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WHY ENGLISH WAS JOHN'S FAVORITE
by Mike Blakesley
Originally published May 20, 1989
in the Forsyth Independent-Enterprise
I heard a few weeks ago that Bob Clark and his wife
Jeanne are retiring after many years of teaching in the Forsyth school
system, so I've been trying to remember a hilarious anecdote about them
to write about. Wouldn't you know it, I've come up with one.
I never had any classes with Mrs. Clark, but Bob was my English teacher
when I was a junior. His English classes were interesting, and I was
especially pleased with the fact that he never made us diagram
There were, of course, a few students who didn't appreciate Mr. Clark's
classes very much. One student in particular, who I'll call John because
that's his name, sat right in front of me.
John was a very tired person. At least I assumed he was tired, because
within five minutes after Mr. Clark started talking about the world's
great literary works, John would fall asleep on his desk.
For the first few weeks of school, Mr. Clark would wake John up, but he
soon realized that his efforts were futile and just let him sleep. John
would snooze away, oblivious to all sounds except the sound of the bell,
which signaled that it was time for lunch.
One day John must have been recovering from a rough night, because he
fell asleep before Mr. Clark had even finished taking the roll. And at
the end of the period, when the bell rang, John, instead of slowly
coming to life as usual, continued his peaceful slumber. The rest of the
class was heading out of the room on the way to lunch, and I was just
about to shake John awake, but Mr. Clark said "He needs his rest--just
So I walked out, and so did Mr. Clark, and he locked the door.
After lunch, I couldn't resist, of course. I had to go by and check out
Mr. Clark's room, and there John was, still snoozing away. The students
for the next period were just beginning to file into the room. I had to
get to my next class, but I waited just long enough to see John being
shaken awake. He looked around the room like somebody who had been
dreaming it was Saturday.
Then he came walking out with a kind of dazed look on his face, and the
last I saw of him he was running down the hall after the bell rang,
heading for his next class. I heard he was late and got detention.
He didn't sleep in English for about a week after that.
[NOTE: Bob and Jeanne Clark moved to
Bozeman after several years of retired living in Forsyth. Bob
passed away in October of 2019.]