"History class brought us Time magazine for
current affairs. We left Ben Snyder's class, as I recall, and headed
upstairs for Senior English with Carl Wonnberger. Carl was death on
Time magazine. I hope Carl never had to deal with
People magazine. Anyway, Sig Snyder '57 (anyway I
think it was Sig) during a writing exercise or a quiz or something tried
to sneak a peek at a corner of the fifth page down in the magazine.
Carl caught him out of the corner of his eye and made a move at a speed
that I surely didn't think Carl capable of. He sprang from his chair to
rip the offending rag from Sig's hand. The unexpected bit was the
wastebasket that Carl stepped in on the way. Hilarity ensued. A group
howling with laughter, in rapture, without making a sound.
"I think I loved Wonnberger most. He gave us a quiz one day and promptly
fell asleep and, I guess, fell out of his chair to the floor. Crash.
We all looked up to see him gone. No one said a word. One hand appeared
on the desk. Another. Carl's wondrous, radiant, and alarm-red
countenance next. 'Shut up and get back to work.' Enough said.
"Late spring, Bermuda shorts had just been permitted by our keepers.
Albeit with long socks. So we looked like modern-day post office
deliverers, or more romantically, some sort of proper British desert
explorer or military types. Anyway, Carl thought we had all become
completely gay. He waved his handkerchief our way. Chided us. The word
'pansy' crossed his lips as I recall. It got more intense each day.
One day, he decided to join us and dropped his trousers and continued
teaching in his boxers, shirt-tails flying with the garters for his
socks so glaringly evident. More amazement, hilarity, even a kind of
joy I think at the reality of this obviously gifted, while very weird,
and gentle, man. This was all cool. No pun. Until Harry Hoey's
secretary showed up through the back-door of the classroom. She took
one look and said, "Oh for God's sake, Carl!", turned on her heel and
retreated. Invoking the Creator's name was pretty racy at the time for
the establishment. Carl became a real guy for me that day. He let us
in on something completely nuts and when the secretary walked in, we
were all part of his loony gig. Swell."