The next morning after breakfast, Mike was just thinking about making a run to the store when the doorbell rang. Opening the front door he found two teen-aged boys. He immediately recognized their faces as those of former students though only one of their names swam to the surface of his brain.
“Mr. Smith, I thought you lived here.”
“I do. I have since before either of you were born. Come on in.”
He led them inside and gestured for them to have a seat in the living room. The teen whose name he remembered as Curtis was a tall thin African-American with close-buzzed hair. His friend was just as tall, though not quite so thin, with long blond hair and a very red face. Both were obviously hot.
“Patience, would you bring these young men something cool to drink please?” he called, and then turned back to them. “What would you like?”
“Just water,” said Curtis.
“Yeah,” said the other one.
Both stared at Patience when she brought them their drinks. Curtis had to elbow his friend to remind him to take the glass. It wasn’t that she was dressed provocatively, in a shorts combo and a pair of pump sandals, but it was just impossible it seemed for her not to be attractive. They both kept staring at the spot where she exited the room long after she was gone.
“So what can I do for you guys today?” asked Mike.
“Francis is doing a paper for his junior History class and he has to have an interview as one of his references. So I told him to come and ask you.”
“We’re taking summer school so we can get a credit ahead. He’s taking History and I’ve got Pre-Calc.”
Mike looked and noticed for the first time that the other boy, Francis, had a small wriTee tucked under his arm.
“Francis,” he said, more to reinforce the name in his memory than to address him. “What is your paper on?”
“The 1950s. Do you remember what it was like?”
“Well first of all boys, I was born in 1982. In fact, my father wasn’t born until 1963.”
“Oh. Well, do you know anything about the fifties?”
“I’m a teacher. I know everything about the fifties. I don’t worry about the bomb, I’d rather be dead than red, and I like Ike.”
“Who’s Ike?” wondered Francis.
“Eisenhower. Dwight D. Eisenhower. That was his nickname—Ike.”
“How do you get Ike out of Eisenhower? There’s no K in it.”
“I don’t know. That’s just what they called him.”
“They should have called him Ice,” offered Curtis, “like Ice-enhower, or Ice-double H.”
“Yeah,” agreed Francis. “That’s edge. Wait a second. I thought he was that World War II guy. That was the forties, not the fifties.”
“He was a general during World War II and he was President during the fifties.”
“See. I told you he knows it,” said Curtis to his friend. “Turn on your Dictathing.”
Curtis unfolded his wriTee on the coffee table and with a swipe of his finger the screen came to life.
“So what was life like in the fifties?”