Went out to dinner last night with my old friend Roger G. Went to Saul’s Deli in Berkeley because Roger and I are two old Jews from Avenue L in Brooklyn and were in the same class, 1962 Midwood High School. We get together at Saul’s from time to time and when we do, we discuss him and his high-school beard.

It was spring 1962 and I had an early-morning doctor appointment and would get to Midwood High late that day. I walked out of my apartment house to go to the doctor and what did I see? Roger dribbling a basketball down the street, Roger coming toward me. I couldn’t help noticing Midwood was in the other direction.

“Roger, what are you doing?”

“I’m going to play basketball in the playground.”

“What about school?

“Oh, they suspended me.”


“Yeah, I refused to shave off my beard.”

I looked. He had a beard. Me, I wasn’t even shaving.

“They said if I don’t shave it off, I can’t go to school,” he said, “so I didn’t shave it off.”

He seemed happy. Was a good dribbler.

I was impressed. I never would have defied authority like Roger, didn’t know I could say no, although I’ve learned to say no. I still admire him, even though he’s clean-shaven these days.

Later on, he met a girl who wanted to go to Midwood graduation with him. He liked her. He couldn’t graduate with the beard. So, he shaved it off from love. She dumped him for another guy and he graduated without the girl and without the beard.

Obviously, he had a closer relationship with the beard than the girl.