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John Kespert
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John Kespert   My Press Releases

Tale of a Grade School Drop-out – Pt. 6

Published on 11/12/2015
For additional information  Click Here

Tale of a Grade School Drop-out – Pt. 6

    In part 1 of this series I told about how I "dropped-out" of First Grade after just two weeks because of polio. That was in middle of September 1955. I wasn't able to return home to stay until the beginning of October 1957.

    Coming back home was a big event for me, but something else happened about the same time that was a much bigger event for the whole world. October 4, 1957 was when the first man made satellite was successfully launched into orbit around the earth. It was done by the Soviet Union, which caused great concern for all of America and even other countries. It was the start of what became known as the Space Race.

    That first Soviet satellite was named Sputnik I. Americans became even more upset when just a month later the Soviets successfully lunched Sputnik II, which was an even bigger satellite and even carried a dog into orbit. I rememer how folks in the U.S. tried to downplay its importance by calling it “Muttnik.” But people were concerned. What would the Russians put into orbit next? Would it be actual people? Or would it be something else? Would it be...nuclear weapons? Everybody, even us kids, wanted America to catch up in this Space Race and move ahead of the Russians.

    Of course I was already interested in Outer Space. After all, my comic book hero, Superman, had come to Earth in a rocket ship from the planet Krypton. And I'd read all sorts of other comic books about rocket ships going to or coming from other planets. And I was a big fan of science fiction movies about trips to the Moon and other planets.

    Science became my favorite subject both in and out of school. My folks got a huge map of the Soloar System that I kept on my bedroom wall for many years.

    Astronomy was my favorite area of science, but I also enjoyed anything scientific. My folks gave me a microscope but were reluctant to give me a chemistry set. However, often grandparents will do things for their grandchildren that their own parents won't. So for Christmas my grandparents gave me a wonderful Gilbert chemistry set. I loved doing both the experiments that were listed in manual that came with the set, and also trying out other experiments that I would think up.


    I also read everything about science that I could get my hands on. I read science magazines and got science books out of the library. When I entered junior high in the 7th grade I used love to engage in conversations with my science teacher. By the 8th grade I discovered that sometimes I even had read something new that my teacher hadn't yet heard about, since she was mostly focused on what was in the text books we were using that had been written at least 2 or 3 years earlier. As you might imagine, I rather enjoyed telling my teacher something she didn't aleady know.

    I loved to read, whether it was comic books, or stories, or books, or magazines (especially those about science). I am so thankful to that volunteer in the hospital who got me started reading, and my parents who encouraged me with trips to the library and gifts of books they knew I would enjoy.

    If you can help the children in your life to develop a love for reading it can serve them well throughout their lives. I now do a lot of my reading on the computer and on my Kindle. It's cool to have a dozen or more books to read right on my hand held tablet.

    My favorite book today is the Bible and it's nice that I can read and study it without having to go through heavy study Bibles and exhaustive concordances and dictionaries. I can now even access extensive Bible study materials on free websites like

  Thank you for taking time to read this part of my "Tale of a Grade School Drop-out."  If you'd like to read previous intallments of this series, here are links to them:  Part. 1, Part 2Part 3Part 4 & Part 5.



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