The Early Years: Jim Isn’t A Jock

It’s been quite a while since I reached into the huge stack of ancient school reports, assignments, “artwork”, etc., that I received from my parents a few years ago when they were cleaning out some rooms in the house, so I thought I would do so now. This time I pulled out a report card “progress report” from thirty-five years ago.


Well that mostly looks pretty good. But let’s take a closer look in the corner.


Somehow I even got a good grade (and an award?!) in Art, even though it’s well known that Jim Can’t Draw; presumably nobody really expects much in the way of artistic ability from an elementary school kid. Well, you know, unless you happen to be the outlandishly talented fifth-grader and Doctor Who fan in my wife’s old classroom who brought in a bobblehead one day and sketched it upon request so that my wife could bring it home and see if I recognized it.


Enjoy the Silence

So, yeah, if I got an A- (and an award?!) in Art, this kid (a fifth grader!!!) obviously deserved an A++++++ and a contract to draw comic books.


I somehow also got an A+ there in Music for playing the clarinet, despite my playing’s frequently being compared to a chicken squawking*, and despite the fact that when I would practice at home our dog, Miss Marple, would park herself in front of me and howl until I was finished.


I’ll stop howling when you stop squawking.

Sadly we did not have YouTube back then, so Missy and I missed our chance to become an Internet sensation of the Epic Music Fail variety. Anyway, most likely, this grade was just for showing up.

And, finally, there we go — a C in Physical Education. Which if I remember correctly, in elementary school, mostly involved dodgeball, kickball, and climbing ropes that hung from the ceiling. And possibly some falling down. I don’t really remember.


BTW, looking at that report card progress report, it occurred to me that I didn’t know who Nicholas A. Walbran was. My guess would have been that he was a Revolutionary War figure (Oriskany was big in the Revolutionary War) but according to the Internet he was a member of the Board of Education, according to this snippet from a 1938 article in the local paper.


I guess that since he got a school named after him, he must have done all right in the position …

* I eventually got put on the bass clarinet, and things worked out better after that.


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