousands; there's enough for everyone. Then, please return here to this stadium in two hours for the Grand Inaugural Ball, featuring a special dance band assembled from the three bands you see before you today. Charlie and I will lead the grand march at precisely 9:00 p.m. Be here. Now, thank you all for coming. I love you all."
The show was over. And had it been a wonderful show. All it had lacked was a trapeze act or a balance beam routine, and, believe me, they'd been considered!
As the crowd headed outside they were greeted by huge tables with dinner: barbeque pork sandwiches, both sweet and spicy versions, potato salad, potato chips, and cole slaw. We had kept it simple, but insured that there was plenty of it. We'd arranged for there to be serving stations throughout the campus, and all of the student cafeterias were closed for the meal. The university food service had been working to prepare the meal for most of a week!
At 7:00Tim and I snuck home to relax a little, shower, and change for the Inaugural Ball. To be perfectly correct, the evening dress should've been white tie and tails. Tim, however, was no dummy, and didn't want to be out of step with most of North Dakota. Most men would be in suits, and the women would be in various kinds of party dresses and ball gowns. There would be quite a few Tuxedos and Tim and I would be among them. We went with the standard black Tuxedo, but choose University of North Dakota green cummerbunds and pink bow ties. We looked great as we walked back to the campus from our home, greeted by hundreds of students and other well-wishers on the way. We walked into the stadium at ten minutes of nine, moving to the front of the bandstand, now occupying the dias from which the speeches had been made that afternoon.
At one minute of nine Tim took the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Grand Inaugural Ball. The Grand March begins in one minute, Charlie and I will be leading it, beginning right in front of the bandstand. All of the couples should fall in behind the two of us. Listen to the music and keep in time." The band was a big band group formed from students at both Red River and Central High Schools, with one or two university students in it. It's leader was a really exceptional trumpet player from Central High - one of the three soloists that did the Grand March in the afternoon. He'd organized the group, and they played dances all over eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Now they struck up a medley of the songs from No Strings the 1960's musical written by Richard Rodgers - his first production since the death of his partner Oscar Hammerstein II, with whom he'd written a number of incredibly successful musicals, including The King and I from which came "We Kiss in a Shadow" our favorite song. No Strings was unique in that the show music was written completely without strings, following the title of the show. It was a perfect piece for the band, which had no strings, to play. Tim loved Richard Rodgers music, and when the No Strings medley had been suggested, Tim had said, "Yes," immediately. No Stringshad a year and a half successful run on Broadway, but its music is relatively unknown. Probably the only tune most might recognize from it is "The Sweetest Sounds," which was the first tune of the medley. So, to "The Sweetest Sounds" we started down the center of the field, going in the opposite direction of Tim's grand march in the afternoon. The crowd fell in behind us and we worked our way down the field, back up the side, around behind the bandstand and back down the other side. The gave most of the crowd the chance to join the procession. At that point, as agreed in advance, "Come On, Let's Twist" started up, and Tim and I twisted our way around the field and back toward the bandstand. There were light refreshments and Cokes around the edges of the field, and the party and dancing were ready to go long into the night. At ten Tim again mounted the bandstand and made a little speech, thanking everyone for their support over the years, and especially that day. He reminded them, as if they needed reminding, that there would be no classes the next day, and urged them to take advantage of a number of special events on campus the next day. Then he asked me to head to the center of the field. I had, of course, known this was coming and was ready. Spotlights followed me and soon I was standing in the middle of the field with at least a dozen spotlights hitting me from every angle. One light lit Tim. The band started to play, and Tim sang a love song to me that was the most beautiful song in the world. He'd selected Cole Porter's "True Love" which Bing Crosby sings to Grace Kelly in the movie High Society. I won't repeat the entire lyrics, but it ends with two run throughs of the last stanza, first sung by Tim and then by us as a duet (a microphone had been brought to me). So it ended with our singing to each other:
For you and I have a guardian angel
On high with nothing to do
But to give to you and to give to me
Love forever true,
Love forever true.
As the last lines were sung Tim walked out on the field to join me, and we kissed the most passionate public kiss we had ever had to that time. I don't think there was a dry eye in the stadium, certainly not on Tim or me.
