Drop Everything and Read!
© 2001 Gary S. Stager
To be published in the June, 2001 issue of Curriculum Administrator
There are but a few reading memories I
have from my childhood. I loved McCloskeys Homer Price, The MAD Adventures of Captain
Klutz, Woody Allens Without Feathers, D'aulaire's Book
of Greek Myths and was rather fond of the Uncle Remus stories. There was
a big brightly illustrated picture book series by J.C. Caldwell called, Lets
Visit Australia, Lets Visit Stamford
that made me dream
of travel to faraway lands. I also remember using Battle for the Planet
of the Apes (the novelization) when my 12th grade English teacher required
oral interpretation of a novel.
Fourth grade was a year of revelations for me. I realized that if I painted
everything black I could get the child study team to come in and evaluate
me on a regular basis. Rorschach Tests were MUCH more interesting than copying
lists of spelling words. I also continued my crusade to become a G-Man just
like my boyhood hero, J. Edgar Hoover. If forced, I might have chosen to grow-up
as Evil Knievel, although there were more jobs for crime-fighters than daredevils.
There was a series of books in the school library that captured the imaginations
of my boyhood friends and me. I remember what the books looked like. Most
had red covers with black and white photos consuming the bottom half. The
author was C.B. Colby. Thanks to the World Wide Webs ability to archive
bizarre ideas and products Ive been able to track down a few of the
actual titles of these literary masterpieces.
And my personal favorite
Art and Science of Taking
to the Woods
I checked these books out of the library by the armload although Im not
sure I actually read them. The photos contributed to my world of fantasy play.
Being seen with the texts of Mssr. Colby was as important to gender identity
as were water pistols, cap guns, plastic guns that fired rubber pellets and
the Boy Scouts all military artifacts which I enjoyed as a child.
One can imagine the smell of C.B. Colby books being incinerated by schools
in the post-Columbine era. I dont own a gun, despise the stain on
American history left by J. Edgar Hoover, am a champion of civil rights
for all and have
shot very few people despite having read the violent manifestos of C.B.
Colby. I must have turned out alright because Marilyn Manson and the web
exist when I was a child. Or perhaps it was because I had adults around
who I could talk to?