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(Friday 15-Jun-2001)


Mr. Amble was my favorite teacher, ever. And being 10 was such a great time for me.

I had a few roadblocks to a happy childhood -- wore glasses at a young age, stuttered (much as the College Park speech therapist tried to help, we never got anywhere), had to have coffee-milk with my lunch (the caffeine was prescribed by my neurologist)... but I had a functional family (before I even knew there were dysfunctional ones), my father even read "The Hobbit" to College Park students in the library, and I had a fine time in MGM (Mentally Gifted Minors, the precursor to "GATE", but we renamed it Mischievious Giggling Monsters) where I believe I met Lisa Dahill (*sigh*) and Steven Carlson.

I have two older sisters, four and six years ahead of me, and they went to Camp Fire camp, first as campers, then counselors-in-training and finally as counselors. They brought back silly songs and taught them to their two little brothers. Add that with the Dr. Demento show's early years on KMET, and the fact that when I was singing I wasn't stuttering, and ta-dahh -- naturally I'd sing songs such as the "red wagon song" that my classmates remember me by.

Ding ding ding ding ding here comes my wagon, my wagon
I hear the keeper calling me --
Ding ding ding ding ding here comes my wagon, my wagon
To take me back to the funny factory.
Of all the little nuts that fall
I'm a little cracked that's all
Ding ding ding ding ding here comes my wagon, my kiddy car, my bus.
Wheeeee!

The 5th graders were shuffled around for math, and I remember taking such a very long time to pass the multiplication table drill in Mr. Jacober's math class. Once I hit that mark, and got to move to the table where the other "smart kids" already had seats, my math career took off, ending up with calculus in 9th grade. I also remember his color code chart, with the resistor color code -- 0=black, 1=brown, 2=red, 3=orange, 4=yellow, 5=green, 6=blue, 7=purple, 8=grey, 9=white. And the summer after 5th grade is when I asked my father how it was possible for a computer to play the game of "Hangman," and together we worked out a program to play tic-tac-toe where the computer would make stupid mistakes, but never make the same mistake twice. (It was quite something, to beat the computer, game after game after game, until finally the computer didn't make any losing moves anymore and was unbeatable.)

I remember going to Minute King, the convenience store a few blocks from the school (at Fairview and Wilson), after school, and learning Origami at someone's house who lived in that part of the tract. (Sonya? Linda? a boy? I've forgotten so much...)

I remember Bill Rivea (sp?) who was convinced that he could tie a knot that nobody else could untie. He lost his bike that way, when he tied it up outside of Kmart... Bill and I were tagged "the geniuses" of our class. When I went to Buzz's retirement party, Birdie (I think) was trying to recognize my face and finally said "You're not Bill Rivea, you're the other one." I told her she was exactly right.

For me, 5th grade was the glorious beginning of the rest of my life.

Thank you, Buzz.

Charles Wilson Lewis Siegfried Robert Dodd Baden
aka Chaz Boston Baden
(5th Grade, 1973-1974)

Previous: Mr. Amble's Retirement Party (15-Jun-2001) Part 7Next: Mr. Amble's Retirement Party (15-Jun-2001) Part 9