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Facing challenges

3 Sep

Scan 3

I started kindergarten in the Fall of 1969. I was 4 and wouldn’t turn 5 until December. I remember being excited but around me people were worried. I was very shy and, apparently, the plan was to let me start and see how things went. If they went well, I’d stay. If they went poorly, I would get another year at home to mature.

Fortunately, I loved Miss Belyea, my teacher, and I loved school. I might have been emotionally immature, but I was ready to learn, so, I got to stay.  School was sort of my comfort zone. I felt confident in the structure, surrounded by people I knew and the work came to me easily. I still have my kindergarten report card and I get a little teary when I read Miss Belyea’s  end of the year comments:

” Adrienne has developed from a very quiet, insecure child to the most perfect little student…..I have enjoyed watching Adrienne blossom into a lovely little rose.”


For Vince, the main character in Paperboy by Vince Vawter, things aren’t quite as easy because he stutters.


Eleven year old Vince is an excellent pitcher and has a close friend he calls Rat. When Rat goes away for the summer, he asks Vince to take over his paper route. Vince agrees, but reluctantly. He was OK with delivering the paper, it was the collection, where he’d have to talk to customers, that worried him. As the summer passes, Vince faces this challenge, along with others, and, like I did with Miss Belyea, blossoms.

The story is set in Memphis in 1959. Although it is not a story about civil rights, themes appear, as Vince contemplates the world around him as an 11 year old might. Not really understanding the adult world, but wanting to, even when it is ugly.

This is a quiet novel that is well worth the read. It might also be a Newbery contender.

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