By Dinty W. Moore
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Extra info for Between Panic and Desire
18 pa rt on e 4 SON OF RICHARD M. NIXON The halls of Saint Andrew’s Catholic Elementary always seemed dark. When I think back to those days, moving cautiously from room to room, scurrying from the cafeteria to the small basement library, the corridors remain ominous and shadowed—somewhere no child would wish to linger a moment more than absolutely needed. Perhaps that was intentional. It was in one of those gloomy hallways, on a Thursday in November, 1963, waiting for my chance at the boy’s lavatory, lined up in perfect single ﬁle behind a dozen of my male classmates, with our uniform blue shirts and clip-on navy ties, that I heard the pa system crackle to life.
You seem as if you can’t take in the multitude of sights, sounds, and sensory inputs; you can’t make sense of what is happening or construct a version of reality that allows you to move forward — I was on lsd. No, I’m no longer talking about on top of that building. I mean right now. Right here. At this point in your life, as you pick up the phone and call me. You seem lost. You seem overwhelmed. You don’t know what to do next. Keep talking . . One by one, Dinty, the symbols of safety and security came apart in your life.
He would be a doctor, and with him her future would be set. I can only imagine the degree to which my mother must have yearned for security. Her parents divorced when she was still a toddler, and both died before she reached her early teens. The circumstances of her father’s passing have always been murky. One relative insists that he jumped in front of an elevated train in Chicago; another maintains that he was pushed. Whatever the case, he was only thirty-four years old, and somehow no one kept a copy of the death certiﬁcate or an obituary.