Loved sixth grade! I have no great regrets about my eleven years in public schools, but I would venture to estimate that sixth grade, my only year in a parochial school, was likely my most productive year of schooling. Loved my science projects: assembling a Leaf & Seeds collection, a Rocks & Minerals collection, a collection of Butterflies & Other Six-Legged Creatures. Learned some German. Served as captain of the Crossing Guards; I took a written test to earn that rank. Went to a Washington Senators baseball game with a million other crossing guards on School Crossing Guards Day. Our teacher was a man, and I liked him, even though teachers at this school pinched ears or pulled hair. I dont recall that they pulled mine. We learned to read music and to play the soprano recorder (made of pear wood). While I have long since lost track of that beloved, slightly squeaky instrument, I somewhere along the way acquired a white, plastic, better-than-nothing recorder about the same size, and I have found, even when years go by between attempts to play it, I can still produce a credible rendition of The Irish Washerwoman, no problem. I learned in sixth grade that Hell is like holding ones finger in the flame of a kitchen stove forever and ever and ever, without end. I learned that one should not write with ones finger (perhaps the same finger at risk of the eternal stovetop) in the condensation on the school bus window on a field trip on a rainy day, because the condensation is human waste, expelled by our lungs, the approximate equivalent of the fluid that comes from our kidneys! I remember tether ball, kick ball. Our playground surface was entirely asphalt, but beyond the back gate was a dirt path that descended through a grove of tall tulip trees and sycamores and Osage orange trees, where we pursued our science projects. The tallest boy in our class was Jewish, an only child who lived with his parents and several servants in a grand house with a circular driveway. White-painted columns framed the double front door. His father drove a gleaming white, thin-finned Cadillac with a gadget like a ray gun in the center of the dashboard, which, my classmate explained, would dim the cars high beams when approaching an oncoming car at night without the need to step on a switch on the floorboard as in an ordinary automobile. On Saturdays the boy was allowed to bring along one friend when the dad, accompanied by a business associate, drove the Cadillac to a farm and a more modest home the family owned in Manassas, where the boy had his own pony. I, one Saturday, was that friend. And it was in sixth grade that I was first informed that girls, some girls, one girl, at least, held a scholarly interest in prurient subject matter. It was not until a subsequent year, however, that I myself actually became cognizant of the word prurient or any of its plenitudinous synonyms.