We'd known that we were going to have to be ready to take the show somewhere else at that point, so we had Melanie, our Authur Murray graduate, and Sue standing by. The band struck up a lively waltz and Melanie and I headed one way, and Tim and Sue the other. We'd chosen a waltz, because we thought that most of the people present probably didn't waltz, and it would keep the crowd down on the dance floor for a while, giving the good dancers a chance to perform a little. We were right, and about fifty couples put on a pretty good show. Nobody could touch Melanie and me, however, and we got applause as we passed groups on the sidelines.
The pressure in the 1970's for rock music couldn't be denied, and the band soon turned to that; the dance floor filled, and Tim, our dance partners, and I soon were on the sidelines, watching others. Tim got a glass of Coke in one hand and began moving through the crowd, talking to everyone that wanted to chat with him, shaking hands, and generally being the consummate politician, which he was. There are a lot of senators and governors in the upper Midwest that can thank their lucky stars that Tim decided to be an educator rather than a politician!
No chairs had been left on the field, but those that wanted to sit down could move up into the stands and sit and watch the dancing, listen to the music, or make out. By midnight there were more people sitting than dancing and the party was clearly ending. Tim asked for another Twist, and he and I took to the dance floor one last time. I'm going to have to say that we were good. We started in the spotlights where I'd stood as Tim sung to me. We quickly had a huge audience around us. We got a huge cheer when the dance was over, and we headed toward home. As we got to the end of the field and the exit, the band started "Auld Lang Syne." Tim and I held hands and extended our free hands to those next to us. Soon most of the crowd were holding hands, and we sang the song, with its unfathomable, but somehow emotional, lyrics together. When it ended, Tim and I headed out of the stadium and walked home. The crowd behind us slowly dispersed. A grand day had ended.
Tim and I headed home to be greeted by a number of the Gang. We talked late into the night, remembering so many good times that we'd had together. Camp White Elk, the beginning of it all, was frequently mentioned. For the eight original Gang members, it was what we had in common. We never could get enough of the memories of that wonderful place. And Ronnie and Hal assured us that it had changed very little, and still warmed their hearts each summer.
Eventually we all headed to bed, and Tim and I elected to be alone that night. We took a long shower together, and as we let the warm water relax us I said to Tim, "This is your night. What would you like to do?"
"No, Charlie. This has been my day. This day would never have happened if it hadn't been for you. My mother was right, I owe you a thank you. But she was also wrong; I don't owe you a thank you; I owe you everything. This was my day, now it's your night. I insist."
"Thank you, Tim. I accept. Let's head to bed."
When we got there I hugged Tim, and slowly worked down his body with my lips, past his nipples and belly button to his balls and eventually his penis. I let it slip into my mouth and my tongue gave Tim every bit of pleasure it could. Soon he was pumping cum into my mouth and I greedily took it all. Then we were kissing and I said, "Please do the same for me."
He did, but when I came I said, "Kiss me." I was being selfish, and I knew it. It was, I think, deliberate. As he kissed me and gave me back my own seed, he recognized that it was a gift to me, and that's what I sensed he truly wanted that evening. I got great pleasure from Tim that evening, and our love only deepened. It was late, and we were both incredibly tired. He simply went limp on top of me and we went to sleep in each other's arms. About four in the morning we found ourselves awake and heading to the toilet. I let Tim go ahead of me to the bathroom, and I checked his alarm. Sure enough, it was set for 6:00 a.m. Damn that kid. I switched it off, and followed him to the bathroom. When we came back to bed we found our usual spoon position. He woke up at 7:20, having missed gymnastics practice that morning. I just laughed at him as he wondered why the alarm hadn't gone off. When the truth dawned on him, he joined me in laughing. "Two hours of sleep wouldn't have been enough, would it?" he said.
I certainly agreed.
