Junior High School

It existed for a while in our educational system. A bad idea — putting ninth graders at the top of a school with seventh graders. Ninth graders need to be at the bottom, as in regular high school. Alton was one such ninth grader I had to supervise during lunch in the Sixties. Those were the days of food fights, when supervising teachers had to avoid getting hit with lemon meringue.

Alton didn’t like my insistence on good behavior. One day he came up to me and threw a punch. He was aiming for my central chest, and had to reach up, for at 6’3″ I towered well above him. Then he ran. I let it go.

I knew his braggadocio ways, his Trump-like remarks. A month later a food fight was simmering in the cafeteria again. Suddenly I stood still. Alton was shouting at a bunch of kids with doughnuts in their hands, ready to throw. He sounded threatening, and the kids put their doughnuts away. I watched unbelieving; Alton had rounded a corner in his young life.

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