Back to School

This week brought Nate’s return to SUNY-Cobleskill. He’s set to graduate at the end of the semester, words I never thought I’d write, or say, or even think.

While getting the newspapers and bottles together for a trip to the dump, I came across last fall’s schoolwork amongst last weeks recyclables. Elise had helped Nate clean out his backpack in preparation for the term. I rescued a bunch of worthwhile tests and projects.

Nate has always had a problem writing essays. It takes a lot of recall (which he has) and devoted logical thought (which he has less of). I’ve always taught him to write as many facts down as he can remember, and always have a good opening and closing paragraph. His best efforts are weak. His worst are inadvertently comical.

Here’s a sentence from an essay on 1960’s social movements:

College students fought for women’s segregation rather than equal rights.

Poor boy. He had his facts in his head but they came out like a turn at Boggle, a hodgepodge mix-up of words. His professor had nothing to add other than a “?” in red and, also in red, “very confusing” at the end. That’s life with Nate.

I’ve mentioned Nate-speak before. It’s the way Nate garbles language, yet, if you know him, you get what he means. Here’s the concluding sentence from an essay on the fight for women’s rights in the early 20th century:

Also, by 1900, women got 20% of their income, and it was increased to 50% by 1920.

To me, it’s obvious what he means, that, in 1900, women were paid 20% of what men made, and, twenty years later, they were paid 50% for equal work. That’s what he means. Whether that’s correct, I don’t know, but he did get those facts down.

Needles to say, Nate got a D in history, though, with a few months left in his college career, Nate’s cumulative GPA is 2.71. Not too bad.

Next post, a few excerpts from his Children’s Lit course work. He did well in that one.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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