a sixty-one year old man travels 50 years
into the past to stop the tragic death of his sister, he must decide
not it is wise to alter the past.
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When I showed up on that first
day, clad in
typically rural garb of bibbed overalls and a flannel shirt with rolled
up sleeves, I – like Hester and Pearl Prynne approaching the scaffold –
became an immediate bull’s-eye for a double barrel blast of ridicule.
Fellow students pointed and giggled, while teachers in three-piece
suits and narrow ties shook their heads, as if to say, “Oh, Lord! What
have we here?” And while it’s unarguably true that six years of country
school – there was no kindergarten – taught me the basics of the three
R’s, “Readin’, ‘Ritin’, and ‘Rithmetic,” I was grossly unprepared for
the rigors of the metropolitan curriculum, struggling, for example,
with the insane mixture of numbers and letters called “algebra.”
I eventually adjusted to city schools and even
to like them. However, in the early months of the breakneck transition
from hayseed to city slicker, as I sometimes wept in the quiet darkness
of my bed, I longed with great nostalgia to return to the idyllic days
at Pioneer District Country School #44, where one could implement
Thoreau’s advice to “simplify, simplify, simplify,” without even
knowing that one was doing so.
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