A Note from Justin Raimondo

Dear Cherry Lawn Alumni Association:

Good god, after all these years finally I get some indication of what happened to Cherry Lawn.

You have me listed as "Dennis" Raimondo, but even back then I was calling myself Justin, and I still do. At any rate, rather than talk about myself, I just want to say how much the memory of Cherry Lawn means to me. I don't want to be contentious, and I certainly don't want to diss Bazz -- god knows I did it enough in his English class! -- but I emphatically disagree that the later years of CLS can be summarized by "dirt, drugs, and disrespect." While I may be glamourizing the past a bit, in my view those years at CLS are golden in my memory. We cared so much about ideas, we were so passionate about . . . well, about EVERYTHING.

Most of all, I remember my teachers: Mr. Smith and his lovely wife, the art teacher; and DIRK MANNING. Roaring into school every morning on his motorcycle, with his black leather jacket and burning black eyes: and what a teacher, and friend. Does anyone but me remember the student strike started on Dirk's behalf when they fired him? God, it was a High Point, a true epiphany for me and for all of us who took part (only Laurie Kogan went to classes for those days: I trust she is a prison guard today . . . )

I am a writer, today, with a few books to my credit, and I have often thought of writing a novel based on my Cherry Lawn experience. It seems to me that there was something emblematic about the school, and the students, the two years I attended: it was very much of its time, but in many ways was the best of that time.

Of course, what I am really thinking of is my first year at CLS: the second was hellish, they had cracked down, gotten rid of all the troublemakers (except me and Alison Wilmarth)

At any rate: I have been living in San Francisco for the past twenty-five years or so. I am a journalist and author: my book Reclaiming the American Right; The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement was published in 1993. My next one, a biography of Murray N. Rothbard, the great economist and social theorist, will be published sometime this year.

Anyway: thanks for the Cherry Lawn website. We deserve a place in cyberspace (not to mention history ...)

-- Justin Raimondo

Submitted 13-January-1998