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(We found no evidence of psychic ability.) The program was cut due to lack of funding, and by middle school I was back in the regular classes of roughly 25 students to a teacher.
I continued to accumulate A’s, cutting classes whenever I could, learning nothing.
One reason I became interested in architecture is that I remember being taken to an exhibition — I was only 6 or 7 years old, but I remember seeing models and things — of Frank Lloyd Wright’s plan for Baghdad.
I don’t now remember the name of the don assigned to conduct my first tutorial at Cambridge University in the autumn of 1956, but I remember the setting — late-afternoon fog, coals burning in an ancient grate, the don in academic gown seated behind a silver tea service.
When I was growing up, Saturday mornings meant one thing only to me: a trip to the Boston Museum of Science.
I loved science — still do — and there was nowhere else I’d rather be.
I’m with Borges in imagining Paradise as “a kind of library.” Where instead of angels there will be a corps of excellent librarians.
When I was 9 and 10 years old, there was a program in the New Jersey public schools for “gifted children.” Several afternoons a week, we would be excused from our regular classrooms and go to a separate room with a separate teacher, Mrs. One semester I wrote and directed a play, cast it, designed costumes, built sets and finally performed it for the whole school. Lachel and I joined a parapsychological society, then devised tests for telepathy and tested all the teachers and principals.He explained that in prewar Vienna he studied several subjects in depth as a graduate student — chiefly art and philosophy, as I recall — but each time stopped short of completing the final requirements because doing so would have decided his professional fate prematurely, given his many intense interests.(Hitler then prevented his receiving a doctorate in psychology, his ultimate field.) He told us to beware of committing to anything until we knew for sure what we wanted to be, but recommended that we set out to become dedicated ABD (all-but-degree) students of everything that excited our minds.The teachers who taught sciences in the school I went to when I was growing up in Baghdad were all from the university, and so the levels of the science courses were really incredible.
The headmistress, who was a nun, was very interested in the education of women, so in a way she was a kind of pioneer in that part of the world.
I remember her as a small woman, but what do I know? She’s in none of the official photographs I have from my elementary-school days, but in my memory, my first librarian is a gentlewhitewoman who wore glasses and was exceedingly kind to this new immigrant.