The beginning of 10th grade was beyond exciting. My classes were interesting Biology, French, Geometry and I joined the wrestling team. I did have a glitch when the Geometry teacher said that to take her class, Mrs. Guise, the Algebra teacher had to recommend me, especially since the record showed that I had received a D in Algebra.
I surely knew where Mrs. Guise was and went to her room between classes and said, “Mrs. Crane said that to take Geometry I would have to get a recommendation from you.” She looked at me in her perfectly straight up and down way and read out the judgement, “You missed several exams including the final exam and did not turn in very much homework, and your grade reflects your effort.”
Somehow I appreciated the thought more for the remembering than for truth. I said nothing, a silent supplicant without reply. We had battled it out in Algebra class, me showing off, trying to solve the problems without showing any work and her demanding to see, on the board, every step. The back and forth tit and tat caused the class to laugh which is why I did it and she knew it. Now, no one was laughing.
“I have never recommended anyone for Geometry that did not obtain at least a B in Algebra, Never the less,” she said, “You should take Geometry, I know you can do the work and I will recommend you for Mrs. Crane’s class.” I was shocked inside. Here was my old adversary who I had felt did not like me expressing confidence in Me, my ability. It was confusing, somehow her response was challenging to me. She was so smart and kind I will never forget her but I still do algebraic calculations backwards, in my head, just for fun.
Wrestling was a big sport in Iowa, not as big as football or basketball but more status than track and the wrestling team was a social thing and something to do after school instead of work. It was also the only sport a 95 pound, big eared runt could compete in and win the highly coveted, gold colored WM Letter awarded to first team members with an additional gold wrestling pin all of which was sewed onto my Letterman black jacket. This was one of the most effective ways of attracting female attention or so we thought and proudly wore our badges of…