Monday, March 07, 2011

Thoughts of Glenna and the War of Roses and my Toeses

When I went to Loyola back in the early 1970's, I took a class with Dr. Trimble - English History: The Wars of the Roses To The Tudors. Only five students took the class and by the second week it was down to me and a girl named Glenna, most days as the other three students made only perfunctory appearances.

Dr. Lionel Trimble was a scholar*of the old school. He was close to seventy years old and spoke in very mannered, low and formal English, but what he spoke of -Perkin Warbeck, Nat Tyler, Bolingbroke, Hotspur, Mortimer, Richard II,III, Pope Nicholas Breakspear, York and Lancaster, Richard Duke of Gloucester, Buckingham, Owen Glendower, and Henry Tudor honeyed the air of Loyola's Lewis Tower on Rush Street, or so I believed.

Dr. Trimble began lecturing the moment he closed the door at the appointed time - if you were late you were locked out. History after all is about time.

Glenna was from the far North - Kennilworth or Winnetka and dressed like she was going to a board meeting at Northern Trust Bank. This was in the days when blue jeans were uniform of the day for Catholic girls freed from jumpers of Longwood Academy, Queen of Peace, Maria, St. Scholastica and other convents-lite.

Glenna had jet-black hair and alabaster skin and wore pearls most days and horn-rimmed black glasses. More importantly, to this late-adolescent testosterone bubbling scholar-manque, Glenna was graced by God with the body of mortal sin itself.
Her calves and legs, usually encased in grey or blue hose, were magnificently athletic and femininely arched at the feet, shod in low heeled pumps or black boots.

Glenna was a twenty year old Mary Tyler Moore encorpified. It took every level of self-control and self-worth in my poor powers to focus on the Wars of the Roses, when the war of hormones and romantic day-dreaming of a life as the kept man of Glenna: she attending to the world of corporate banking and larding our savings and checking accounts and me ministering to her every passion, while cooking and cleaning our Tudor Brick Home adorned by Red and White Rose bushes and maintaining my wash-board like belly, and rock hard chest with feats of home-spun athleticism.

To say that I was distracted is understatement.

Glenna and I communicated but once as I recall - days before the end of the Spring Semester. I was seated in my usual position of advantage angled just behind and to the right of this exquisite beauty, in order to take in every move and crossing of legs, but most importantly the neck, ears and superior jaw occasionally draped by the raven hair - flicked with an elegant racking by manicured and lovely fingers.

As was my wont - I was adorned in my janitor's uniform grey green work slacks and light grey long sleeved shirt with patches over each pectoral -left emblazoned HICKEY and right in Gothic script ORCHESTRA HALL. I wore heavy work boots and thick white socks. I would go from my classes directly to 220 S. Michigan and work the 3-11 shift, get relieved by cousin Willie and Tony Gac, study and sleep. Get up take a shower in the musicians locker room and return to class. Ah, the Days of Ivy!

My legs stretched comfortably in anticipation of Dr. Trimble's arrival and luxuriating in the breath-takingly sexy propriety that was Glenna and I checked my notes.

Glenna forced down her Oxford University text and pulled her horn-rimmed glasses off, tossed her cascade of black hair in a sweep that scarfed her neck and stared into my eyes with her own lavender blue orbs - "Excuse me."

My heart stopped. Yes?

"Please move, or do something. Your feet smell awful. Really. I am sorry. Please; before I throw up."

Slack jawed and silently I skulked back several seats and rows away. Dr. Trinble saved me from further shame by transporting me to Bosworth Fields.

I got and A + for my essay, notes and exams; never saw Glenna again.

By the way, my feet had soured due to the fact that I wore the same work shoes day-in-day out in rain, snow, and slush. My doctor gave me a formaldehyde regimen. Rule -toss boondockers and tennis shoes; merely washing feet don't do it.

My feet are like Roses, ever since Glenna.


Powicke, F.M. (1953). The Oxford History of England: The Thirteenth Century 1216-1307. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198217080.

Green, V.H.H. (1955). The Later Plantagenets: A Survey of English History Between 1307-1485. Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0713151765.

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