3096. When I was thirteen I was in the seventh grade, in a certain sort of a town. It was one of those towns where you knew everyone in your neighborhood, but no one in any other neighborhood, of which there were many. In my class there were about thirty boys and girls and we had all been together for seven years. Perhaps one or two of my classmates had moved, and one or two had replaced them, but essentially we were like brothers and sisters.
One day there was a most unusual event, a new boy arrived, his name was
Jason, Jason Sweet. From the moment he entered our room one could see
that he was strikingly different from the rest of us. His uniqueness
announced itself by two things, his clothing, and his hair. He wore
ill-fitting second-hand clothes and his hair was matted and uncombed and
stuck out in small tuffs at odd angles.
Our long-suffering teacher was talking to him as he came into the room
but, as if he was deaf or hard of hearing, he didn’t seem to hear her.
Around our classroom was a chalk tray, and, in it were a lot of books
lined up. When we would have reading hour on Thursday afternoon, we
would chose a book from the tray and read it for an hour at one’s
desk. Jason picked up one of the books and started to look through it.
3099. It was just an unlucky chance, that he picked up the book that he did, the favorite book of the boys in the class. On the cover it said, History of The United States; a big dark blue book with a picture of an eagle and the Flag on the cover. But no teacher had looked closely at that book or it would not have been among the books in the chalk tray. The title was actually, A Cultural History of the United States.