Truth Be Told…I Learned It In Elementary School
I remember reading an article many yesterday’s ago that I found intriguing and ultimately, absolutely, positively, unequivocally untrue. (Of course, that wasn’t the intent.)
The story was in a publication called “My Weekly Reader,” a newspaper geared for elementary school kids.
“My Weekly Reader” was great. It had news articles about history, science, government, culture and profiles on interesting people. It also gave us a glimpse into the future, through space technology, inventions and technology. The newspaper introduced me to newspapers, to writing, to the world beyond my one-square-mile hometown. And in one particular article it promised something wonderful.
To the best of my recollection, “My Weekly Reader” suggested that in the not-to-distant future of the 1980s or 1990s, life would be amazing. Adults would be free of the 40-hour a week grind. Everyone would have a liberating four-day work week. As a result, we’d have more leisure time. And with that leisure time, we’d be sporting about in our own personal helicopters.
The last time I looked up, down or around, I didn’t see my personal helicopter or, for that matter, anyone’s. The last time I had a four-day work schedule was, well – never. The last time I had true leisure time was…I can’t really remember.
“My Weekly Reader” was so wrong with that particular prediction. By the mid-to-late-1990s, we became attached, or leashed to an ever-increasing web of inter-connectivity to our jobs, our friends, our social groups, and our responsibilities. The leash has only tightened since then.
Despite that one article’s erroneous forecast of life today, that wonderful elementary school reader provided news designed to educate, inform, and ultimately inspire. I recognized that the printed word (and now its digital first cousin) could transport us places we’ve never been, or may never visit, yet still give us an enriching experience.
“My Weekly Reader” introduced me to the world. I started wondering how people researched and wrote, how they interviewed and compiled information, in a sense, how grownups managed all the things in their lives.
Google the old publication. It’s no longer around, but you’ll see that as kids we were, in my opinion, better informed, up on civics and government, and preparing for life that lay ahead. It was a national kids’ school newspaper; national with relevant information for everyone. Smart, intelligent and motivating. It set me on my way. As a result, I created a class newspaper in 4th grade based on “My Weekly Reader” – a Hudson, NY version. I took that concept into my first radio announcing job at our local radio station, and then into a career as a writer and columnist for two Boston newspapers, and hundreds of television documentaries. Clearly, it gave me the fundamentals for researching and writing that live on in my thrillers and now the publication of OLD EARTH.
Even though I’m at my computer day and night, without a vacation, and still getting around on the ground on four wheels, I have to thank “My Weekly Reader.” It all really goes back to elementary school.
Now thanks to Writers & Authors for inviting me to blog. I hope you’ll check out OLD EARTH. It’s published by Diversion Books and available in print, eBook and Audible editions. Let me know what you think.