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Just a little trip down memory lane as we discover the roots of the mighty Bo Jack, and trace his growth as an author/storyteller. Enjoy...
The Jagged Edges of Bojacks Twisted Mind
Bo Jack Russo on Jan 26, 2009
Just a little history lesson about my life and the pleasure of reading and gaining knowledge.
I am full of useless information. As I’ve shared before, my childhood was not the best, but there were moments of bliss, but you’ll be surprised at where I got the most enjoyment. In 1973, we moved from San Diego to a nearby little town called La Mesa. Now we were a religious practicing Catholic family. We all went to the same school, but my parents got divorced and my life became a living hell. But I discovered an escape. Now education was different at that time, something’s better, some things worse. I don’t really know how to say this without sounding a little arrogant, so I’m just going to throw it out there. Every one in my family was pretty smart. When I went to public school, I was easily 3 grades further along than the other second graders.
More on that in a moment. I want to share this part before going any further. When we moved into the house, the other family was still moving the last few things out, but they had a few things left in the garage. They asked my dad if they could keep it there for a little while. Well, dad being dad, he struck up a nice little bargain, He said no problem, but in exchange, they had to leave a set of encyclopedias behind. The other guy laughed and was cool with it. These would become my best friends and advocates.
Now, back to the school thing, we got weekly scholastic books to read, and I was just zipping through them, we had a chart on the wall with stars for each book read. I wasn’t trying to show off, I was just reading faster than the other kids.
Within a couple of weeks, I was 1 on the list, so the teacher gave me a couple of books that were at a supposed higher level of comprehension, for older students, and she set me apart from the other children like I was bad or something. I was sent to the principals office because the girl who I had overtaken for the most books read threw a book at me, so in return, I spit in her hair. Hey, we were kids.
So the next day the teacher said here, read this, and handed me a dictionary. I gladly started reading it and was hooked. She hated me, I don’t know why, but I thought that was the coolest book in the world. While not exactly the collegiate level, it was great fun for me. So I asked mom if we had one. She told me to go to the bookcase and look. So there it was, the Webster’s colligate version dictionary.
I was reading and learning all kinds of great words and the kids at school started asking if I learned any good words the day before, and I was always willing to share my newfound knowledge.
Well one day I asked mom what an encyclopedia was.
This is the coolest thing my mother ever did for me. She said,” I know you are the smartest in your class and I know you’ve been reading the dictionary, Just grab one and start reading.
The mind of the little Bo Jack was off and running. I absolutely loved to read, and the encyclopedias were fascinating. I would read cover to cover, sometimes for hours on end.
I learned about the constitution, about presidents and their lives, I was reading about volcanoes and outer space and people and places.
I loved those books. Now keep in mind, This was the Collier’s Encyclopedia 1968 version, so I didn’t know about man on the moon and stuff like that, but this was how I found out about Vietnam, and I started watching the news, and Walter Cronkite’s daily Vietnam reports.
I was a very very shy boy, but my teachers liked to ask what I read about the day before. In junior high, I was having political discussions with my teachers.
My mom had to buy me a watch because when I discovered the public library, I would just sit there and read for hours and lose track of time.
Sadly the home life was getting worse and worse and worse, so I stayed away as long as I could, but would get even more beatings if I was at home. I chose the books over that torture whenever I could.
Another book I read a lot was the good book, The Bible. It was a comfort to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint, but I loved the psalms and proverbs.
Another book I loved to death was called “The Way Things Work”, it was a fascinating book where I learned about the inner working of the internal combustion engine, How a carburetor and electricity worked, What makes a vacuum work and things like that.
Here’s the problem…. I don’t drink beer anymore, but over the years, I drank an oceans worth of it, and some of the memories have slipped away into evanescence. But on occasion, Something will jog my mind and I’ll remember something like George Washington’s shoe size or that Davey Crocket had political ambitions in Tennessee, or the fact that the blue whale is the largest creature in the water or the eruption in ancient Pompeii or the legends of the Greek Gods.
Just for fun, I’ll add another tidbit, twice I was entered in the national spelling bee, but got so nervous in front of everybody on the stage, I mumbled the spelling and was knocked out in the first round.
No wasn’t that a fun story?
Don’t be surprised with anything the Bo Jackster says..All the useless information and I never learned anything about computers. Often, an annoying habit of mine that I can’t help is I have to correct people with inaccurate information. I just can’t help it. I know people hate it, but I can’t stop doing it. I never learned to type either, that’s why I can’t read as much as I’d like, because it takes me a long time to produce a story.
If anyone read this story to the end, you have more patience than I do. I still have one of those 6 inch thick versions of Webster’s Dictionary, and I have almost forgotten punctuation, that’s why I do everything in the word processor.
Remember folks, up until two months and a few days ago, all I knew how to do on a computer was send and read emails and read the news and Google stuff.
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