Nobody knew about
it at the time, but in the third grade I was in love with Mary Beth
Canavan; certainly she never knew. And it was ironic that we both became
finalists in the arithmetic contest.
I had done poorly in the first and second grades, but our third grade
teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, made arithmetic exciting. She lined up the whole
class at the blackboard and read off a long string of numbers to add
up. The last person to finish was eliminated and went back to their
seat. Anybody who made a mistake was also eliminated.
Finally, there were only the two of us left at the board. Another long
addition problem and a mirror finish between the two of us. Then a second,
even longer string of numbers and another mirror finish. Finally on
the third set, Mary Beth made a mistake. I still liked Mary Beth but
she wasnt a very good loser.
Well, there was an old-time family grocer in Sayre by the name of J.W.
Ivester, the type of person who helps make this world a nice place.
He trusted and respected Daddy as a friend. He let Daddy (and quite
a few others) run up grocery bills (Daddys was about $20 a month
for year after year). Daddy bought the bare minimum, nothing extravagant,
and of course eventually paid in full. J.W. Ivester saw our family through