T—- said that I was too transparent in my last blog, so I am trying to be less so in this one. The last one was based on my belief that there was more in Deval Patrick’s background to make him a good presidential candidate that in anyone else’s. In Lowell, I am considered a sinner for not backing other people. Lowell, as you know, is a fairly conservative city, but its taste in presidential propects is fairly liberal.
Changing topics totally, I was on target for a memory from my days as a sixteen year old male student at Lowell High School. My memories of me at Lowell High School are of a student who enjoyed seeing what he could get away with, as opposed to what he could accomplish. I took English History with Wyman Trull, a man who was a legend in his own time. I did very well in his class, but only after a less than memorable beginning. My first quiz grade in his class was a “C” and I was satisfied with that. It was a passing grade and all I wanted to do was pass his class, which was rumored to be very difficult. Written on the quiz were the words we all dread, “See me.” I did. He took me aside and said that there was an “A” in that class with my name on it. All I had to do was read twelve books by the famous English historian, Thomas B. Costain. I laughed and said basically that it just would not happen. But he told me that he had faith in me, and no one had ever said that about me before.
I started at the beginning, the Norman Conquest, and found the books fascinating. So I read all twelve by the end of the year and got my “A.” But I knew I had gotten something better than that, I had earned the respect of Wyman Trull, the toughest teacher in the History Department. I learned all about the Plantagenets, starting with William the Conqueror, and going on to the Tudors, the Stuarts, etc. A teacher took the time to challenge me and I took the time to respond. Not only did I get an “A” but I got knowledge of an obscure piece of history. I felt like Winston Churchill.
There is no point to this story. I just wanted to sanctify the late Wyman Trull as he was to his least able student. When I first moved out here from Chicago, my father asked me if I wanted to be an electrician trained at the Trade School, as it was then called. I said no. But I did not do well until I got out of my father’s schools and into a school that did not care if I passed or not, Lowell State College. I passed in a paper a day late, and got an “F” on it because it was late. Thus, I learned a quick lesson, that colleges run by their own set of rules and they did not care who your father was, or what his job was. They wanted results and I studied like crazy to get an “A” average during my first semester.
I had a following. A guy named Joe noted my high grades in Biology and he sat next to me and freely took my answers off of my paper. The guy next to him did the same thing to him, not realizing that Joe was getting a few wrong on purpose. So I got my well-deserved “A” while Joe got his stolen “Bplus.” His friend, who I did not know was copying off of my paper, got a B. The next guy got a C, while the last guy in line ended up with a D. They were all happy to be cheating off of my paper.
Changing course a bit, my wife is amazing as a fashion forecaster. She knits professionally and gets caught up in all sorts of changes that just amaze me because they are so ahead of their time. Twenty years ago, she took out string lights for the Christmas tree in June and strung them on her Benjamin Trees. When my father had a political party at our house, everyone noticed the odd light arrangement. Two years later, white lights in June were in the windows of the downtown Jordan Marsh Store. And it does not stop there, she knitted a pocket in her stockings to carry her telephone. Two years later, she saw the exact same design in the pattern of a knitted pair of socks. She tells me what is going to be the rage and I have to believe her. She is right almost every time.
Jim Neary, the man who should be Superintendent because of his flexibility and dedication to detail, once told me that my legacy was my children. I am proud of them. The oldest saves lives as a paramedic, the second son works managing a segment of Homeland Security, the third is a computer whiz and very commited to getting a Bachelor’s degree, and my daughter is applying to law schools. My granddaughter is very sharp, with a brilliant mind. So that is my legacy. Pretty good for a guy who thought a “C” was a good grade until he was pointed in the right direction.