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April 8th, 2018

Funny How Shadows On A Silver Screen Can Thoroughly Destroy You…And Yet Lift You Up…

Also on Twitter the other day…

Bright Wall/Dark Room? @BWDRFollowFollow
What’s the very first movie that broke your heart?

Oh gosh…not even slightly hard to recall. For lots of folks my age it’s Old Yeller. But my first serious movie heartbreak was The Yearling. I was maybe 9 or 10 when I watched it on TV.

Broke my heart twice it did…

 

…but then I went and read the novel anyway and got my heart broken all over again. But that was the book that gave me the insight into how multi-layered stories can be. I was in elementary school and pulling books from the big kid’s side of the library where I was told I was too young to really appreciate them. I nabbed a copy of the novel with the amazing N.C. Wyeth illustrations and devoured it. As I read that tragic end I suddenly realized that the title of the book referred to the boy, not the deer, and it felt like a revelation. Suddenly the world of books became larger, infinite even. 

So when it came time to write my book report on it I put all that into it, and the demented bully of a teacher I had for that class accused me of having my mom write the report for me and gave me an F, because how could a boy my age possibly understand that. Mom was furious and brought to a teacher-parent meeting the radio I had just built from parts to show her I was smarter than she thought. But no…I was the child of a single divorced mother and that made me by definition a problem child and both of us had to be punished for it.

Third heartbreak then. But I never gave up the joy of reading. That epiphany was too much to let go of. I’m 64 years old and my house is full of books.

2 Responses to “Funny How Shadows On A Silver Screen Can Thoroughly Destroy You…And Yet Lift You Up…”

  1. Bob C Says:

    I absolutely hate this. I of course had very different circumstances (Big family, no single parent,etc) BUT for a bunch of stupid reasons that had very little to do with me and a whole lot to do with adults who couldnt cope and deal with things that went outside the lines or charts, whenever I turned in passing homework, I got accused of cheating somehow. Because I just wasnt supposed to be smart according to their charts and ideas about things. But my Mom never took my side or defended me, not once, not ever. In fact she would usually AGREE with the teacher and say “Yes, Bob probably cheated…..somehow.”. The best my Mom could muster was “He’s not stupid, he just doesnt apply himself”.
    And yep, after a few rounds of that at the school I certainly did stop “Applying myself”. And stopped turning in ANY homework: I was damned if I did, and damned if i didnt from the moment before I even started, so why should I waste the effort when there were radios and rockets and gee-gaws to be built from scratch instead of learnin’ things?

    I think your Mom got an A.

  2. Bruce Says:

    I'm sorry about your mom's attitude. For what it's worth, that was the static I got from most, but not all, of my mon’s side of the family tree. I was my father's son, therefore I was going to be trouble. Stinkin' Rotten Good For Nothing Garrett Just Like Your Pap was grandma's favorite name for me. But after mom exploded on her once (and boy that's a story) she stop saying it to me in front of her.

    I know how that is about loosing interest in school when they keep pushing you into that low expectations cubbyhole. I was nearly completely out of it myself until I got into the high school I did and everything turned around.

    Something I noticed in retrospect, looking at my old report cards, was I got barely passing grades with most teachers I had, but from the few who I remember taking an actual interest in me I got A's, or B's at least. Mostly those were my Art and my Science class teachers. Woodward I guess, was small enough and its teachers professional enough that they looked at me as an individual kid and not a point on a social spectrum. Whatever the reason I flourished there, though it took a long while for me to come out of my shell. At my last class reunion I had classmates coming up to me and telling me how happy it made them to see me really opening up in my senior year.

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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