Numerous events had been planned for that Friday, all capitalizing on the presence of so many visitors on campus. For Tim the most important was the luncheon he gave for all of the university presidents who'd come for the inauguration. There were 57 of them all together including Tim. 41 of the delegations from principal state universities were headed by their president; Tim made 42; and 15 other universities, including North Dakota State University in Fargo, sent their president. They were joined by Clark Kerr, and spent two hours discussing a wide variety of issues facing public universities as they left the sixties behind them and entered the period of smaller government and lowered taxes. To that Tim preached endowments, but everyone in the room understood that the funding issues were greater than what could be solved with endowments. The big question wasn't whether tuition would have to increase substantially, but how high. The answer would be different in each state, and universities in rust belt states like Michigan were faced with serious financial issues. It would be a major theme of the presidency for each of the persons at lunch with Tim.
Other events of the day featured band concerts, a public question and answer session with Clark Kerr for those interested in talking more about his speech the day before, and a late afternoon ice hockey game between UND and NDSU, long traditional rivals. The hot ticket of the day, however, was the 4:00 p.m. diving exhibition featuring two Olympic gold medalists, Billy Carson and Tim. There'd been a ticket lottery on Monday. The fear of scalping was so great that winners of the lottery had their student or faculty id number written on the back of the ticket in Magic Marker, and it had to be shown to get in. Those that couldn't get in were invited to watch the proceedings on closed circuit television in the student union. It turned out that that wasn't necessary, as the local television station decided to carry the demonstration live, and ABC carried an only slightly shortened version nationally at 11:30 p.m.
Tim left his luncheon with the presidents promptly at 2:00 and went to the natatorium, where Billy was already practicing. They hadn't dived together for more than six months, and hadn't been able to schedule any practice earlier in this visit. The public had to be let into the natatorium by 3:30, so Tim and Billy had just over an hour to practice a program that was scheduled to take about 45 minutes. I couldn't believe that either of them really believed they could pull it off.
They'd agreed on the program two weeks before on the telephone, and each had practiced his dives separately. About half of the program was individual dives and that really didn't need practice in this hour. But just over twenty minutes, i.e. about 18 dives, would be tandem. Then went right to work, going through the 20 minute program, and then repeating those dives they weren't happy with. They repeated one, not the most difficult, about six times before they were happy. At 3:30 they stopped, admitting that they weren't completely happy with several dives, and expressing displeasure at themselves for getting into this situation. I'm not really sure what the alternative might've been, since Tim was really eager for this demonstration with Billy to be part of the events at his inauguration.
Seating wasn't reserved, so virtually everyone with tickets was there by 3:00, had been let through turnstyles by 3:20, and were waiting for the doors to open at 3:30. The ushers were waiting for Tim and Billy to be completely gone from the pool area and opened the doors at 3:32. I think every seat was filled by quarter of four.
Precisely at 4:00 Tim and Billy ran into the pool area and made racing dives into the pool. They met underwater, pushed off the bottom and came up out of the water together, Billy's right hand in Tim's left. By diving alternately they were about to do a dive about every 25 seconds, and this blitz continued for about ten minutes. I'd never seen anything like it, and I'd seen these two dive together many times before. It was positively breathtaking. Then they did a tandem routine of eight dives, six from the springboard and 2 from the 3 meter platform.
The ten meter platform was the best event for both Tim and Billy. Billy now climbed up and stood poised, ready to dive. Tim took a microphone and introduced Billy to an audience that didn't need the introduction. But it was nice to hear the recitation of Olympic, National, and World successes he'd accomplished. Then Tim gave a fairly detailed description of the dive Billy was about to do, emphasizing its difficulty. Billy's dive was perfection personified. Then it was Tim's turn on the platform and Billy took the microphone. Billy recited Tim's record, which started with his being National Champion while in high school. But then instead of describing Tim's forthcoming dive, Billy told the audience that he wanted to take a moment for personal reflection on the man that they'd selected to be the president of their university. He told of the night they'd first met, of Tim's diving with Billy's high school team in Fargo, of their trip to Rome, Billy's being welcomed in Grand Forks and on the University of North Dakota team.
Then he apologized for going even further afield, and told of the meeting that he'd had with Prexy, and being encouraged to change universities because they thought it would be better for Billy to go to a larger school with a top ranked diving team. Billy said, "I couldn't believe what I was hearing; here was the president of the university encouraging me to go elsewhere because it would be better for me. This after the school, and the president personally, had bent over backwards to enable me to come and dive with Tim. I knew right then and there that there was no other school in the world that I wanted to be a part of than North Dakota. I never had any reason to change my mind.
