Friday, May 16, 2014
Maz (Blogging Lounge #9)
High school was a strange time. For the most part, I prefer to leave in the past, but once in a while a name will pop up that still makes me smile. I was looking through Facebook to see if there was anybody I wanted to add and I came across Maz, a truly unique individual. His behavior, especially towards girls would be considered harassment these days. Teachers would just sigh and roll their eyes, because his work was always done well. There just weren’t any niches to sink discipline into his thick skull. The attitude had gotten him booted from the debate team and a couple of other activities over the years.
He was from a conservative Jewish family, his Grandparents having come to the US in the mid 1930’s from Southeastern Europe. They left when it became apparent that Hitler was on one side and Stalin on the other and they didn’t want to find out who was going to get there first. The reason this piece of information is important was Maz was fluent in Yiddish, since it was required for him to talk to his older relatives. Being a rebellious teenager, he had reduced his Temple attendance to the holidays and even that was apparently at the threat of death.
Maz and I seemed to end up in the same Social Studies classes, Civics, U.S. History and World History, where we would heckle our intrepid and quite competent teachers. While I bitched about their homework assignments, a more courageous group of ex hippies was never to be found. They would do things like invite the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to debate the above mentioned, nationally ranked debate team (which consisted of three Jewish kids and a Catholic, all of whom became attorneys), which acquitted themselves very well.
The World History course came in our junior year. It was taught by an interesting character, Ted Wolfe, who really was our kindred spirit. He always gave information about events that wasn’t the official screed, which was appreciated. Most of the students at North Springs came from wealthy backgrounds, but I wasn’t. My parents were going through some rough times that were partially of their own making. But all of us questioned how all the wealth got here and how it was being used. There was usually lively debate and he was more than willing to help us back our argument with fact and reasoning.
Mr. Wolfe and Maz got on each other’s nerves. One Friday, an assignment was being handed out with a deadline of Monday. I heard him mutter an invective questioning the teacher’s heritage. Unfortunately, it was loud enough for him to hear, and Maz didn’t think about the origins of the surname Wolfe. The next two minutes of class was a rather loud dress down, completely in Yiddish, directed at Mr. Maz. The rest of us muffled giggles as we watched their faces turn three shades of red, Maz’s with embarrassment and Mr. Wolfe’s from anger and blood pressure. Threats of detention and other calamities bounced from wall to ears, until…
The sound of the bell interrupted the tirade.
We all quietly got up and left.