David McGowan

Just some random reminiscences:

I think junior year was all about becoming seniors. Wow! Seniors got to punish freshmen for perceived insubordination; seniors got to use the senior doors, seniors were kings of the senior patio. Mostly, seniors had their own smoking lounge out by the handball courts. Actually I didn’t even smoke but the idea of a smoking lounge, removed from the watchful eye of the faculty, sounded very grown up and we couldn’t wait. Unfortunately by the time August arrived our senior lounge had been turned into a “weight room” There weren’t even weights in the room but some sort of bogus ropes and pulleys that supposedly would replace standing weights. We were devastated to learn that smoking had been banned for all students (although most faculty members still smoked – some during class) and there would be no senior lounge for the class of 1969. There may have been student protests that year at Columbia or UCLA but the Jesuits allowed no such liberties and we could only grumble amongst ourselves and take it out on the unwitting freshmen. A classmate who will remain unnamed (okay it was Jeff Dillon) had a key to the Philothespic room above the auditorium and it became the secret smoking lounge for a select few. It was exciting to sneak up there during a break but it didn’t replace the senior lounge.

Besides the usual football games, “sock hops” in the Auditorium, and fistfights with Bishop Lynch losers, I think the most memorable event of senior year was registering for the draft. The Vietnam War had really heated up by the spring of 1969 and we were required to report to the Selective Service office in downtown Dallas to fulfill our patriotic obligations. Rumors were rampant that if you had a driver’s license and failed to register for the draft they would come and arrest you. Mostly we knew we couldn’t get summer jobs without showing a draft card.

Some of my classmates had proud fathers who took the boys downtown and signed them up. My father traveled for a living so classmates Dan McGarvey, Javier Escobar, and John Baugh agreed to provide moral support for me. I don’t remember what building held the draft office but it was downtown Dallas which was an adventure in itself for us North Dallas boys. I took a number from the receptionist and we hunkered down in wooden pews while we waited nervously. My friends tried to joke about me being a war hero but the clatter of manual typewriters along with the lyrics of Bob Dylan songs running through my head distracted me. After a half hour or so my number was called and an older woman (okay she was probably 60 but that was ancient to me at the time) took me into a large room with what seemed like hundreds of even older women hunched over typewriters and interviewing young men. In a much too businesslike manner she asked me my name address and religion. I showed proof that I attended Jesuit High School so I could get a temporary deferment. The guys and I were back on the street in ten minutes and I was clutching my ticket to adulthood. It was a bitter sweet moment for all of us as we knew it might also be a ticket to Vietnam We also knew that we would make the same trip all over again the following month to celebrate John’s birthday.

McGowan 69