Friday, October 31, 2008


There is no way to stop the Princeton Alumni Weekly from coming. No matter how often I moved, never filling out change of address forms, it followed me – its letters columns full of old grads fulminating about the horrors of diversity, most of its pages devoted to sports news, eventually involving young women too. In the class notes I see names that are sometimes familiar, but sometimes unfamiliar names of college boys whose spheres at college did not connect with mine – just as when at that senior class barbecue I realized that in four years I had not noticed that the dreadful Murdock of my deep past was in my class, in effect in my life as he had been when we were children.

I find it hard to throw that silly alumni magazine away before making a quick check. I am one of those old grads, if an extremely disloyal one, who goes first to the obituaries.

And there a couple of years ago in the columns about dead Princetonians was Murdock, my tormentor from the 6th grade who turned up in my college class. He had died a little young but he had died fulfilled, the obit said – mentioning his socially rarefied anti-Semitic undergraduate eating club, Ivy (which was as far as anything could be from the sphere I was in). Murdock’s obit talked about his loyalty to Princeton, his regular attendance when in the country at the football games, his satisfying and completely fulfilled life as a corporate man, golfer and international big game hunter.

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