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  • Writer's pictureWJ King


Readin’ ritin’ ‘rithmetic, the proverbial three Rs of education. While always endorsorsing the first two, I found arithmetic boring, barely necessary and a waste of time. In layman terms, I didn’t get it. Oh, I passed the basics with flying colors. Hand on my lapel, I was nearly pretentious reciting the ‘times table’ through nine times nine. Anything more advanced, dare I say it algebra, would leave me sweating at the blackboard, praying for a portal to open. To add to the drama, Mr. Perret, math teacher/football coach, would throw a piece of chalk in the air and direct me back to my seat. Giggles and laughter prevailed. Now, I knew how to turn a bad situation to my favor and if I experienced a similar situation in another class, my response to the laughs would be a wave and, “thanks everybody, I’ll be here all week.” Not in Mr. Perret’s class though.

I was always proficient at reading although seldom venturing from assignments, with the exception of the sport’s page. Heavyweight champion Joe Louis and baseball greats Lou Gherig and Babe Ruth, provided the resources of my annual book reports throughout much of my academic journey. I did in fact receive an A for a term in English during highschool. Virtually no work was required but a demonstration had to be given on how to do something. I chose the production of a bogus Selective Service card, or draft card for the military. It indicated one's status for the military draft and gave admittance to establishments. My forgeries, of course had no bearing on draft status but provided many hours of merriment and joy for underage boys in drinkeries. I recall a particular evening, when nearly twenty of us in Sotak’s Tavern, were purportedly born December 7th, 1949.

My senior year of highschool was a blast and I enjoyed it like the others. One day while providing classmates with comic relief, I was summoned to my counselor’s office. After a few laughs, Miss Spinneweber advised me I would be staying on after my class graduated. I took this to mean I was being asked to remain as an in-class tutor. Miss Spinneweber attempted to elaborate but I offered my apologies and explained I was off to visit an ill relative in the hospital. An emergency meeting at MaHall’s bowling alley bar to pick up teams for Saturday’s football game at Madison Park. One might ask, why meet on a school day but with the intense pressures of academia, it becomes necessary to allow for occasional distractions.

As a more mature man of twenty-one, I dabbled in college. The LEEP Program, (Law Enforcement Educational Program) provided me with cost free college. G.I. benefits included receiving cash to cover expenses. Not being a veteran I couldn’t double dip but my roommate could so I tagged along. For a few years, never attaining or aiming at a degree, inadvertently or not, as in highschool I did learn somethings, applicable to being.

Like nearly all facets of my life, formal education was a trip.


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