We didn’t know his real name; we alway referred to him as “Professor Tolkien”. He’d walk by us, wearing his tweed jacket and smoking his pipe, turning right past where we played basketball to get to the ‘nice neighborhood’, as we called it.
None of us lived in the ‘nice neighborhood’. But the professor did.
Actually, we didn’t know what he did for a living. But, he looked like Tolkien, from the pictures we’d seen of the famous fantasy author / professor; and like all good nicknames, someone said it once, and everyone immediately knew that was the one we’d use from then on.
Some of my friends dated or had dated girls from that neighborhood, but none of them knew anything about him either, other than that he walked home every weekday, and passed by the public basketball courts between 6:25 and 6:30. And, since we played basketball year…
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