Inflicted Deception……..#51 (the 50’s)

Mr. Larry Darling - Drama & English

Mr. Larry Darling – Drama & English

     “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” .    Sir Walter Scott  assertiveness  didn’t have high school work in mind when he penned the famous quote.  Gary’s circumstance wasn’t drafted as a plot to  deceive, but more of a happenstance,  because deception is planned and calculated,  so thought the fifteen year old Castlemont High student.   A convenience was a more descriptive designation of why this had transpired.   With high school studies,  assigned home work,  the pursuit of employment,  a growing list of priorities confronted him,  Gary realizing  it was time to organize his activities.
     Mr. Darling’s english class besides being  his first period and home room  was unlike any class the young man had yet experience.   Mr.  Darling was also Castlemonts drama  instructor,  his classroom being a stage and the students all having walk on parts.   The Instructor was very demonstrative in class subject matter and   presentations, finding the same small elite group of students participating in class discussion and response,  Gary having a suspicion, they were all auditioning for future  parts.   The English assignments were  brief,   involving  little or no homework,  the Teen attributing  the assignment leniency to Mr. Darlings overwhelming commitment to the drama department.  Gary’s optimism concerning Mr. Darlings class was not underestimated,  it was more of a drama class,  with readings of literature rather than productive english grammar instruction,  all to the delight of the students.

10th grade required reading..

10th grade required reading..

    The second semester of english discovering Mrs. Petray  class a totally different portrayal of studies.  Gary having noted from his older friends Hank and Don about the reputable Mrs.  Petray  and this very thick,  boring,   literature novel  assigned as required reading and discussion for her class.   When  handed the book,  Gary was astonished at the title,  A Tale  Of  Two Cities by  Charles Dickens, the  classic that frequented Mrs. Funnells bookcase in his 9th grade junior high Latin Class.   Gary, during latin studies having taken the liberty to borrow and read   “Two Cities” and “David Copperfield” , which also was found occupying the  bookcase next to his desk  during that final semester of latin.   Mrs. Petray was disciplined about the reading of literature,  every student  required to list  books read,  submitting at lease two book reports for each report card period from the list.  Gary being  an avid reader,  the teen concluding that  the english class requirement would not present a problem,  but soon discovering  other high school studies occupying most of his free time,  including that dedicated to reading.

Main Public Library on 14th St. in Oakland

Main Public Library on 14th St. in Oakland

     The Youth was normally  punctual with  his homework assignments,  but on an occasion overlooking an assignment due date, discovering he  failed to read and write a book report for Mrs. Petray’s class which was due in the morning.   This was not the first time that he would call upon innovation to prevail, tendering a  synopsis of a novel  to the tenth grade english teacher on the due date for grading.   It was  the following week when Mrs. Petray approached Gary, addressing him about scheduling a conference.   The day arriving, Gary entering the vacant English Class  trying to conceal a look of consternation as he approached,  but it was futile.   He could discern from her expression,  his well disguised work of convenience was finally exposed.   She was subtle,  complimenting him on his well written book reports and then the subject turned detrimental.    She revealed,  after grading the students book reports,  she sometimes found interest in a  novel to read,  but discovering the book Gary had written about was not to be found,  adding that even with  continued research,   to the point of  inquiring  at Oakland’s Main Downtown Library was to no avail.   She confirmed what Gary suspected,  having discovered, some of his book reports  were factious.   Gary’s literary reporting was always very inclusive listing the   publisher,  copyright and revision dates,  author,  but there was a truism, the  arresting storylines  always regarded something the aspiring author desired to pen  in the future.   Mrs Petray admonition  was  stern,  but a commiseration  filtered through,  complimenting on his captive pretense,  but giving no quarter to his endeavor.
     The Teen was not consumed by the discovery,  discerning this would be his final high school english class,  an enrollment in an alternative  journalism class and the school newspaper where a belletristic talent would be welcomed.    Gary reasoned,  Sir Walter Scott was correct, deception can be self inflicting.


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