I’ve written previously about Shepherd’s college-days-stories.
What follows are the two entire stories as I transcribed them.
PART 11. EXTRACURRICULAR EPIPHANIES
Jean Shepherd seldom talks about his college days. Sometimes he claims to have graduated, but this is probably not so. At some point he probably does spend some time in college, very likely beginning with a special army program in Maryland before discharge. And half a century later he receives from Indiana University an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
College is part of the experience of encountering life within the somewhat cloistered environment of school—one is still a “kid.” We consider among his kid stories, two important college experiences. Like a child, he is still encountering important knowledge which provides impetus toward maturity and learning about the world. His thinking and sensibilities are evolving—these life-altering changes occur while at college but outside the classroom. These two extracurricular epiphanies conclude The Education of Jean Parker Shepherd. They involve a plate of snails and a Bugatti.
* * *
I was going to college and of course I was barely scraping on—my end was tough. I had this one suit, this one sport coat. And so I got to know a couple of people there. One night this girl, very elegant girl with long blond hair, said, “Would you care to come to dinner tonight—my home? We’re having a few people over, and I think it would be kind of fun.”
I said, “Yeah.” You know, I’m always very glib with my adlibs. “Yeah.”
So she said, “Have you ever been out to the place?”
I said, “No, I haven’t.”
She gave me this address in the town where the school was. And I knew nothing whatsoever about it.
I said, “Okay, I’ll be there.”