Sunday, February 08, 2009

Item From the Past: Comment on Richard Nixon

Yellow with age and slightly brittle, a handful of lined papers now reside in plastic sheet protectors in one of my closets. The paper was made for grade school kids to practice handwriting, so the lines are widely spaced, with dotted lines down the center. The paper came in a tablet, I remember that, and you could easily tear out the individual sheets.

Forty years ago I was in the second grade. I wrote this on one of those sheets. I have no memory of doing so.


Feb 11, 1969

Today we learned about President Richard M. Nixon. Mrs. Gates said he was a basturd whatever that is.

Mrs. Gates was my homeroom teacher that year, and I forget what subjects she taught us, though we moved to other classrooms for English and math. I feel very certain that however Mrs. Gates felt about the newly inaugurated president, she didn't share it with us kids. I'm also certain I wasn't dumb enough to share the paper with her. That might have created an unpleasant situation that I would, in fact, remember now.

I do remember that at one point Mrs. Vest, whom I think taught me English that year, told the class that it would be "President Nixon" from now on instead of "President Johnson," and that she seemed a little unhappy about that. Just an impression. Maybe she'd been hoping for a "President Humphrey," but she never did say that out loud.

A few years ago, my mother found this paper and some others like it at her house and brought them to me during a visit. Both of us got a laugh out of them. She posited that my brother Jay, who was a junior in high school at the time, put me up to it.

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At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't remember putting you up to writing this, but it's certainly possible, though, in fact, I had supported Nixon in 1968. (I had even gone downtown to see him when he made a campaign stop in San Antonio. I don't remember anything he said, but I do remember that Desi Arnaz - by then white-haired and bearded - introduced him to the audience.) If the date on the exercise is correct, I was only a junior in high school at the time. JVS

At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first comma in the second line ought to be a semicolon. JVS


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