Author's Preface Rory Graxham



Preface on Rory Graxham:

The author was fortunate enough to have grown up during the 1970s and early 1980s. While these decades' clothes had hideous colours and their patterns were definitely suspect, the cut and fit were far more flattering to the body than what's been worn by men and boys for at least 20 years.

And on the subject of those bodies: despite the author being considered "husky" in the patois of the time and by its standard, he was fully active and able to bicycle for 10-15 miles/day in pursuit of his summertime leisure activities and comfortable enough on a tennis court to play three sets of a game with friends.

There didn't seem to be any "morbidly obese" children, and there were none who weren't able to perform what was required in the physical education classes that comprised even public elementary school curricula in modest towns of New England. Despite being the least fit boy in all of my classes, I could swim laps or across the town's lakes, play tennis in the summer for hours, ride bicycles for miles, etc.

Most boys had flat stomachs, and some had really gorgeous muscles, a point that was not lost on me at the time.

It was a time when children were generally left to their own business during the summers. They inhabited and lived out lives that were quite separate and distinct from their families, if they so chose. The rules were few, but straightforward: if you're not going to be back for dinner by 6PM, phone ahead and let us know. Obviously, special occasions created exceptions, but those who were forced to rent apartments back then rarely had fine dining occasions to worry about. Meals were home-cooked, served on the dinner table that was set by the children every night.

The author, consigned to most of his boyhood in a single parent household with one sister, spent a great deal of time away from his immediate family, even if he was down in the basement of the two bedroom duplex apartment reading books, making messes with his chemistry set, or otherwise tinkering with machines.

It was a working class modest sized town of New England, but had enough military industrial complex (MIC) satellite industries to attract a great deal of skilled if not educated workers. This also attracted many immigrants, and so while his apartment complex was plain to look at, it seemed a veritable United Nations with many families from Europe, India, and Taiwan moving to the neighbourhood.

Shorts were short, hair was long, and the less affluent tended to buy new clothes just before the start of another school year slightly roomy, hoping they'll still be wearable by the next summer. Jeans that looked too short were converted into "cut-offs". No matter the style, they ended up being very revealing. They were often worn until the zippers could no longer be done up properly, though it didn't stop some boys for trying.

Against this setting let the author's memoirs have some context.

One last warning. These are the earnestly told recollections of events that occurred 35-40 years ago. While any names will be changed to protect the guilty, all other pertinent details will be told as they happened, to the best of the author's ability to accurately recall them.

However, it is unrealistic to hold any memoir to the objective standards of a historically reliable document, no matter how tirelessly diligent the writer. Human memory is surprisingly lossy, and its mind's deepest fears, hopes, and frustrated "lost chances" unfortunately colour what some people inappropriately regard in the same vein as a "video tape recording" of events.

If the gentle reader is content with this statement of best effort and the author's limitations as a human being, then let us proceed...