SAT scores – The only thing I remember about taking the Scholastic Aptitude Tests was that they started at 7:00 or 8:00 on a Saturday morning. I arrived ten minutes late but in time to start the tests, a bit nervous, a lot hung over and yet, after I settled down at the desk, I found I really didn’t give a shit. Other than those bits of sensory memory I recall that my compiled scores were 1373 out of 1600 with something like 767 out of 800 on the math section and 606 on the language/logic stuff. I took the advanced placement tests for Math and English and placed out on both, which meant that I already had 6 hours of college credit. I got a Certificate of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Program which ranked me among the top 2% of high school students in the country. Good enough to get into most colleges anywhere in the USA, but not quite making the cut as a National Merit Scholar.
There were over 500 kids in the 1967 senior class at Sam Rayburn, and only three students scored higher than me on the SAT’s: Alan Silverstein, Lily Chang and Jimmy Choate. Alan and Lily scored in the near perfect high 1590’s while Jimmy beat my score by 25 or 30 points. I needled him about that, complaining that I could have done better if he hadn’t kept me up drinking on Friday night leaving me with the hang over. He laughed and replied, “Hung over… hell I was still drunk!”
I paid extra to have my scores sent to the admissions departments at the Air Force Academy, Rice University in Houston, the University of Texas and just for chuckles, to Princeton. I thought it was cool that Albert Einstein spent the last twenty years of his life at their Institute for Advanced Study, and to my surprise, I was invited to apply at all four schools. My Congressman “Bob” Casey sweetened the pot when he sent me a letter offering my choice of an appointment to either the Air Force Academy or Annapolis.
Letter to the Editor – Chuck Fox lined us up in front of the trophy cases by the front office and we all posed for a picture holding our NMS certificates. It appeared next week on the front page the school newspaper along with an article about the latest rage in “Mod” fashion written by Sheila Allison and another girl. What caught my eye weren’t the miniskirts and granny glasses but two paragraphs buried on the back page about the conflicts between the mods and rockers in England. I could see Sheila’s hand at work in this commentary about these tribal subcultures.
Still under the spell of Ayn Rand, I wrote a Letter to the Editor expressing my disdain for the lame nihilism of both tribes and espousing Objectivism as the best path to freedom from social conformity. Next Tuesday somebody, I suspect it was Sheila, persuaded the Ed-i-Tor to print it in the left column on the front page above the fold. By noon the entire school was abuzz with the pros and cons of my letter. Over twenty kids stopped me in the hall to ask me what this Objectivism was all about.
I don’t remember the specifics, it was probably our turn to host a speech tournament, but on a cold night I was in a dark empty classroom on the second floor smoking a cigarette with the window open, when Sheila Allison walked in and bummed a smoke. It was the last time I spoke with her at school. She was graduating at mid term, off to UT Austin, and we talked about how glad we’d be to get out into the world and away from all the stupid crap that went down at Sam Rayburn. I was still attached to Sandy, so it never occurred to me to make a move on Sheila, but after she finished her second smoke and flipped the butt out the window, she squeezed my hand and said, “If you decide to go to UT, I guess I’ll see you in Austin.”
If I’d paid any attention to Bogart and Bacall, I might have figured out what was going on but I was still a thick headed virgin and never sure about what any woman expected or wanted. "C'est la vie"
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