My Life at Age Seventeen

I did not have the presence of mind to say, "Whom should I listen to, Mr. Sheridan? You, or the Nobel Prize Committee, who awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature to the author of this book?"

In my senior World Problems class at Blanchet High School, the nun teaching the class started the year with a deck of index cards in her hand, with which she would call on students one by one and ask them who various world figures were. Most of the kids had no idea. When my turn came, she could not stump me, so she made me walk up to the world map at the blackboard and she had me point one by one to the country of each world figure whose name she read out from an index card. We were in her class one Friday morning when the loudspeaker gave an announcement that President John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas TX USA. There was no school the next Monday.

A week later, I took the Scholastic Aptitude test (SAT) for applying to college. I got a high verbal score and a mediocre math score. We were allowed to take one additional test at the same time, so I took the Latin exam and scored 800, which was the highest possible score. I had some time left over, so I memorized some of the Latin poetry: "Invideo vobis, agri formosaque prata, quia mea nunc Lydia est vobis." When I quoted the Latin poetry to Dr. James R. Naiden, who taught Latin at the Lakeside School in Seattle, he was very pleased to find out what was on the Latin SAT test, and he made a note of it. In later years, "Doc" Naiden was instrumental in the genesis of Microsoft, because two kids in the Lakeside Middle School, Paul Allen and Bill Gates, were trying to get "time-share" on a computer network that cost money. Dr. Naiden petitioned the Lakeside Mothers Club to donate one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) from their annual rummage sale, to buying computer time for the kids in middle school. Dr. Naiden told me that Gates and Allen ran through the computer time in just a few months.

In the summer after graduation from high school, I got my first job as a Jolly Joe ice-cream man driving six days a week in a three-wheel Japanese Daihatsu ice-cream truck through the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle.

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