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by Peter Moskos

February 9, 2012

Those were the days... The Evanstonian

This isn't about policing in the old days. It's about me. Or more specifically, my old high-school newspaper, the Evanstonian, in the late 1980s.

I was just cleaning house (which, admittedly, is a rare activity) and stumbled across my old bound collection of Evanstonians.

Sara Agahi (nee Rubin), my former student editor (before I became one), still likes to take credit for all my writing success. Perhaps she deserves it. So did Mr. Ronald Gearring, my sophomore English teacher (who I believe passed away a few years ago -- Most amazingly, to anybody who knows ETHS, is that Mr. Gearring kinda secretly lived across the street, on the 1600 block of Dodge Ave... just a few doors down from the house from which a student on the high-school front lawn was shot in 1988).

But pitty poor Mr. Rodney Lowe, the fine journalism teacher and faculty adviser of the Evanstonia. He took over from a legendary journalism teacher and had to deal with a declining school paper... and me.

From the March 10, 1989 Evanstonian, I came across this line, written by me: "I have succeeded in my goal as a writer if people read my words and think, discuss, and questions -- whether in agreement or opposition -- the issues I raise." I couldn't agree more. But, hey now, what was that about?

Well, in just two issues of the school paper, I had managed to insult a vengeful Dean ("Why doesn't my dean use correct grammar? Or are double negatives and 'ain't' just a post-modern liberal approach to student relations?"), bring attention to the Superintendent ("The day Robert Goldman tries to dry his hands with flimsy toilet paper will be the day all bathroom are stocked with paper towels."), and, with this line, provoke a girl to track me down and seriously threaten me: "Does anybody out there have a Coach Sheehan photo album?"

[Turns out this girl was the very same he took pictures of! In his defense, they did get married during his trial for child pornography, for which he was found guilty.]

I went to a great high school. Seriously!

But poor Mr. Lowe. What a pain in the ass I must have been. Mr. Lowe may not have loved what I wrote, but he did support me, and probably more than he wanted to. And should you read this, Mr. Lowe, thanks for getting me out of all those classes I ditched!

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