In Memory

Jack Thomas**

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07/23/20 11:28 AM #1    

Alex Duckworth-Ford (Alex Ford)

Because Jack Thomas lived next door (or close to it) to the house of my best friend, I got to know Jack Thomas. His father ran a gas station on Broadway. His mother was a house wife. He had friends in school that I did not know, but met once or twice who were into acting and the related arts. Jack was very intelligent but was into things that were far out of my realm.

The things I remember about Jack included the one most important memory. I had a semester of Southwestern on the CV high campus. I would run from my house at Del Mar and J Streets, over to Michael Hinton's house on Ocala Avenue. Then, when it came time to go to school, I'd hitch a ride with Jack Thomas. One day in 1963, Jack told me to wait in the car and he went into the house to get something he had forgotten. He didn't come out for a long time and when he did, he told me, "President Kennedy's been shot." Yes, that's where I was when I heard the new. In a car in Jack Thomas's driveway. At CV High/Southwestern, I saw very few students on campus and a note on the door stated that classes were cancelled for the day. I saw two girls on campus and informed them (they just got out of class) of what happened and one of them shrieked and then just started sobbing. The other one said, "Oh no!" and she covered her face and immediately started to run up the hallway. It was at this point that I started to walk to the house which was nearby.

The other thing I recall about Jack is that while at San Diego State, he gave me different piieces of advice. I was telling him my difficulty with math and that I wasn't looking forward to three semesters of drudgery.  He immediately told me that i could challenge up to nine units of match on a test taking place in a few weeks. So, I signed up with little hope of passing. I had what I think was the best test day of my life. Further, since there was no penalty for guessing, I filled in the multiple choice responses.

I got a call a few weeks after the exam was over, that had been taken in a large area, perhaps in the library on a ground floor, on campus. Just to ensure that we were honest, the test area was filled with test monitors. Oh wait. Let me be more professional. There were "Proctors," standing all over the place to assist the students in their honesty. A few weeks later, I was astonished to discover that I had passed the exam. The strange part of it was, that I got one of the higher scores. The person on the telephone asked me if I wanted to change my major to something more in line with the mathmatics department. I responded that I'd seriously think about it and let them know within a month. That was the last thing I ever thought of as I was focused on completing my semester and with these 9 units added to my total, I realized that if I went to summer school, I could get my degree in 1969, only two years late, instead of 1970 and being three years late.

I mentioned to Jack that I was short on "coin," and he suggested that I put my application in for Teaching Assistant. I did so and was hired, but then was not renewed. But, the money I made helped me to get through the semester.

Last item: I dropped the transmission in my parents cars a couple of times. Jack Thomas on both occasionas arrange for his father to fix the transmissions at his father's gas stations for a major discount. Such was the type of guy he was. I found out is "orientation," (I did not have "gaydar," at that time. But Jack never made a move on me. He respected me as a person. His only liberty, was that he said that he'd never met a person with a, "perfectly round naval," before. I said, "Gee, Jack, I don't know. The doctor who delivered me was Jewish and he both cut the cord and later did the...(the thing that they do at a Briss...)

Rest in Peache.  Alex

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