If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, an what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. Pencey Prep is this school that's in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. Like as if all you ever did at Pencey was play polo all the time. "I've been just fine, Holden." She closed the closet door. " The way she asked me, I knew right away old Spencer'd told her I'd been kicked out. I just mean that I used to think about old Spencer quite a lot, and if you thought about him too much, you wondered what the heck he was still living for. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home. I never even once saw a horse anywhere near the place. She hung up my coat in the hall closet, and I sort of brushed my hair back with my hand. I mean he was all stooped over, and he had very terrible posture, and in class, whenever he dropped a piece of chalk at the blackboard, some guy in the first row always had to get up and pick it up and hand it to him. But if you thought about him just enough and not too much, you could figure it out that he wasn't doing too bad for himself. Thanks a lot." He'd written me this note asking me to stop by and say good-by before vacation started, on account of I wasn't coming back. I'd have come over to say good-by anyway." "Have a seat there, boy," old Spencer said. They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. That isn't too far from this crumby place, and he comes over and visits me practically every week end. He wrote this terrific book of short stories, The Secret Goldfish, in case you never heard of him. And underneath the guy on the horse's picture, it always says: "Since 1888 we have been molding boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men." Strictly for the birds. Anyway, it was the Saturday of the football game with Saxon Hall. I wear a crew cut quite frequently and I never have to comb it much. For instance, one Sunday when some other guys and I were over there for hot chocolate, he showed us this old beat-up Navajo blanket that he and Mrs. Come in, boy." He was always yelling, outside class. The minute I went in, I was sort of sorry I'd come. What made it even more depressing, old Spencer had on this very sad, ratty old bathrobe that he was probably born in or something. Old guys' legs, at beaches and places, always look so white and unhairy.
There were never many girls at all at the football games. Only seniors were allowed to bring girls with them. It was a terrible school, no matter how you looked at it. I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they're only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.
Old Selma Thurmer--she was the headmaster's daughter--showed up at the games quite often, but she wasn't exactly the type that drove you mad with desire. I sat next to her once in the bus from Agerstown and we sort of struck up a conversation. She had a big nose and her nails were all bitten down and bleedy-looking and she had on those damn falsies that point all over the place, but you felt sort of sorry for her. We'd gone in to New York that morning for this fencing meet with Mc Burney School. I left all the foils and equipment and stuff on the goddam subway. I had to keep getting up to look at this map, so we'd know where to get off. Anyway, it was December and all, and it was cold as a witch's teat, especially on top of that stupid hill.
What I liked about her, she didn't give you a lot of horse manure about what a great guy her father was. The reason I was standing way up on Thomsen Hill, instead of down at the game, was because I'd just got back from New York with the fencing team. So we got back to Pencey around two-thirty instead of around dinnertime. I only had on my reversible and no gloves or anything.