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Chapter XIV - My Youngest Learners

The war in Europe was intensifying and America was aiding the weaker nations within the international laws. The president was still assuring the nation that we were not going to enter the war but the feeling persisted that eventually we would be drawn in.

Tony decided to venture out on his own by contracting his own work with Nicky as a partner.

When Marie went to school I soon found out that she had a special talent. Her little papers that she brought home for me to see gave me the insight that she had something special. Her papers, at that young age, showed that she had an artistic tendency. The very first paper she handed me was a fingerprint of her hands and it was amazing the way every line and bone was delineated. There was a place on the wall where I would display my children's well-done work. Before starting school Marie would cut pictures from magazines and make a collection of puppies. One day she gave me a picture of a flower painted on glass. It was very delicately done.

Her scholarship was very outstanding. I was proud and pleased when I went to school to register for ration stamps. The teachers were registering the people for their quotas of stamps according to the size of the family. The teachers praised Richard and Marie for their behavior and scholarship.

There was the time when parents were invited to attend night class to observe their children at work. When I went I did not know what to expect so I sat on one of the back seats hoping that I would not be noticed. I was still conscious of my foreign accent.

The teacher started to explain her method of teaching and I was appalled when she pointed out that the children were divided into two groups - the bright and the slow. Then she proceeded to demonstrate the method by forming two groups. My son Richard was in the advanced group, but a little girl who lived on our street was with the slow group. I liked that little girl who played with Richard and Marie, as she was a very sweet child. Her aunt had come to the night class because her mother was dead. The teacher called on the slow group first explaining that their spelling words were easier than the advanced group. Then she gave the advanced group difficult words to demonstrate their ability. My son failed on the word curtains. I thought that word was too difficult for a second grade child. Afterwards the teacher showed some of the children's work. I thought it was not necessary to expose the mothers of the slow children to an unnecessary embarrassment.

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