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How is it possible for a septuagenarian historian, no matter how powerful his memory, to reconstruct accurately all the verbal give-and-take of campus, battlefield, or bordello recorded in this action-packed account? To be sure, some exchanges are so graphically evoked as to suggest that the author couldn't have made them upthey were un- Page xxi forgettable. One passage of this sort describes the radical undergraduate busily organizing the Iowa campus to oppose war. " I demanded. I prided myself on my knowledge of constitutional rights.
In moments several trout lay flopping on the bank. The chauffeur took the rod from the sportsman and returned it to the trunk. Then he strung the fish through the gills onto a short line. Carefully handing the "catch" to the sportsman, the chauffeur brought out a camera, stepped back, and clicked off half a dozen poses as instructed by his employer. Mr. Townsend stepped forward then, took the fish, and as the limo rolled away, threw them back in the pool. Fats and I almost died laughing, and for days, with Fats as the rich man and me as the chauffeur, we were a big hit in school.
As the years passed, my father, whose $14 a week from Singer kept us going, drove up less and less often in his Locomobile touring car and later in his secondhand Chandler Eight. Behind us the still white lilies on a fading relic of a fountain. Page 15 my harried mother to distraction. There were veiled hints that back in the city he was not always alone, but in front of us boys there was never even a whisper of disharmony. And my mother did love him truly, and alone among men. He failed her and himself, but it never occurred to her to do anything but bear it, as she did her mountain of other burdens.