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“My early Halloweens were perilous affairs. I dressed as a ghost, a bed sheet draped over me. We were too poor to waste a sheet, so my mother never cut holes for my eyes. My brother Glenn was supposed to hold my hand and guide me from house to house, but as soon as we turned the corner and were out of my parents eyesight, he would launch out on his own and leave me to my own devices. I would stumble from house to house, tripping over curbs, running into cars, and spilling my candy. The other children would swarm over me, like hyenas on a downed gazelle, fighting over my Tootsie Rolls and Smarties.
With his ear for the small town and his knack for finding the needle of humor in lifes haystack, Philip Gulley might well be Indianas answer to Missouris Mark Twain. In I Love You, Miss Huddleston, we are transported to 1970s Danville, Indiana, the everyone-knows-your-business-town where Gulley still lives today, to witness the uproarious story of Gulleys young life, including his infatuation with his comely sixth grade teacher, his dalliance with sin-eating meat on Friday and inappropriate activities with a mannequin named Ginger-and his checkered start with organized religion.
Sister Mary John had shown us a flannelgraph of the apostles receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They looked quite happy, except that their hair was on fireI was suspicious of a religion whose highpoint was the igniting of ones head, and my enthusiasm for church, which had never been great, began to fade.
Even as Kennedy was facing down Khrushchev, Danny Millardo and his band of youthful thugs conducted a reign of terror still unmatched in the annals of Indiana history. With Gulleys sharp wit and keen observation, I Love You, Miss Huddleston captures these dramas and more, revisiting a childhood of unrelieved and happy chaos.
From beginning to end, Gulley recalls the hilarity (and heightened dangers) of those wonder years and the easy charm of midwestern life.
I Love You, Miss Huddleston: And Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood
Author: Philip Gulley