This is a chapter from my book "Just Hangin' Out, Ma." Click on cover on the right of this page for more information
Brother Conrad was, in my opinion, one of the worst instructors ever at Central Catholic High School. But yet I have never forgotten the man. I had him for “Home Room” and for “World History.”
Brother Conrad was the size of a midget. One of his antics was to crawl up on top of his desk at the front of the room and peek down on somebody who was sitting up front, maybe eating their lunch or doing something inappropriate. He would belly-flop across his desk, his head propped up by his elbows with his chin in his palms. His feet would be in the air behind him, like a little kid lying across his bed at home. Everybody in the class would go into hysterics.
No matter what class he was teaching, he always drifted over into Lawrence, its politics or people. He was very concerned about the canals. He felt that they were dysfunctional and useless. He wanted them to be drained and paved or used for a subway or something.
He was brutally sarcastic. I’ll never forget the day that he walked into the classroom holding a copy of the Eagle Tribune high over his head. “Lookie, lookie, lookie,” he squealed. “Did you see last night’s paper? We got two more.”
The front page of the Tribune had a picture of a car wrapped around a telephone pole. The car was estimated to have been traveling at over 100 miles per hour. Two teenagers had been killed instantly. The vehicle was hardly recognizable as an auto. Brother Conrad thought that teenagers were violent and suicidal. He proposed a solution. He often suggested that all teenagers should be shuttled off to an island somewhere. Periodically a boat could be sent to the island and extract all of those who managed to survive to the age of 21 and return them to civilization.
In World History class he had one routine that went on and on. There was a student in the class by the name of Harcourt.
“Harcourt, would you please stand up.” Harcourt (not his real name) was probably eating his lunch, looking out the window or grab-assing with someone around him.
“Tell me Mr. Harcourt, what do you intend to be when you grow up?”
“I’m goin’ to be an engineer, Bruddah”
“Really? I don’t really think so, Harcourt. Engineers have to know a lot of math. Are you good at math, Harcourt?”
“Not very, Bruddah. But why do you have to know a lot of math to drive a train? All you have to do is follow the tracks.”
“Oh, you what to be that kind of an engineer. And you have the boots for it don’t you?”
“Yes Bruddah, I got these engineer boots for Christmas.”
“How nice. And you feel that you can drive a train by just following the tracks. I suppose that is how you get to school each day. You are from up the river aren’t you?”
“I live in Haverhill, Bruddah. But I don’t follow the railroad tracks to get to school. I take the bus.”
“Well, since you ride on a bus everyday to get to school, why don’t you want to become a bus driver?”
“Bus drivers don’t have no tracks to follow, Bruddah. I figure driving a train should be easier and I think it pays more money.”
“Harcourt, you must know by now that you are never going to graduate from this school or go to college. Here it is only January. Do you realize that if you quit school right now and beat the June rush, you could get in line ahead of all the other kids over at the mill employment office and maybe get a job?”
“I want to drive a train. I don’t want to work at a mill.”
“Okay, okay, quit now and get your fanny down to a train station. If you wait until June, there will probably be a whole bunch of your fellow classmates ahead of you down at the train station. If you quit right now the line will be a lot shorter.”
“I’m goin’ to go to college, Bruddah.”
“You are? And what college is that, may I ask?”
“Harvard? That is a very good choice. Why did you pick Harvard?”
“Because there is a train from Haverhill that goes right to Harvard Square.”
“Oh yes, I forgot. You like trains.”
This comedy routine sometimes went on for the whole period. It depended on Harcourt’s answers. If Harcourt’s answers were creative enough, Brother Conrad couldn’t resist asking more silly questions.
Our entire class flunked the World History exam. For some reason Brother Conrad just couldn’t believe it. When he asked for an explanation, Harcourt raised his hand. “Yes, Mr. Harcourt. You have an explanation of why this entire class flunked their World History exam?”
“I think so, Bruddah.”
“Well, by all means share your insight with me because I am at a total loss.”
“Well Bruddah, there wasn’t one question on that exam about the canals, the Merrimack River, the water works, Lawrence, or even Mayor Buckley.”
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Don't Laugh - This Could Have Been Your Life
Funny stories and some strange characters.
Monkey Dishes and Cocktail Fawks
My Harrowing days in the restaurant business. Great Read.
It's a Long Story
Long Short Fiction - Great stories!
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Talking To Myself
This is my third book of poetry.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Come On-A My House
This is # 4 in my Lawrence Hometown series.The old homested at 32 Chelmsford ST is pictured on the cover..
Down By The Old Mill Stream
# 5 in the Lawrence My Hometown series.
Standing on the Corner is # 6 in the lawrence My Hometown series.
The old Howard Playstead on Lawrence St.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
# 7 in the Lawrence my Hometown series.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.