Andrew Paul Grell
“Last year’s was so lame. I mean. Really. A fake time capsule? How did that even get over?” We were assembled at an isolated row of benches looking down onto where the Grand Concourse and Boulevard smacked into Mosholu Parkway, close enough to school but far enough away that nobody would spot us, even if they were able to withstand the powerful aroma of the Ailanthus trees. In a school known for brains, Dina was a standout. Nerds lined up like lemmings to jump off her cliff. I should know. I got close to her when she ran for Student Body President. I was deputy campaign manager in charge of putting posters in high places. Dina was referring to a painstakingly forged journal of Der Bronck’s Bauer. It had been lovingly placed in a synthetically antiqued herring barrel, to be “discovered” by a dog digging a hole in Harris Field, across the street from the famed Bronx High School of Science, a/k/a the Nobel Prize factory. The journal listed the African slaves who dug the original pond that would eventually become the Jerome Reservoir and Aqueduct. The senior class sent a delegation to Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s residence, to present a petition to deed the sections of Jerome and Reservoir Avenues adjacent to the reservoir to the black students at the school. John Mahaya got a chuckle out of that one. His dad, James Mahaya, had been a diplomat for the Obote government in Uganda, choosing a third secretary appointment in New York, rather than Minister Counsellor in some city which did not have a Bronx Science for his kids to attend. But when Idi Amin took over, the Mahaya family was stuck. I put in my tuppence.