|John W Spencer
|One Blue Ribbon: Childhood Remembrances of a Home Town and School
by John W Spencer
Zachary Stevens begins a childhood journey with many twists and turns. Set
in the Midwest during the 1950’s, a boy comes into adolescence and very
quickly must deal with the vagaries of life.
An alcoholic father fails his family, a divorce ensues, and an ashamed,
frightened youngster looks for support from a hometown, a mother, a
grandmother, plus neighborhood friends. At school, kids become his
buddies, his enemies, his first loves, or a group of recalcitrant bullies.
Teachers and coaches give advice and some make lasting impressions.
Zachary and a close friend discover "hidden" racial discrimination at a
swimming pool, while a school track race provides hope and some
redemption for a scattering of personal insecurities and falsely driven self-
The memories of a boyhood remain infused in a writer’s mind—"those
smells from redwood shavings spread over concrete floors; a school
cafeteria and cooking food; a playground, a jungle gym, and swings all of
which still await a boy’s return. And those many friends, who lived such
impossible dreams, hid and played in thick tall weeds, and told such
unbelievable tall tales," they all come back to again tell a story, his story.
John Spencer is a retired neuropsychologist who previously worked for the
United States Public Health Service as a clinician, researcher, and
administrator. He has taught at several universities and now lives in San
Antonio, Texas with his wife Patricia.