And you thought YOUR English teacher was tough!

I told you my father was a pack-rat, and apparently, so was his college roommate Fred Irving.

Like my father, he was a journalism major at Eastern Illinois University. Writers of every ilk LOVE WORDS, and Fred was no exception. He loved his own words so much, that he kept all of his college essays and short stories. When he passed away, my father and fellow wordsmith-cum-paper-packrat inherited the entire lot.

I found this Descriptive Theme assignment from Fred’s college level English class, dated March 18, 1946

This homework is 68 years old!

Before I reveal the grade the teacher bestowed on him, you must read the assignment first, and notice the two circled mistakes:

Railroad Jack

He got nailed for “railroaders cap” but I think this is probably what people in the railroad business called it, rather than a misspelling or incorrect use of a possesive (apostrophe “s”) but he definitely deserved getting called out on the incorrect use of  “it’s pockets.”

(This coming from someone who does not know how to diagram a sentence and struggles with grammar and correct use of tense at every turn.)

As to the content, it’s a little wordy for my taste, but I tend to be a bit austere when describing people and places, so I’m not the right person to assess its literary value.

And Fred’s class grade with commentary?

Wow! Two mistakes and you get a C!

Wow! Two mistakes and you get a C!

I understand calling him out on grammar and spelling – but the comment “excellent otherwise” really seems to rub salt into the wound.

My question to you is – what grade would you have given Mr. Irving? Did he really deserve a C?

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