on the occasion of World Teachers Day…
When I was a freshman at Hueneme High School, I had Bill Lindquist as an English teacher. On the day we started Romeo and Juliet, we did what every class did: we cracked open that door-stop of an anthology and started reading.
The prologue, Lindquist read; he walked us through it. Then we dove into Act One, Scene One, with the servants joking then fighting. Well, we didn’t all the way into the fight because Lindquist stopped us cold. He shook his head and said he just couldn’t do it.
He walked over to the side cabinet, dug some keys out of his pocket, undid the lock, and pulled out all these paperback copies of the play. He handed them out and we read that opening again. Then he stopped us at the same spot in the play, and he asked us what we noticed.
It was easy. There was stuff missing from the anthology.
And right then and there, Lindquist taught us the difference between abridged and censored, and introduced us to the word Bowdlerize.
He said the anthology had cut the dirty jokes because we were innocent kids with virgin ears… and then he showed us the dirty jokes.
Some of them took explaining. But others were pretty blatant. And we laughed.
Then with almost clockwork-like timing, he told us the period was coming to an end. He asked us which version of the play we wanted to read.
Guess what we picked? Those anthologies stayed in our lockers for the next few weeks.
On that day I (and a lot of my classmates) fell in love with Shakespeare–and those who didn’t fall in love with it, certainly no longer feared being bored by it.
Lindquist made Shakespeare seem absolutely illicit.
Bill Lindquist, you are gone but not forgotten on this #worldteachersday