32. CATHERINE BLAINE JUNIOR HIGH part II

Unwittingly, I had created some mystery about myself. To the teachers, staff and students who just heard my name I was Victor, my first name. I felt that it would make me sound more confident and help me to be surer of myself. To my friends I was still Brom, and I told them about the character named Brom Bones in Washington Irving’s story of ‘The Headless Horseman”. He was the protagonist to Ichabod Crane and he dressed up to scare away his rival for the affections of the rich burgomaster’s daughter Katrina.

I enjoyed many of my classes for the first time. Marine biology and Washington State History were interesting enough and I even liked metal shop where we’d fashion ashtrays by making molds for pouring liquid metal slag. Even Physical Education, which Fredrick and Alan especially hated, wasn’t that bad and I’d decided I’d try out for the pole vault. The class I most enjoyed, was the art program. The teacher, Delores Porter, seemed to always wear some shade of blue over her ample frame. She sported an enormous sapphire ring and usually had long dangly earrings on and long fingernails to match.

Here, I did manage to be the teacher’s pet. I’d help clean up as the class was ending, scrub the sink and put materials away. She was glad for the help and soon knew to look for me if she wanted paper distributed or to get something from the supply room. I started helping her change the seasonal displays on bulletin boards in the halls and the library.

I was thinking about taking up another paper route. My folks were encouraging me; no doubt knowing it would keep me out of trouble besides teaching me some responsibility and money management. Just before contacting the Seattle Times about the possibility, Roy came over to my place and asked me if I’d like to join him and his father on a cruise aboard their boat to Canada that summer.

“Far out man. That’d be outta sight,” I said and immediately forgot about getting a paper route that summer. “We’ll meet up with some other boats captained by my Dad’s friends”, he explained. “We’ll cruise up to Roche Harbor and Orcas Island in the San Juan’s and then on to Nanaimo on the coast of Vancouver Island. If the weather cooperates, we’ll cross the Straits of Georgia and see if we can get as far North as Campbell River. I’d need a map to appreciate the distances and as expected, my parents thought it’d be a terrific opportunity. Roy had access to a small speedboat that he said we’d be towing behind us. We’d taken it out a few times already from the marina where they kept their boat and puttered around Seattle’s Lake Union and the larger Lake Washington.