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John W. Pinkerton


After a brief afternoon nap, a memory which has repeated itself many times, reappeared…as brilliant and direct as ever.

Just off of the LSU campus a block past the movie house, a favorite of mine in which I saw many wonderful movies---Fellini’s 8 1/2, Dr. Strangelove--- was a drive-in eatery.  I have no idea the name of the place, but it was popular, and it had a large concrete area around it---not that common in 1965.  I passed through the paved area on my way to and from my 1920’s apartment and work at a local laundry next door…not a very romantic job---fetching clothing for folks who could afford to have them dry cleaned, but one I needed to provide food as I finished my last semester at LSU.  In January I would be the proud owner of a degree in English---that may have been an error in judgment,   and like Navin Johnson, I was about to peck my way out of the egg and “be somebody.”

Someone, I suppose it was a fellow worker released at the same time from the laundry, accompanied me and was able to explain to me what I was seeing.

See what I saw.  Parked on the concrete was a 40’s black Chevrolet, polished and shining and perfect in the sun.  A young man about my age with a white shirt and rugged,  athletic looks was entering the driver’s side of the car.  A young blonde woman was entering the passenger door of the car carrying some food items wrapped in paper.  They both looked happy and confident and on the verge of being “somebody.” 

I asked the fellow accompanying me if he knew who they were.  “He’s a writer.  Recently graduated, and they’re off to New England.”

With my back to the writer and his girl, I heard the engine of the Chevrolet chariot roar, and I assumed that by nightfall they would be well on their way to New England, a locale that even then I suspected I would never visit.

I’m not prone to envy, but if I were to be envious, it would be of that young fellow.

I felt a little sad.  I knew at that moment I could never be that confident fellow driving toward his future.  I would have to settle for being me.