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Originally uploaded by rubbernun
My 15-yr college reunion is this weekend.

When Jim and I moved a few months ago, I found a bunch of great photos I had kind of forgotten about, including this one.

Dr. Bogart was one of our many oddball English profs, intimidating and blustery, hilarious and scary, with a walrus-y mustache and a fondness for guyaberas. His AmLit I class for sophomores was considered the "weeder" for English majors -- if you couldn't hack it, you had no place in the major. He told us every story we read was about sex, and then assigned Melville's "I and My Chimney" just to mess with our heads. It's about a guy who's inordinately proud of his chimney (nudge, nudge), how grand and tall and solid it is, how much better than the other men's chimneys.

"A-ha!" we cried, so proud of ourselves for finally getting it. "This one is definitely about sex!"

"What are you talking about? It's about chimneys!" That's the kind of prof he was.

"You drank with Kerouac?" someone asked after he regaled some of us before class one day with tales of his bohemian years.

"Still do!" he bellowed.

Our senior year he was on sabbatical, and someone in my class befriended him enough to get the housesitting gig. We'd study in his living room for our comprehensive exams (my school is one of the few that required this of undergrads) and poke around his house looking for relics of his crazy life. And that's how we found this portrait -- his daughter painted it, and it was propped on a table at the top of the stairs. It just seemed so like him to have a giant picture of himself in his hallway. We had a hilarious afternoon taking pictures like this.

That's my friend Amelia on the left. She now teaches at our alma mater, though I wonder if she ever told Dr. Bogart about any of this.

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