D Minus

by | Jun 9, 1998 | Compassion

I remember my Landon Junior High School seventh grade math teacher’s name very well. It was “Mr. Young” and he stood out because the kids use to make fun of him because he was missing one of his fingers and always pointed at students with his middle finger.

I was not very good in school anyway and English and Math were my worst two subjects. There was just something wrong with me, inside my head and no matter how hard I tried I just could not figure out why I could not understand what all the other kids found so easy to learn. I don’t think that there was ever a day that I went to school that I was not afraid and scared.

One day I was told by Mrs. Winters, the head matron of the Children’s Home Society Orphanage that if I got one more “E” on my report card that I would be taken to the Juvenile Court in down town Jacksonville, Florida and that she would tell the judge to send me away to the big prison for kids.

I tried real hard for weeks and weeks to learn how to multiply and do fractions and compound things. But I just couldn’t understand how to make different parts of numbers into whole things. I really tried too, but my brain just couldn’t do it no matter how hard I tried.

The day before report cards were to come out I knew that Mr. Young would give me an “E” grade just like he always did, because no matter how hard I tried I just could not understand anything that he talked about in math class.

After class ended I went up to Mr. Young and I told him that the orphanage was going to send me to the big prison if I got another “E” grade on my report card. He told me that there was nothing that he could do because that would be unfair to all the other kids if he gave me a better grade than I had actually earned.

I smiled at him, turned and walked towards the door and then I stopped. I turned around, looked at Mr. Young and I said “Mr. Young you know how all the kids make fun of you because your missing your finger?” He just looked at me, moved his mouth to one side like he was biting the inside of his gum and he did not say a word. “They shouldn’t do that to you because you can’t help not having a finger Mr. Young. Just like I can’t help not being able to learn numbers and stuff like that”, I said. He said not a word as he looked down at his desk and began grading papers.

The next day when I got my report card I tucked it into my school book and on the school bus I opened the report card envelope and I looked at my grades which read: Geography “B+”, Mechanical Drawing “C-“, English “D-“, History “C-“, Gym “B+”, Art “C”, Math “D-“.

That “D-” math grade was the most favorite grade that I ever received in my whole entire life. Not because I didn’t get sent to the big prison for kids. It was because I knew that someone in the world finally understood what it was like for me to be missing a finger inside my head.

Roger Dean Kiser, Sr. Trampolineone@webtv.net


Roger Dean Kiser Sr. And his wife Judy have been married for five years and live in Brunswick, Georgia. They have four cocker spaniels (Lady, Prozac, Precious and Little Bit), a large chow named Cody, as well as Roger’s aquarium with fifteen tiger barbs. Roger loves to fish (catch and release) on his small fishing boat but rarely went out the last year or so as he spent most of his time working on his book “ORPHAN”, which hit bookstores in December, as well as working on child abuse issues, about ten to fifteen hours a day.


D Minus