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June 15, 2006 [ More archived home pages here ]

Summer Of 1966

Today's song is Summertime by Billy Stewart released in 1966.

Forty years ago this summer was a time of new discoveries about myself and I met new friends. Earlier this year I wrote about the freedom I gained when I received my first motorcycle as a gift for my 16th birthday. I then wrote about my failure experience in my Sophomore English class. What I now write is how those two experiences came together in the Summer of 1966 and began my adult path in life.

In June of 1966 I decided to circumvent the usual educational schedule and signed-up to take my Junior high-school year of English early. Normally, summer-school was for students who failed, but the Chicago school system computers didn't check to verify that condition. I submitted my application for summer-school Junior English class and let the system work for me instead. It was the start of an awakening within me.

I was very fortunate to have an excellent English teacher for that course. Why the regular school-year teachers weren't that friendly and inspiring was a question I didn't take much time to answer. I just realized immediately that he respected his students and that he helped each and every one personally. He had a teacher's-aide as well. She was a beautiful 26-year-old blond woman, who complemented his teaching style with a passion for English literature. That was a winning combination and attendance was always high with her presence. :-)

Within the first week of class I changed from hating English to becoming fond of English. I started enjoying my homework and working hard on my essays and compositions. I discovered I had a flair for writing and that opened my mind to new ways to express myself. It was a revelation that I could use my mind and appreciate my studies instead of blowing them off as I had been doing my first two years of high school. I think that's what Miss Karpen hoped would happen to me when she failed me earlier that March. Bless her heart.

I finished my summer school English class that August with a grade of "B" and felt damn proud of it!

It was also in late June that I joined up with my late friend, Robert (Bob) Norcutt. He and I would ride around on my motorcycle after I came home from summer school. He introduced me to some new friends he had met just a week or so before at Rainbow Beach. This was my first time I met people as friends outside of my neighborhood or at school. One of those people I met was Sharon Kazmierczak. She was an incoming Freshman and she had a very nice personality. She was a caring person too. I spent the bulk of my free time that summer either with Bob or with Sharon and her friends. She would become a best friend for the next several years and we dated for a while in 1969 and again in late 1971. Then we parted amicably and I haven't seen her since. I hope she has had a good life over the years. Bless her heart too.

That Summer I had the longest hair ever. It hung down to my neck in the back and sides and just above my eyes. I don't possess a picture of me from that summer with my long hair. Before my 17th birthday I already started to lose my hair and those days with a full set of hair were numbered.

When I started my Junior year of high school, I was placed in a Senior English class. The school management was upset that I had tweaked the system for my benefit, but there was nothing they could do about it. I appreciated the fact I had end-run the process to my advantage and told them to look at my summer-school grade and see the difference from my Sophomore English grade. They let the matter drop at that point.

I worked hard my last two years of high school to improve my grades. I received another "B" grade for my Senior English class because that teacher also had the right attitude towards young adults in his class. I had learned well from the Summer of 1966 and my life experiences from then on were fundamentally shaped from that period.

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Monday morning I went to see the new movie, Cars. I liked it very much and perhaps there will be a sequel?

To celebrate that movie I added some Desktop Backgrounds of four old cars that I took pictures of a couple years ago.

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I'm thinking of doing some more Digital Passages PodCast Interviews. The ones I did previously are still be listened to by users. My friends or other acquaintances [ Link since removed ] gave freely of their time and energy to interview with me. Take some time to listen to them if you haven't done so before. Each of them has lessons to share.

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Last week, over 31,000 page views accumulated for this site! That's a new record. The Summer of 2006 is lookin' good and the livin' is easy. ;-)

Don


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