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For All Nails #186:  A Boy's Life


Boston, Massachusetts, NC, CNA
13 March 1975

"Hallelujah Amen Amen Hallelujah Amen!"

David Barrington's mind was half on the Handel [1]
he was singing and half on his own thoughts.
This was easy stuff, in C, nice short intervals,
logical tune.  Not exactly the Lokes.  Not only 
that, but they'd now done it so many times (it was 
taking so long for the rest of the baritones to pick it
up) that David no longer had to look at the music.

School choir was a snap compared with church choir.
Last fall All Souls had done pieces in Bulgarian,
Hindustani, and Zulu, the last a piece Deacon Palmer
had brought back from his year in Natal.  A lot of
_these_ guys couldn't even handle the other language
they were supposed to know.  Was it so hard to say
"weer-gin-es" and "dee-kee-mus" in Latin class, and
then "veer-ji-nes" and "dee-chee-mus" here?  He tried
to imagine their struggles with the variations of 
the English in the Roberts _Hymn to Jah Love_ they
were doing in church this term -- the whole thing, mind
you, not just excerpts.

Not that _he_ considered himself much of a singer,
but anyone from an Anglican church choir started
with a leg and a half up when it came to singing.
And there weren't many Anglicans at Roxbury Latin
School.  Not that RL discriminated, in picking students
anyway, nobody really discriminated, but mostly the
Anglicans went to Emerson or the other Anglican places.
Mom and Dad had picked RL for the broadening, the
better academics, and the lower tuition.  Mostly the
lower tuition.

"O Judah rejoice!  Rejoi-oi-oice!  Rejoi-oice O Judah,
in songs divine,"

Now with faculty, David had concluded, Brother Jarvis
_did_ discriminate.  Since he'd taken over there had been
eleven new teachers, and the only one who would deny the
divinity of Christ was Mr. Ben-Judah.  And of course
that was all right, separate dispensation and all that.
But Unitarian Anglicans?  Heretics, a danger to the 
youth, should probably be burned at the stake, that was
Brother Jarvis Anthony's view.  Which would shock the
Calvinist founder of the school more, David wondered, 
a Catholic headmaster or Unitarian Anglican students?

Would he really be better off at BE?  After all, Dad
was going that way now, changing at Dudley Square for 
Concord after David got off in Jamaica Plain [2].  He
could ride the same train -- maybe make a few more pounds 
working at Leebild [3] after school.  They already said
they wanted as much of the summer as he could give them...

But that would mean dealing with a whole new school for
only two years.  And hearing _two_ Anglican sermons a 
week, school and church.  And spending twice as long on 
the train.  All in all, a higher price than hearing his
religion abused from the pulpit here.  Now his sister
Jennie, it was a good thing _she_ was at Fuller and not
here, even if RL took girls -- Jennie would be organizing
hunger strikes against the religious bigotry and getting 
in all sorts of trouble.

"With cherubim and seraphim harmonious join."

Why did all the best schools have to be single-sex?  Choir
practice at church went a lot more quickly while he was
staring at those soft little hairs on the back of Victoria
Hartford's neck.  Which reminded him of a problem.  How 
early was _too_ early to ask Victoria to the Spring Social in
May?  As far as he knew there was no other boyfriend
involved, so he didn't have to rush, but if Victoria said
no he needed time to find someone else, but asking _now_
would make him look really desperate, which he was because
he didn't know any girls outside of church choir, except
for Jennie's friends who were too young to count.  But if
she said yes maybe they could go together to a Fuller dance
too...

He'd ask Christine about it tonight.  It was silly, and he'd 
never admit it to _anyone_, but it helped sometimes to ask advice
from the poster of Christine on the wall of his bedroom.  He
had to imagine the answers, of course, but they usually made
sense.  That was Christine, the wise big sister he wanted but
didn't have in reality.  Since Christmas Christine had shared 
his wall with Gina, who inspired fantasies of a more conventional 
nature.  The first woman in space, and the first woman to walk 
in space [4].  They made a perfect pair -- he'd had to take down the 
old poster of the original Sweet Six, but he'd never liked the way 
Evangeline looked at him out of that poster anyway.  You couldn't 
say she wasn't smiling properly, but there was something in that 
look that let you know she thought you were dirt.  And he wasn't 
dirt.  Last week Victoria had been willing to talk to him in the 
breaks at church choir, anyway.

"Amen!  A-men!  Hallelujah, Amen!"

Notes:

[1] The choir is singing part of _Judas Maccabeus_ by George
    Frederick Handel (1685-1759), first performed in (pre-PoD) 1747.

[2] The principal business and transportation center in both
    timelines of the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury, named after
    the pre-PoD colonial governor Thomas Dudley (Roxbury Latin
    trustee 1670-1720).  Roxbury Latin School was founded there, 
    in the then-town of Roxbury, in 1645.  In OTL it moved to West 
    Roxbury in 1927, in the FANTL to Jamaica Plain (on what in OTL 
    is part of the Arnold Arboretum) in 1874.  For more on local 
    Massachusetts history and its effect on place names, see my 
    forthcoming post _Historiae Virorum Illustrorum Novangliae_, 
    consisting of excerpts from one of David's Class V Latin readers.

[3] See FAN #77.  

[4] On the Geminae mission mentioned in FAN #144.
    
Dave MB