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Some Kids I Have Known
Environmental in 1956


       Jethro was undoubtedly gifted with his math abilities. It didn't matter if it was calculus, trigonometry, advanced algebra, physics or whatever. He was a genius. Many days found him in the study hall working problems for all the math students in the small engineering college. The learners  would congregate around his table while he reigned, supreme, king of the math world. The youth  worshiped and knelt at his feet in order to get help with their home work.  The off handed way he worked with pencil and paper while he calculated unbelievable abstractions, was a sight to see. The long equations tired his hand and he then switched to the other hand since he was also, ambidextrous. Myra loved to watch the arrogance of the young man's action. He was in his element and he knew he was “the man.”

        This cocky but capable young man like all of us, though, had a nemesis. She came in the way of a petite, ninety-year old woman, who was his physics professor. The woman was so decrepit and aged no one believed she would know how to discipline this person who was so convinced of his own superiority. This tiny woman, who dealt with motion and force, was the one capable of structure for living and life. Her walk was one of a decidedly, elderly person. Tiny steps took her down the corridors. She kept her head down and watched carefully the path she had to travel.  Was this from her osteoporosis or for a need to take care with her walking to keep from falling? A slender frame seemed too delicate to function amidst the young people who studied with her.

         Jethro was normally in a good mood. Rarely did he ever complain about anything. It was true he was slipping through his schooling on shaky legs, too.  The boy came from a conservative family who really didn't worry much about their son's drive and desire to become educated. This had not mattered to him. He drove his old car, kept to the boarding house he had rented at low dollar prices and managed spending money by working part time at a filling station.

        “I'm going to tear that old woman apart!”  Jethro spoke in a voice loud enough for his professor to hear.

        “Jethro!”  Myra was surprised. “Can't believe you are fussing with that little old woman.”

        “She gave me a “B” on my test.”  Jethro's attitude was one between disbelief and shock that he, the great, kingly genius had been given a “B.”

         “Maybe she is trying to make a point.”  Myra had to make an observation about Jethro's conduct.

         “What point?  Excuse me if I don't see through her methods.” Jethro was livid.

          “Do you think she is trying to tell you to let the kids do their own work and thinking?”

          A look of sudden awakening was upon the face of the once proud authority as understanding settled into Jethro's mind.

         As it happened the couple wound their way through the busy, wide corridors of the hall way always a bit behind the little teacher. They were now standing on the inside of the tall, sliding glass doors looking out to the menagerie of people who were trying to brave a sudden blizzard like storm that was making it difficult for any who were parked on the street to move their cars. All the slipping and sliding made the stack up of cars happen as they spun this way and that.

        The little professor took her tiny, close steps and walked gingerly to the trunk of her car.  In one arm she clasped the papers from the class she had just finished. Where she had stashed her car keys
was anyone's guess,  but she now was opening the trunk of her car with them.

        Jethro did not take his eyes off  her actions.  He was carefully watching and wondering what her next move was going to be.

       She reached into the trunk of her car and retrieved a small sack of something. Now she was walking to the back wheel of her car. With one frail, bony hand she took a handful of sand and sprinkled it in on the ground in front of the wheel. Each wheel in turn was treated with its own means for their traction on this icy, slick, road.

        She got into her car and easily drove away from the curb. Everyone else was spinning tires with the rear ends of their cars fish tailing this way and that. It was  just too much for Jethro to take.

       He narrowed his eyes to slits as he watched her car easily travel down the slick street. “Tear that little woman up. That's exactly what I'm going to do.”  But this time he had a tinge of respect in his voice as he spoke.


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