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Mr. Arrington gave me this book.....

 
 
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2011 08:11 pm
This thread is prompted by a beautiful post by msolga and is dedicated to teachers of all sorts.

When I was in high school I was not a stellar student but I did have a few teachers who seemed to recognize that I wasn't lazy or stupid. I suppose one of those teachers was Mr. Arrington, my sociology teacher, but to be honest I still haven't figured out the riddle to why he gave me this book.

He did so quietly after class one day. I can't think of anything I did to deserve his attention.

The book is by Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas and it's titled "Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience".

It was written in 1968 and the topic is how we, as citizens of America, should question our government.

I've been out of high school for more than 30 years but I still have this book (even after my massive book purge).

Trying to unlock the mystery of why he'd given it to me I devoured it immediately and didn't give it much consideration. As I flip though it today I realize that it probably did have a major influence on my thoughts and my life, my ideas about citizenship and my sense of social justice.

I kind of like to think that Mr. Arrington kept hundreds of copies of this book in his desk and he slyly handed them out to every student hoping that they would read it and take it to heart.

I also like to think that he saw something in me that impelled him to give me, specifically me, the book.

Today I thought about writing to him but I doubt he remembers the incident and I'm not entirely sure which answer would please me more.

Who gave you a book that mattered?

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boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2011 09:43 pm
Really?

Only msolga and I have been lucky enough to receive a book that was meaningful for years after the gift was given?

We must be the two luckiest girls on Earth. We should start a club or something.
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msolga
 
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Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2011 10:16 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
Trying to unlock the mystery of why he'd given it to me I devoured it immediately and didn't give it much consideration. As I flip though it today I realize that it probably did have a major influence on my thoughts and my life, my ideas about citizenship and my sense of social justice.


Well me, as a teacher (and as a person Smile ), I doubt he would have given you that book without a very good reason, boomer.

I think he was responding to something he perceived in you at that time which you were ready & very eager to know more about.

Whether this book hit "the spot", or not, of what you were wondering about at the time, this book has had some lasting resilience with you.

But mostly, I respect your teacher's caring of what you made of things as a person asking questions.
There are a lot of teachers who would steer clear of such territory for pretty obvious political/personal concerns.

He wanted to tell you more.








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msolga
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2011 10:49 pm
@boomerang,
But back to your original question, boomerang:
Quote:
Who gave you a book that mattered?

Mostly I've found that book for myself, sometimes by sheer accident.
But when I've found that book, let me say I've devoured it!

Because I read pretty widely, I have usually suggested books to friends, when I think it applies to their particular circumstances.
"Wow, read this!" ... when I think it applies.

Most friends say "thank you".
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aidan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2011 10:52 pm
I can't remember anyone giving me a book for a gift except for my father - and his gifts to me, from the time I was tiny, were ALWAYS books.

The first I can remember him giving to and reading with me was an illustrated version of Just So stories- you know- how the elephant got his trunk, etc. He also gave me a copy of The Jungle Book. I must have loved animals when I was a kid.
He brought it home from one of his business trips - he always got each of us a present when he went on a trip- my sisters might get a blouse or a necklace or something, my brothers a truck or something, but for some reason I always got a book from him. At first I used to think, 'Hey - I want a pretty necklace too,' but later, him always giving me a book made me feel that we were connected in a way that was important to him..
I think he enjoyed being able to pick out a book for someone moreso than always having to pick out necklaces.

He was a devout Christian and gave me a copy of The Bible the Christmas I was twelve - it's inscribed to me by him.
He gave me the entire set of Little House on the Prairie books when I was about seven.
He gave me an entire set of Pearl S. Buck's works - including a first edition of 'The Good Earth' inscribed to Will Rogers and signed by Pearl Buck that he found. I still have the box that he put them in with his handwriting saying, 'For Rebecca'.
That box means more to me than just about any other possession I own.

When my parents downsized into a smaller place, he didn't have room for all his books and put them up for grabs. My nephew and I were the only ones who were interested. I felt guilty taking them, but nobody else expressed interest in them, so he gave me his complete collection of the 'classics' he'd collected over the years - everything from Jane Austen's complete works (which I really don't dig that much) to Steinbeck's and Norman Mail(l)?er's(which I do).

My Dad loved to read - and he more than anyone else - more than any teacher I ever had - instilled the love or reading and books in me, pretty much from the moment I could listen and understand language.
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