I went to a little country grade school in a suburb of Portland Oregon, Pleasant Valley, for grades 1 – 8 and enjoyed almost all of it. I wasn’t the smartest kid in school; that was my friend Gail, but I did pretty well with mostly “A’s” except in penmanship and PE. Back then they had no problem ranking students based on their grades. I will never forget the paper “grade” train that hung on the wall in my first grade classroom. We were assigned a train car based on our grades on different projects; the better you did; the closer to the engine you moved. No one wanted to be the caboose. All of us moved from car to car except Gail… she was ALWAYS the engineer, and try as we might, no one could get the consistently perfect scores Gail did. It seemed she was a math wizard, could spell anything in the dictionary, was Swedish, had long blond braids, and was as nice as she was pretty and smart. Don’t forget, this was first grade and already Gail was reading and doing math. All of us knew that super smart kid growing up but the rest of us mortals had to work hard and put in serious effort to move up.
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