On a misty morning in 1979, every newspaper in the world featured the same headlines: "U.S. Wins World War III". Democracy was now the unchallenged social system, after the U.S. and its allies had defeated Russia and Red China in a war lasting only three weeks.
As I sat in my office at General Electric, I browsed through my paper and spotted a picture of an old classmate of mine, Rear Admiral Raymond Pinault, who by now had acquired a reputation as famous as Horatio Hornblower himself. Seeing that he was now out of a job, I decided to amble on down to the Pentagon and talk over old times with "Cuz". So I hopped into my '54 Pontiac and drove off.
On my way to Washington, I was pleased to hear on my car radio that Floyd Patterson had finally met his match. Pete Durette, after many long, hard years of training was now the world's heavyweight boxing champion.
I finally arrived at my destination after suffering three blowouts. Looking for a place to park my car I came across a sign reading: "If you want to travel the easy way, park your car with Manosh and Guay!" I drove up and said hello to Bob and Gerry and told them that it warmed my heart that two old parkers from way back had made it good. Gerry told me that things were going great and that he was considering installing "dim to your whim" lights and even toying with the idea of merging with the Grinnell chain. Wishing the boys luck, I left the lot and went to the Pentagon.
As I entered the admiral's office, I found Ray using the viewaphone and trying to explain to his mother-in-law why he couldn't get Kruchev's autograph. Seeing me was like catching a lifesaver; so he explained to his mother-in-law and hung up. Finding him as pleasant and portly as ever, I explained about the picture in the paper and asked if he knew where the other Prevost '59'ers were. He said he wasn't sure but he offered me the use of his private jet helicopter and pilot to find out.
After thanking the admiral, I hurried down to the airport and climbed aboard his copter. I was surprised to find an old classmate of mine, John Chouinard, at the controls. Johnny, who now sported a crew cut, had been appointed the admirals private pilot by a special act of Congress. He asked me where I wanted to go first. I replied that I wasn't sure but to fly to Raynham, Mass. I was sure of finding one guy there.
Sure enough. As we landed on a deserted field, our eyes beheld a sight as yet unseen. A huge, elongated structure had been erected at the former site of the Raynham Dog Track. This structure was covered by an enormous steel dome and had a sign on which was written in neon lights: "Mo and Don's dog Track." As we approached the gate , there was Mo Lamontagne and Don Lanouette to greet us. Mo was glad to see us and explained that he and Don had gone into partnership and had financed this magnificent track. Because of the steel dome, fans were not to be disappointed by inclement weather, and races were held year round. There was a third person in this partnership, a silent partner. This was the present president of M.I.T., Julien Goulet. "Univac" after securing his position as president of M.I.T., demanded that the institute hire Arthur Charland, a retired Air Force colonel, as head of the college's IBM department. Julee had also perfected a mathematical system of beating the dogs. Don invited Johnny and me to a sight-seeing tour of the track, but I explained that we had a lot of 59'ers left to check on. So we left the track and climbed back into the copter.
Johnny asked "Where to?" I told him to try Fall River, that perhaps many of our former classmates had dedicated their numerous talents to bettering their own community.
As we approached the Fall River Airport, I tuned in WSAR-TV on our copter television and was surprised to hear a foreign-sounding voice announce the "Kid Canuck" show. Yes, here was our old friend Roger Lamontagne with his own three hour disc-jockey show. Johnny explained to me that "Kid Canuck", together with his chief engineer Normand Cayer, was having trouble with his rival on another network, namely Paul Matton. Paul had succeeded where Dick Clark failed, to blend music and meteorology on his "Franco-American Bandstand."
We left the copter at the airport and climbed into the nearest taxi. This was an odd looking vehicle for a taxi, a green Chevrolet beach-wagon. The driver was none other than Roland Bileau, who was delighted to see us. He explained that a lot of changes had taken place in Fall River, but he ran the most successful taxi business in the city and also still hold his job at the Mount.
I asked Roland if he knew anything about our old classmates. He answered that the pastor of Notre Dame Church was now His Eminence Richard Cardinal Chrétien. Notre Dame was now the official Fall River cathedral. Roland also told me that Richard Barrette had finally seen the light and had moved to Fall River. After majoring in political science in college, Dick was elected mayor of the fair city and had taken up where Mayor Arruda had left off.
