My Favorite “C” Class in Junior High

I suppose my reference to “junior high” would reveal my age, even if I didn’t freely admit I’m sixty-nine and will turn seventy in September. Middle schools hadn’t been thought up yet when I was young.

I don’t recall much about my junior high school other than the fact it was a quick bike ride from home. In fact, I’m afraid to guess at its name now.

I do recall a few of my teachers, though. Mr. Slaughter taught phys. ed.; he threw a basketball (hard!) at anyone talking out of turn. Mrs. Alexander was a witch, or so it seemed. Mr. Garrison taught what I think was called “core classes,” which meant I had him for three subjects that year.

One of my most memorable teachers was Miss Smith, who came to our house every day after school while I was recovering from the encephalitis which could have killed me or left me barely more than a vegetable. Thanks to her I made it through that first year of algebra.

But my favorite subject was actually something I wasn’t that good at: industrial arts, otherwise known as “shop.” Although I did make a wrought iron wall lamp for my parents–they used it for a number of years–most of my shop projects were wooden.

A lot of the guys–I don’t recall any girls being in my shop class–made wooden bowls by gluing wood together to get the right thickness and then scooping the insides out. That idea never appealed to me, though.

I had a real fascination with guns in those days, though, and I received a lot of attention with the halfway realistic-looking musket I made. Too bad I didn’t do any research first and make it completely realistic.

I also made a few little wooden cars.

My biggest shop project–biggest in terms of usefulness–was an end table I can still picture sitting beside my mother’s chair for a number of years. As I think back on it, no one would’ve accused a skilled carpenter of  making it, but at least it was functional. And my parents appreciated it just as much as if it had looked more professional.

As much as I enjoyed shop, you’d think my grades would’ve been higher. But, no. I couldn’t do any better than a C. I mentioned my lack of research regarding the musket? That lack of attention to detail typified all of my shop work. Whether I lacked the skill or simply the patience, I couldn’t say. Or perhaps the encephalitis affected my ability to do things like that.

No matter what the reason for my lack of expertness, small projects as an adult haven’t been much better. Perhaps I should simply be satisfied that they’re functional.

And I should thank Mr. Spencer posthumously–he’s surely been dead for many years now–for instilling the love of creation in me, even if he failed in his best efforts to teach me the skills.

Do you thoroughly enjoy doing something you’re not very good at? Like singing or playing an instrument? I’d love to hear about it, if you’d leave a comment.

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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Best regards,

2 thoughts on “My Favorite “C” Class in Junior High

  1. Shop class! I passed through shop class at Easton junior high when it was out on GLennwood Avenue in Easton, Md. We had an old chap named Mr. Rau. He kinda looked like Alfred Hitchcock except that he had a bad drool out of the left side of his mouth. But his rotund, figure and fading pate would have fit nicely in the drawing on the old TV shows where the director would place himself before each episode.
    I abhorred shop. I disliked almost every class I ever had. I felt it was completely unnecessary to go to school, escpecially when I had to endure teachers who knew less about their subject matter than I thought I did.
    And I am not good with art or anything to do with my hands like wood work. I can cook, but everything else is pathetically kindergarden level for me. Maybe I’m autistic or something.
    I feel completely inadequate drawing or painting and most of the stick figures I make are already surpassed by my 8 year old son.
    But I do like to teach. And write. And cook. Nothing else enters my consciousness as regards creating things. Nothing.
    I don’t know how I escaped with a D in any of those classes. I certainly didn’t deserve it. Maybe they just wanted to save me the humiliation and push me through the system because they knew those cleaases don’t really have much of an impact on day to day life. Like math.. When was the last time you needed to find the area of an isoscoles triangle? English, social studies and history and simple math are the most important things to learn. Higher maths and all that are for folks who dedicate their lives to a disclipline such as engineering or physicsmor other esoteric persuits and should he held in the same regard as priests, philosophers and doctors.


    • Tom, you never cease to amaze me with things I never realized about you. I may not care about the area of any triangle, but every time I cut a corner while walking I think of the Pythagorean theorem and imagine the steps I’m saving. I can’t do the math in my head, though. *LOL*

      Thanks for sharing.


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