"And I want to tell you about Tim. You saw him dive today, and you're going to see more in a few minutes. He's still one of the best divers in the world, if not the best. But he gave up competitive diving after the Mexico Olympics for me. He believed, and I think he was right, that I would never be able to be my best while I was competing against the man who'd taught me everything I knew about diving. Tim retired so that I could reach my full potential. It's a debt that I can never repay, but that I'm only too willing to publically acknowledge. Tim, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you." Billy was in tears, and the room was completely silent.
Billy recovered and said to the crowd, "Now Tim's going to show you that he's still the world champion. The next six dives are the hardest, most difficult dives done in the highest level of world competition. Tim has been doing all of them since high school, and is now going to perform them for you. Even if you go to the next World Championships, you're not likely to see any diver tackle all of these dives. When Tim first told his Olympic diving coaches of his plans to do all of these dives they thought he was crazy. Crazy like a fox. And the gold medal you saw him wear around his neck yesterday is testimony to that. And now, here's Tim."
Tim didn't let Billy down, nor the audience. Billy swears that his dives were as good or better than in Mexico City. It didn't matter. This audience was going to love Tim regardless. But, oh God, was he good? Every world and national champion for the last decade that was watching those dives on television that night had to know that his gold medal would've been silver had Tim not retired! That Tim had continued to dive regularly for ten years following retirement from competitive diving was exceptional. That he had maintained his form was miraculous.
As if that wasn't enough, Tim and Billy then went through their tandem diving routine, much they same as they'd performed it in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. I would say that it'd gotten better, but I really think that was impossible. But it was just as good as the previous shows, and the crowd in North Dakota went wild.
They concluded with their favorite ending, a double cannonball, in which they grabbed each other as they jumped off the high platform, forming a single ball just before they hit the water. The front rows always got wet, but nobody seemed to mind.
The show ended with them bowing to the audience, and then plowing into the crowd, shaking hands and thanking people for coming. It was almost an hour before they were finished with the crowd and ready to come back to join Sara and me, and a few others from the Gang, for dinner.
Prexy had offered to be out of Dakota House (the president's house) on September first, or by the inauguration, or whenever Tim would like to move in. Tim had insisted that Prexy and Lizbeth stay at Dakota House until they'd found a new home, purchased it, and moved in. They had, in fact, found a home, but wouldn't be able to move in until early December. Tim didn't mind, and expected some remodeling to be needed in Dakota House before we moved in.
There had also been a question raised about me moving into Dakota House. It hadn't been raised in a hostile manner, but in a legal one. We were not, after all, married in the eyes of North Dakota law. Was it appropriate, even legal, for the university to provide housing to an unrelated person in the president's house? We decided to duck that question in a very simple way. We had no intention of selling our existing home, though we weren't sure how it was going to be used once we'd moved out. It was, therefore, very easy to solve the university's problem. My legal residence would never change; I would still legally live in our home in Grand Forks. Tim would move his residence to Dakota House. He'd have to change his driver's license, and I wouldn't! Nobody was in the least concerned about where I actually spent my time or my nights. It was sort of a legal version of rumple the sheets. It worked for us, and more importantly, it worked for the university's lawyers.
Dinner that night was cooked by Fred and Marty who'd left the diving demonstration just as it ended and headed back to our house to cook us a dinner. Dinner presented us with the most perplexing aspect of life with the Gang. The entire Gang was in town, and we would, in fact, have a dinner for all of them on Saturday. But who should be included in a small group? That night it was Carl and Carol, Hal and Sue, Fred and Marty (who cooked), Billy and Sara, and Tim and me. Of course, there were children as well. Billy's Willie and Bob were with their grandparents, Bill and Martha. Nels, Carl's son, and Junior, Hal's son, were with us, but went to sleep right after dinner. Other nights and other dinners we had different groups, and throughout Grand Forks the Gang often got together in small groups. I think that, over time, it balanced out pretty well; at least I never heard hard feelings expressed.
Sex never came up that night, and each couple went their separate ways not long after dinner - Billy and Sara were staying with his parents. I guess that proves either that we were no longer randy teenagers, or that we did have other things on our minds than sex. I guess it proves a little of both.
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