¡Ray Pruitt, Presente!

by Mark Chmiel

I just found out that a classmate died last year in Japan. Ray Pruitt studied two years at Bellarmine (1978-80), then eventually finished his Bachelor’s at Harvard before doing law at Yale. Ray, Anne Walter and I had signed up for a US history class sophomore year. For the first quiz, Ray ignored what the teacher gave us and instead  wrote a short essay on the vices of indoctrination.  The professor  later called him into her office, and he proposed that he was ready for a serious, critical  look at U.S. history and he knew two other students (Anne and me)  who were also up for reading some of the classics of our nation.  She agreed, and we three stopped going to class and instead met with her every couple of weeks for discussion on a particular book.  Near the end of the spring term, one of Ray’s papers was on the Beats, which introduced me to the writings of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs.

Thinking of Ray’s exuberance, I recall Harold Bloom’s commentary on The Book of J about Yahweh’s Blessing: “J’s vision of the charismatic is that its quality lets us envision a time without boundaries, a sense of something evermore about to be, a dream  that is no dream but rather a dynamic breaking through into a perpetually fresh vitalism…”

 

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