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Honoring The Kiss

When I entered 1st grade in 1939, Mrs. Dickerson, a kind, soft spoken, gentle woman was our teacher. One day, she assigned some quiet seat work to the class and then invited my friend Donnie and me to sit by her and read with her. Neither of us knew that she was giving us some individualized attention because we were struggling readers. Mrs. Dickerson made both of us feel special. After reading with her, she asked us a comprehension question that neither of us could answer. She suggested that we think about it over night. That night, I dreamed the answer and rushed to school to tell her. I burst into the room and shouted, “Mrs. Dickerson, I know the answer.” With a smile on her face, she quietly asked, “What is it?” I gave her the answer, and with an even bigger smile, she said, “Yes, that’s it.” And then she leaned down and gave me a kiss on the cheek. I began to love reading and eventually went to college to become a teacher. I felt that in becoming a teacher, I was honoring that kiss. Now a man in my 70’s, I still feel that kiss, its


When I was in third grade, I became fascinated with dinosaurs. Woolworth’s used to sell small, rubber triceratops, tyrannosaurs, pterodactyls and all the rest, complete with names, sizes, and sometimes their prehistoric era on the bottom. Every time we got near the store, I was begging my Mom or Dad for one more to add to my collection. I checked out every book in our small town library on dinosaurs, paleontology, Roy Chapman Andrews, etc. I followed every lead and link suggested, so soon I knew about the eras and epochs — Jurassic and Cretaceous, I knew about the LaBrea tar pits and the early, giant mammals trapped therein, I knew about excavation techniques, and I knew where and why dinosaur fossils were most likely to be found. I presented my hobby as a “learning project” in third grade, stunning the teacher with my knowledge sufficiently that she invited in the Superintendent to watch me do it again. I went to other classrooms to present – some kids wanted to have certain ones “fight” each other in their rubbery glory, but I would clarify and point out that the mastodon and the allosaurus lived in different time periods and probably

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