September of 1960 I turned eight, ready for third grade. The previous autumn I made a fool out of myself the earliest that I could remember when I rushed home to our new apartment in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood a half block from school to proudly tell my mother that I saw a 1964 car. Ma told me that there was no way as it would be four more years before that year’s models would be introduced in the fall. â€œButâ€, I insisted, â€œPerry told me that we both saw a 1964 car pass byâ€. She then explained to stupid me that my buddy probably meant that the two of us had seen a 1960 Ford car.
Another dumb thing I did that second grade school year was beat up a kid a year older than me during lunch recess. When we returned to class, a student representative from the third grade class was sent to my room to come take me for a dressing down by the ex-nun who taught the eight years old kids. She told me that it was wrong to hit other kids. I tried to reason with her that he started it and that he was a year older than me and should have been able to do a better job defending himself. She didn’t like my answer and had a look on her face that indicated that she couldn’t wait to get a hold of me the following year.
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