Past, Present and Future


Hi everybody, I’m gonna take you a little bit back in time on this one. It was 1943…I was ten years old in the fourth grade at P.S.233. The P.S. Stands for Public School. It was located in East Flatbush, in the borough of Brooklyn. city of New York, in the state of New York.

You might have guessed by now, I like to get into the history, and origins of people and things. I’m like a personal leader of the study of roots. Mine, yours, and everybody elses. In those early days, my friends in the neighborhood were my favorites.
I began to learn early on, teachers aren’t immune from becoming a little short of patience with students like me. Many of them couldn’t curtail going over their tipping point. As a matter of fact, there were some of my elementary school teachers who actually didn’t like me at all. Hard to fathom anyone not liking da harv. I mean, give me a break, What’s not to like?
And even though this one particular teacher has to be long gone by now, I’m not going to mention his or her name in order to protect against any chance of them having any relatives who might still be alive and kicking some place.

It began with our fourth grade group of boys and girls. Our teacher was conducting a class referred to as “Beginning Science”.

Note: This isn’t for the purpose of me intending to brag. From the third grade on, all the teachers at P.S. 233 knew Harvey Kalmenson was gifted with an advanced vocabulary for a child of his age. My sister Ruth was older than me by six years. She was sixteen and I was ten. Ruth had graduated high school and was preparing to enter college. I didn’t know this at the time, we had a competition going on in our household. Ruthyhad to work hard to get her exceptional grades. Harvey on the other hand was very lackadaisical about everything other than baseball. It was rare for me to ever open a book to read. I teased my sister without mercy. She in turn got back at me by acting out her belief in her right to have a motherly influence on my life.

Well, there was a tell-tale incident at school. The topic of the day was announced by our teacher: “Today We’re going to learn about Past, Present, and Future.” Well, I immediately raised my hand while abruptly standing up. The kids began to giggle. They knew what was coming. Our teacher displaying a look of indignance said: “What now. I haven’t even started yet?”. I raised my voice and responded without hesitation: “What about now?” (I said). “Now is the present” was the teacher’s reply. “How come it keeps moving then?” I asked smugly. The teacher laughed and responded with: “What in the world are you talking about Harvey?”

This incident wasn’t caused by my sister Ruth’s inadvertent one upmanship activity of being herself a first class educator. Ruth had explained to me the science project she had personally worked on as a senior in high school. I, in turn, was challenging my teacher by telling my classmates there is really never a position where now is truly possible. You see, according to science our earth constantly turns on an imaginary line called its axis. The full turn takes twenty-four hours to complete. So unless you’re in a stationary position there can’t possibly be a now to deal with.

You know what? I have to admit the fact of the matter is easy enough to explain. I wasn’t a fun student to have in a classroom filled with nice normal ten year old pupils. Well during the course of my ensuing years as an educator and director I too have had a few incidents where I too experienced a desire to kick someone in their axis. But unfortunately the earth’s imaginary line trek had moved them from now to then. Ergo we the public have settled into the acceptable credo of now and then. In many ways what I said to that teacher when I was ten years old still applies.

In closing,have a nice day and try to stand still long enough to enjoy it. Scientifically speaking that is!

– Da Harv

P.S. Another of my teachers during the same time frame ran an experiment proving that “air is everywhere”. I challenged that one as well, when I again jumped to my feet and announced to the class: “Not when you suck it out of a straw while drinking”. And that’s my little gem for today.

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