They tell us that students should get to know their teachers. So, every year I show my classes excerpts from Kevin Rafferty’s movie, Regular Guys. This is partly so that my students can get a better picture of my own high-school experience and partly so they can compare and contrast an elite private school in 1965 with an elite public school in the current year. Our former president, George W. Bush, plays a prominent role in this movie about Phillips Academy, Andover. (Please don’t call it Andover Academy or Phillips Andover Academy! There’s no such place. You’re probably calling it that because you are confusing it with Phillips Exeter Academy, its sister school in the wilds of New Hampshire. Or maybe I should say “nephew school,” as they are totally independent of each other although they were founded by an uncle and his nephew. Or was it a nephew and his uncle?)
Anyway, I was acutely aware of going to school with W, and I was just as aware that his father went to P.A. as well (both were head cheerleaders in their day, so everyone knew them). Even though George Sr. is much older than I am, he came to speak to us one year, which is the real reason I knew that he was an alum. But I had never realized that brother JEB was also an Andover student in his day (class of 1971, so he overlapped with me for a couple of years, but I never knew him because of the rigid class segregation that dominated our culture). The Boston Globe just published a fascinating article about JEB’s experience. A bullying druggie who almost flunked out…just what we need in a potential president, right?
By the way, in case you couldn’t tell, that’s not a picture of JEB. It’s my classmate, filmmaker Rafferty, best known for The Atomic Cafe and Harvard Beats Yale, 29–29, but in this case known for documenting my high-school class.