That just might be the best piece of feedback I've ever received, and I've gotten a lot of feedback in my lifetime. Those words were written on the back of my 8th grade English report card by Betty Jean Hyde, a teacher at Callanan Junior High in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1967. Back then, each teacher filled out a grade card for each student in his/her class, then each students cards were put in an envelope and sent home for a parent to sign and return. At the end of the school year, you were given all your grade cards from all your classes in an envelope to take home for your parents to review. I'm not sure if I gave my cards in 1967 to my parents to read or not, but I kept them. They had 8 children and things like this slipped through the cracks all the time, believe me. I stuck them away in a box of my personal stuff and toted them with me from town to town as I trudged the road of happy destiny for nearly 23 years.
Sometime around 1990, this particular report card and this specific piece of feedback began to take on new and significant meaning. Before I tell you that part of the story, let's take a closer look at this report card.
The front of the report card is signed by my mother who signed her name as "Mrs. Donald Kingkade". Back then, it was common for a married woman to sign her name using her husbands first name, rather than her own first name. I point this out not just because this is no longer a common custom, but because "Mrs. Donald" was soon to become an early adopter of the "women's lib" movement as it was referred to at that time. She would go on to reject Mother's Day and claimed that it was a vast conspiracy engineered by men to keep women in their place.
|Front side of 8th Grade English Report Card|