Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cleaning Out the Office

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I am cleaning out my home office. It turns out that my mother saved a bunch of stuff for me from years 1–21, until I was old enough to save it for myself, which I seldom do.

There’s nothing like a mom.

Among the things she saved were some cute pictures of her angelic number-one son (yeah, that one).

Also—

Illustrations for the Dick and Jane reader we used in second grade
My favorite is a clown I drew with crayons to illustrate the following text:
“Oh, see Dick.
Oh, oh, oh.
Funny, funny Dick.”
 \
A letter I wrote to Santa in 1959
“Dear Santa, I am writing this letter to tell you what I want for Xmas. I want a new hockey stick, a deck of cards, pencils (4), hockey helmet, and anything else an 8 year old boy might want.
Love, Webster Bull”

A typical fourth-grade report card from the Blake School in Hopkins, Minnesota (1961)
On one side are my academic marks, averaging over 90. On the other side are the “non-academic” items, including Art and Penmanship (both B), Social Habits (B-), and Conduct (a generous C+). A handwritten note explains the C+: “Talking.” Also it says I need improvement in Classroom Behavior and Conduct When Unsupervised.

Early writing efforts, including third- and fourth-grade themes on
“My Trip to the Moon,”
“Honest Abe,”
“The Cat and the Rat,”
“We Were There at the First Thanksgiving,” and 
“The Winter Olympics,” which begins, “One day my mother asked me, “Which do you want to do go to [sic], the Winter Olympics, or to your cousins?” My answer? “The Winter Olympics!”

And so on. The particular beauty of all this is that later today I’m driving to my mother’s house to help my sisters and brother go through Mom’s things, because next month Mom is moving into a senior residence and has asked our help. We’ll see what other stuff we find.

To close, here’s one more thing from the pile on my desk, a poem I wrote in the spring of 1960, when I was eight.

Mother
Mother is a wonderful word
M is for My Mother who understand [sic] rather than criticizes.
O is for Our Mothers who are ever so kind to us.
T is for The many wonderful things my Mother has done for me.
H is for Home which My Mother makes for me.
E is for Each time my Mother listens to my problems and tries to help me with them.
R is for the Right way my Mother always does things.
These six letters equal the greatest word in the world.
[Signed] Web

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