Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yellow No. 2 Lead Pencil

Yellow Number 2 lead pencils have died but the memories are great.  I remember in the second grade Jon Tanny was pestering me and tried to grab something off my desk and I stabbed him with a Yellow Number 2 Lead pencil.  He really did not bleed much or any that I recall and he never screamed because he was tough and never a cry baby.  He never told on me and the lead in the pencil broke off and was permanently in his hand until sometime many years later the doctor cut him open and took it out.  True grit was Jon Tanny.  This reminds me of our changing culture and how psychologists have changed the American way.

Let me explain.  In the "good old days"  when you pestered someone or aggravated someone and you got retaliated on YOU knew you deserved it but today it would have been assault with a deadly weapon / yellow number 2 pencil and common sense would not abound and Jon Tanny would have bee the victim.  We have used psychology to replace responsibility and consequences for bad choices and bad actions.  Oh well!

Number 2, Yellow Number 2 lead pencil story:  When in about the 6th grade you got to move to the big end of the Grainola School which means you got to sit where the Big Kids go.  That also means several other nice things like larger chairs (I always had to sit in them starting in the first grade and that is one of my old stories.  Go read it.), Mr Lewis Morris was our teacher and the library was in our classroom.  A little description would help right here.  The library was a very tall set of shelves the entire side of the south end of the room with a large counter dividing it from the class room.  The library had a tall rolling ladder which was quit fun to climb and then someone would push you back and forth.  You might say it was a toy for us.  I think Jim Heath read every book in that library at least twice each.  All the books had black, brown or dark red covers and were thick. I bet those books would be worth some money today.  OK, the great thing was on occasion someone would slip away and hide behind the counter to create a buzz for the teacher, Mr. Morris.  He was also the principal before he moved to Shidler as a principal.  He really was a great teacher of math and science and one of my favorites.  However I have to admit we made fun of his very long and slim nose of which Johnny Payne aka. The One Arm Bandit (go check out his website) renamed "The Beak".  Mr. Morris was very smart and a motivating teacher.

I get so excited telling you the details that I get lost in my own story so back to the pencil.  Hugh Allen Jones or Hugh Allen as we call him, was not always the greatest student and it was not because he was not smart but probably had a little ADD, developed a new tool of mass destruction - The Yellow Number 2 Lead Pencil.  Hugh Allen created a projectile utilizing a taught rubber band loaded with a, you got it, Yellow No. 2 Lead Pencil.  He taught us how to aim and fire it and no one got their eyes shot out or got impelled.  Now that I think about it this is what probably motivated him to become a US Marine. Did I mention his dad was a highly decorated soldier in WW II and fought on the invasion of Iowa Jima?  Hero!  Back to the subject.  Ultimately we found many targets like the books in the library and in particular the top shelf but my favorite was the tall ceilings, estimated to about 14 foot.  You could sit at your desk and when Mr. Morris would not be watching a Yellow No. 2 Lead Pencil would take off from a desk and puncture the tile ceiling and many times stick there.  Actually they were there for months and years.  Occasionally one would fall but again no one was ever injured.

The last thing I would like to share about those Yellow No. 2 Lead Pencils is that it was a badge of honor how you could sharpen them down to so short it could hardly be held in your hand.  Hugh Allen usually won that contest as well but he could also write extremely legible with a short pencil and when I say short I mean about and inch long.  I don't know of any value to this talent but he could also write extremely small and still be legible.  I guess you could summarize by saying that Hugh Allen Jones's legacy was the Yellow No. 2 Lead Pencil.  Although I could mention chasing the apple truck and gathering an apple against the will of the apple salesman or I could mention his toughness from playing alligators (another earlier story).

Oh well, Thanks for putting up with me.

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • How to be a Marine
  • Missile technology
  • Trouble avoidance
  • Accepting responsibility for  your actions and not making excuses
Thanks for your time,
gary@thepioneerman.com





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