It is not likely that two bullets fired toward each other will actually meet, but it can happen! This seems to be somewhat the case that has Jerry Shively, class of 1946, living next door to John Behlke, class of 1959, in the rural Dordogne valley in France. A further interesting coincidence is that Jerry’s brother Bob, class of 1950, was teaching at Deerfield during John’s time there! The two “J’s” met at a cocktail party and discovered their joint educational past. Since then, many more dinners and drinks have passed, but seldom without some discussion about the “Old School” and what it has meant to them–in particular the impact that Headmaster extraordinary Frank Boyden had upon each.
The similarities are interesting, in that John was a four year student and Jerry only his senior year. Herewith is Jerry’s brief history and impressions, now over seventy years later! It is, in my opinion, impossible to have met Mr. Boyden without being fascinated and impressed. After a half hour discussion with Mr. Boyden and my mother, the “Head” thought there would be room for me in the class of ’46 as a “new boy”. We were, of course delighted but my schoolteacher mother had no idea that yearly fee for Deerfield would be her yearly salary. Aware of this, I’m sure Mr. Boyden simply asked my mother what she thought it cost to feed me. Upon hearing this, he simply asked her if she could provide that! A few months later I hitch-hiked to Deerfield and began one of the most interesting and formative periods of my life. –Dr. Boyden, as he was sometimes called, was a diminutive physical presence, but a towering presence. To be called before him for some misdemeanor, however large or small, terrified all, though his admonishments were seldom severe and always delivered to respectful recipients. –Spending my last year of “high” school in the presence of interesting and challenging teachers and staff and a remarkable collection of bright young men made an enormous impression on me and I’m sure moved me toward a better, and frankly, a more ambitious direction in life. I will ever be grateful to Dr. Boyden for my “Deerfield experience”.
Enjoying my close association with fellow alumni, Jerry Shively, here in the Dordogne part of France where we are both retired. Good company with numerous discussions and memories of Deerfield, so long ago for us both.