John Greenwalt was the smartest boy in my class. I knew this because he wore plaid shirts and glasses. It was said he came to wear glasses from sitting inches away from the television set while sitting on the floor in front of it. This I personally knew to be true from having seem him do this myself in sixth grade. The gamma rays from staring at the test pattern was something to be avoided at all costs unless you wanted to end up like John Greenwalt.
John Greenwalt was someone to ignore because he seemed to be a short adult who somehow never graduated. In my heart of hearts I ignored him because I knew him too well as myself. Shy and studious, overly conscientious, polite and solicitous to adults. Unpopular, unattractive, class clod without the glasses.
Spring sunshine, blossoms on the sidewalk, preparations for the annual Strawberry Festival. A special visitor would be coming to speak at our school, a Miss America contestant. A real Beauty Queen, a real celebrity, John Greenwalt's sister! I will never forget the thrill of this day. Janet was the first beautiful girl I had ever seen in person. Her every word and movement memorized, adolescent prayers at night, hoped for confidence by morning's alarm.
John Greenwalt, plaid shirt and glasses, Class President, most likely to succeed. The day I was told I would need glasses was the moment I became the smartest girl in my class. It was the day a real Beauty Queen came to my school and planted the thought that beauty might be just around the corner, but intelligence was something I already possessed.
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