By Allan H. Spear
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Extra info for Crossing the Barriers: The Autobiography of Allan H. Spear
A few weeks later, the news was better. Hitler died and the Germans surrendered. And in August, the war with Japan was over. We went downtown to celebrate V-J Day. The sidewalks were packed with people singing and cheering and throwing confetti into the air. It was only much later that I even learned about the atomic bombs. In retrospect, one of the most surprising aspects of my childhood wartime experience was the absence of any discussion about the fate of the European Jews. In fact, I can recall more discussion about the atrocities being committed by the “Japs” than I can about the behavior 21 22 A Difficult Child of the Germans.
He taught English literature and English grammar, and his grammar class was probably the most feared and hated in the school. He was stickler for precision and his teaching method was as dry as dust—parsing sentences, learning the parts of speech, and so on. But Mr. I. had one curious pastime. He liked to go down to the locker room after football and basketball games and measure the boys for muscular development. He then kept meticulous charts for every boy and told each one how well he was developing.
I couldn’t fall asleep in a sleeping bag, I was bitten by mosquitoes, and the food was awful. My parents urged me to keep trying as they thought the Scouts would be good for me. But they eventually turned against it, too. The troop was sponsored by the First Christian Church. When the church enlisted us to pass out flyers advertising a visiting Christian evangelist, my parents agreed that it was time for me to quit. I had moved beyond Sinai Temple’s weekly Sunday school, but for a few years, while I was in junior high, I went to the temple after school once or twice a week for Hebrew lessons in preparation for bar mitzvah—the traditional coming-of-age ceremony for boys at the age of thirteen.
Crossing the Barriers: The Autobiography of Allan H. Spear by Allan H. Spear