10 months ago

Penn Magazine November 2017

The inaugural issue of Penn Magazine

great over-view. Most of

great over-view. Most of the demonstrators were across the street in front of me. Among them was a monk from Japan who, with five others, had been fasting and keeping vigil for ten days in front of the Pentagon. He was· beating out a “Peace Prayer” on an oriental drum. It was very soothing and prayerful. Whenever he stopped, I had the feeling the walls of the Pentagon were about to come down Jericho-! Lee Miller was standing at the pillar to my right. Between us was a policeman in full gear–helmet, gun, radio, etc. Lee asked him about wearing all that heavy gear in such warm weather, and for a while we chatted about the warm weather. I was so nervous I did not realize it was hot! To my left was a group of plainclothes men. Every now and then one of them would stroll over for a “friendly” talk. Even the Head Man In Security dropped by–he did not even pretend to be friendly! All this time, I remember desperately trying to loosen the top of my bottle with my free hand. I was holding a sign with the other. It was on too tightly and every time I tried to open it a bit, one of the cops would come to talk. God! I was going up the wall– sure I’d NEVER get the baby bottle out of my pocket. Then fate took over. Coming out of the Pentagon was Mr. Amadeo, my eighth-grade teacher and coach at St. Anthony’s. I couldn’t believe it. I yelled out, “Amadeo!” He turned and looked – his mouth wide open. “Frank Cordaro; eighth grade, St. Anthony’s, Des Moines,” I said. “Cordaro” he said. He couldn’t believe it. He came over and we talked for about five minutes. The edge was taken off! Even the guards got a kick out of two people from Des Moines meeting like this. Irony! Life is filled with irony or is it something more? 44/Penn Magazine/November 2017 Ironic that Mr Amadeo quit teaching in a Catholic school because he couldn’t live on the salary. So he joined the Air Force to make enough money, and hopes to return to coaching when he leaves the Pentagon. Ironic that my father was a coach at a Catholic school. Ironic that I love sports and had intended to be a coach . . . Ironic that I was at the Pentagon about to sill blood on the pillars of the Pentagon, and there meet Coach Amadeo who now works in the Pentagon, wishing he was a coach. Coach Amadeo asked me 3 times in those five minutes if I knew what I was doing. And I could I answered positively, ”Yes, very much.” Fate? Or God’s hand? All I know is after talking to Mr Amadeo, I felt like I had a conversation with my father asking from the grave, “Do you know what you are doing?” And I could say, ”Yes Dad I do! ” Mr. Amadeo got into a car and drove away moments before the road was blocked and our blood spilling witness began. The symbolic Rite of Exorcism was over. The road was blocked. The ashes were dumped. I dropped my sign, pulled the bottle out of my pocket and spilled the blood high on the pillar. An officer grabbed me, pushed me against the wall, hand-cuffed me, frisked me, and took me and my companion blood-spillers custody, holding us at the side of the main entrance between the wall and the pillars. The Police State took over the space. America’s best in riot gear appeared –about fifty men – marching between us and the demonstrators. Police were all over the place, collecting ashes, baby bottles, and blood specimens for evidence. My blood was on the pillar, on me, and on my arresting officer. I told him I was sorry it got on him. He said, “That’s o.k., it will wash out.” We began to chant over and over, “The Pentagon is a Temple of Death.” It was so VIVID–so REAL–so UN-REAL! The blood-spillers and the ash-dumpers were taken to where the road-blockers were waiting … Pictures were taken of each one with the arresting officer. We were loaded into the school bus. The riot squad secured the steps of the Pentagon. Other policemen were already hosing down the pillars and the steps with water. We were driven away, still chanting, The Pentagon is a ”Temple of Death. Truly it was a well-organized demonstration. Thanks to good planning and training on BOTH SIDES nobody lost their head. This is all I can write now. This prison scene is another world–life can change completely as quickly as a door slams, or not change at all for years on end. I must remember that Time does not keep me–I keep Time. PRAY* Frank

From a Member of the Audience By Wayne L Gregory With a Foreword by Charles W. Gregory, his son How can I describe Wayne L Gregory? He was my dad. He loved the theater. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone for whom theater was such an important part of life. One might safely say it was his life. Not that he didn’t love my mother with all his heart; not that he didn’t love me. My parents used to love to tell people at parties that they’d been married on the 3rd of March and I came along on the 23rd. Then they’d reveal the seven-year gap in between... In the fifties in the USA such things were far more important than they are today, and they managed to shock people quite effectively. Which of course was a little bit of theater on their own part. Dad taught for 37 years at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. He’d planned to retire after 40 years, in a year that would also feature my graduation from the same school and the 25th Wedding Anniversary of my mom and dad. That didn’t quite work out, as we moved to Philadelphia 3 years before that long-planned festive year, mostly because of issues I was having... it’s not easy to attend the same school where your father teaches, for one thing. Or to be the only child of parents who are significantly older than those of nearly all your peers. For that long run at Walnut Hills, Dad directed two plays every year as well as teaching speech and drama as part of the English Department. It was one of the earliest schools in the country to draw “My first memory of Miss Maude Adams recalls a pair of tickets which were prominently displayed on the side-board in our dining room at home in Peoria, Illinois. This must have been during the season of 1912-1913, when she was on tour of the U.S. The play was PETER PAN and my mother had purchased the tickets early as they were always hard to get. I was ten years old.A few days before the performance I was playing baseball ... [continued on next page ...] advanced students from all over a city in order to prepare them for college. Dad’s productions sold out their performances and were reviewed – nearly always favorably -- by the same critics who wrote up the big-name touring companies that visited Cincinnati. I wouldn’t say he was a celebrity but he was certainly well respected in the area. Perhaps nothing I write can describe my father any better than this newspaper article from April 21, 1966: The Script Is ‘Harvey’ ... but Mr. Gregory loves classics, too. The Play’s The Thing Teacher-Director Sees Theatrics As Helpful To Students BY BOB WEBB Cincinnati Enquirer Education Writer If Shakespearean plays live on in Cincinnati high schools, one reason may be Wayne L. Gregory. As play director at Walnut Hills High School, he’s kept a terrapin-like grip on the classics when others would shunt them aside for more modern fare. “A classic is a play that’s been able to last through the years, and has something to offer the public which is unusual,” said Mr. Gregory, 62, relaxing in the faculty lounge November 2017/Penn Magazine/45

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