As the taxi approached the metropolis, we crossed the magnificent new Taunton River Bridge, a huge suspended erection, engineered by our old friend Edgar Berube. Ed now owned his own construction company and had invested in a catering business with his buddy, Albert Berube. "Bags", who had worked many long, hard years for his position, had finally managed to have the name of his concern changed to "Mother's and Son's Box Lunch."
Roland, who was telling all this, drove us to City Hall where Mayor Barrette resided. There had been many changes in the seat of our local government, one of which was the replacing of the City Hall eagle with a whale.
We finally ambled our way to His Honor's office, where we were surprised to see Paul Cantin sitting at the desk of the mayor's chief secretary. We spoke to Paul, who told us that His Honor had appointed him as chief secretary after his overwhelming success in the used car business. He told us that the mayor wasn't in, but he would help us if he could. We explained our mission and he informed us on a good many of our former classmates.
It seems that the smaller suburban areas of greater Fall River were now under the protective wing of the mother city. These small areas such as Somerset, Swansea, etc., now had a voice in the government and even a representative in the presence of Robert St.Laurent. Bob , who was assisted by Paul Pellerin, had done a fine job in administering the city's "Aid for Underdeveloped Regions Fund", and was now setting out on establishing a Technical assistance Program.
The city's public library was now under the direction of Ronald Berube. "Birdie", who claims the distinction of being the world's best read man, qualified for the position by satisfactorily completing the consecutive reading of over 1,000 books within three years.
The school's high school was now a veritable paradise. Constructed by Edgar Berube and Co., the school boasted a faculty of 500 at the head of which was Richard Gendreau, a top-notch principal, French teacher and journalism moderator. Bob Tremblay, the first Prevost athlete to make the Hall of Fame, and Maurice Michaud, the first Prevost athlete not to make the Hall of Fame were baseball and basketball coaches respectively. Their stalwart teams had been undefeated for six years before being upset by a spunky, little Prevost squad coached by Leo Marchand.
At this point "Fuzzy" mentioned that had we arrived earlier, the city hall barbershop would have been open and its proprietor Gerry Breault would have been around. Roger Rioux and Roger Chauvette were new joint owners of the City Hall Seltzer Shop. Both had plenty of experience jerking sodas, and their little establishment was really paying off.
Fuz also mentioned that Robert Lavoie had been appointed Sidewalk Commissioner. The City Council had appointed him to this position because it considered him a menace on the streets. Bob, by the way, was the only Fall Riverite to be stopped by the police three times in one day, for speeding, for overloading his sister's sports car and for running over people's lawns.
Henry DeGagne, who had acquired a reputation for being a first class hunter and outdoorsman, was new Chief Bounty Officer for the City of Fall River. It was Hank's job to track down all the poisonous rattlesnakes on Bulgarmarsh Road and sell them them to the city for 50 cents a head. The money was used to pay his class fund.
Gerry Letourneau, one of the first 59'ers to hit the dust and get married, was still commandant of the U.S. Army Reserve Unit stationed in the city. I especially wanted Gerry's address because he still owed me $25.
Bob Dube was now the city's Chief Sanitation Engineer. Bob, who now owned one of the biggest laundries in New England, was an expert in the field of diaper cleaning, and had sold his cure for a cure for diaper rash to the American Medical association for no less than $50,000 and a new Bendix.
Finally, I told Paul that only two members of the Class of '59 were unaccounted for: Reginald L'Italien and Raymond Blais. Just then somone came into the office with a copy of the latest Herald news. There in bold type was the headline: "L'Italien and Blais new Montaup Managers". I was very pleased to hear that Reggie and Ray had made managers after perfecting a method of harnessing lightning for electrical consumption.
I thanked Paul for his help and said my farewells. As Johnny and I drove out to the airport, I said good-by to Fall River, which unlike any other city in the world, had felt the power and appreciation of its citizens, particularly the Class of '59. For this sprawling metropolis, this magnificent Utopia was the product of Prevost thinking and research, thinking which stemmed from the unequalled genius of that elite thirty-five, the Prevost 59'ers.