If you’d known me back when I was a Brooklyn teenager, you’d have sworn I sounded like one of Welcome Back, Kotter‘s Sweathogs. And if you didn’t know me back then, you were just going to have to take my word for it.
Because I’ve managed to get my hands on the April 2, 1972 episode of Malachy McCourt‘s radio show, where I appeared, two days after my 17th birthday, to take part in a two-hour program on high-school newspaper censorship. McCourt had invited me and my South Shore High School pal Barry Chaiken (plus a few students from other New York schools) after we’d published an interview with him that resulted in us being forced to cross out several words deemed unacceptable from thousands of copies of Shorelines, our school paper.
The two hours of audio are fascinating, not just for the picture of the student struggle for an unfettered press, but also because of the news reports on Vietnam, the presidential campaign, and the death of Gil Hodges, who’d suffered a heart attack that morning.
I’m sure that eventually, because of its historical import, I’ll upload it all. But for now, here’s a snippet from the end of the program, as I respond to McCourt’s request for a few final words.
Be honest. If I hadn’t told you who that was … would you have recognized me?