Have You Ever Wondered
If What Your Teachers Said About You
Do you have any evidence? Are you one of those geniuses who didn’t need to worry about the evidence that came home from your teacher?
I was a genius all right, a genius when it came to hiding evidence. At least, I thought I hid it. I was in my sixties and wrote my first book before my mom handed me The Envelope. There it was in red white black and blue . . . The Truth that I thought was gone forever came back to haunt me.
Only 29 years after the Bath School Disaster—the deadliest mass school murder in US history. I entered Bath Elementary School.
Was I nervous? I didn’t know I was supposed to be nervous. And I don’t have any records from my first three years in school either, but I imagine that my teachers were happy I made it out alive.
We moved to Lansing—the capitol of Michigan—after that.
The first written record out of The Envelope was from my third grade teacher, M. Wellman:
Kenneth could do better if he tried. He does average third grade work. He does not always work up to his ability.
Okay, I have to go along with that one. The next record was from my favorite teacher, my fifth grade teacher, M. Russell:
Kenneth is a very likable boy. He has clever ideas about many things. I do wish he would not bring so many little toys to school to ‘fuss’ with. They distract him as well as others. I do not feel he works up to his ability. He can do good work when he really tries. Some days he is a wonderful citizen, and then there are the other kinds of days, when he talks a lot and fools around. He is an interesting boy and has good ideas.
Okay, okay, so I like to ‘fuss’ with little toys and fool around. Is that a bad thing? I guess it was, because from the fifth grade M. Russell transferred me to a sixth grade Gestapo camp under the command of Warden F. Teddy:
Kenneth is not working up to the best of his ability. He is careless and indifferent to constructive criticism. He wastes time and annoys others. He does not pay attention. He daydreams. Kenneth must work on spelling and be a more careful speller in all written work. He is an individual who shows much independent thinking and originality. Better attention is desired during class.
Released on probation, I was ready to get out of elementary prison. Little did I know what lay ahead. Toward the end of my junior high experience a counselor, R. Douse, summed it up:
You have a healthy, high average to bright normal intellectual functioning development, but you have very limited creative talent. Your literary interest indicates little enthusiasm. In reality you are a very timid, frightened little boy. In starting your new venture in high school, I hope you can turn over a new leaf.
I was crushed.
After being ‘Douse-d’ in junior high,
I was ready for anything, right?
The smartest thing I ever did was marry my lovely wife, Marilyn, after high school. In the picture below you can see a snapshot of her from when we visited the Pictured Rocks along the shores of Lake Superior. You can see that she was happy when I told her I was tired of climbing up and down the rocky trails and suggested that we go back to town and get something to eat.
Eternally grateful for her support when I decided to leave construction and go to college, I offered to reward her by taking her anywhere she wanted to go after I graduated. Pictured Rocks again? Niagara Falls maybe? We couldn’t afford a honeymoon when we got married, and I wanted to make up for it.
She decided she wanted to go to Texas.
“Okay,” I replied. “Half of our family all ready lives there anyway. And Texas has something I really want, something Michigan doesn’t have—SUNSHINE.” Since then we spend our winters in San Antonio. . .
Yes! I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. After I graduated from Michigan State University with honors we became . . .
This new lifestyle led to my fascination with Texas history and inspired the BLACK DRESS TRILOGY.
After I wrote the Trilogy I imagined myself as a general fiction writer with a Christian bias. Then I wrote
Father’s Day: A Glimpse of Heaven
And I realized I was destined to be a mainstream Christian fiction writer. From a small readership I went to a micro-readership, but that’s okay. I believe this is what I’m supposed to do. My wife and I have a strong Christian faith. We belong to churches in Texas and Michigan, and I’m involved with a local Rescue Mission that helps disadvantaged men, women and children. My passion is Christ, my hobby is writing, and my desire is to help the poor.
Art is a hobby I don’t seem to have time for anymore.
Oil painting, watercolor, pastels, charcoal, pencil, and sculpture were all my favorites. Above you can see a table setting I painted. Friends have suggested that I should sell my work and earn a living as an artist.
So, I decided that when I grow up I want to be a starving artist. I’ll bet that would make my junior high counselor proud of me.
I never grew up.
I haven’t painted anything for years, but I’ve done a lot of writing, and it’s infinitely more challenging than paint. A vivid word-picture can leave an impression that oils cannot.