Mr. Caldwell, my 7th grade social studies teacher, clearly recognized my Pulitzer potential. With his encouragement, I wrote a prize winning essay comparing and contrasting present day (1983) toy culture versus colonial era toy culture. I got to read my essay aloud to the members of the Syracuse Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at a tea and cookie ceremony in a Syracuse-style manse somewhere on the campus of Syracuse University.
Evidence of my genius is in these brilliant excerpt:
"...Guns have also changed quite a bit. Back in the colonial period boys usually had their own real guns. From what I have studied, they didn't have toy guns. The boys may have used gun-shaped sticks or their hands, but they did have plastic toy guns like we have now. The boys were also the only ones who were supposed to use guns. Nowdays it is different. Both girls and boys play with guns, but real ones are not allowed in our present day community..."
And this gem.
"...The difference between board games is great. Back in the colonial period board games were very simple compared to the board games we have now. There were no fancy mechanisms that move your playing piece for you. The games did not have credit cards or intricate thought process...no fancy electronic gimmicks were included."
Mr. Caldwell died in what we were told was a single car crash during the spring of my 7th grade year. I would like to let him know that I am grateful for the way he encouraged me, and I felt proud to be a good student in his class.