I was in the 6th grade. We had Mrs. Sable. Mrs. Sable was assigned the most disruptive, the most maladjusted, the most disorderly, incorrigible, problematic boys in the entire Benjamin Franklin Elementary School. To this day, I have no idea why I was placed among this catastrophe of misfits. (In the field of study called psychology the previous sentence is known as an indicator of “denial”).

As we entered the classroom that morning, we were stunned and shocked. MRS. SABLE HAD PLACED A TELEVISION RIGHT THERE IN THE FRONT OF THE ROOM! Naturally black and white, it was still very modern and remarkable because it was called a “portable “ TV. It could be moved around as opposed to the furniture-like monstrosity in one’s living room at home.

We saw that Captain Kangaroo (or at least I Love Lucy) was not on. It was the news (gal dern it!). Little did we know we would see the event of “our up to then” lifetimes. We thought Mrs. Sable would get in a lot of trouble and get fired and that would be terrible because we loved her and knew what creeps we could be and she still always loved us. In the 1950’s and early 60’s, teachers were not allowed to “think out of the box.” Anything non-conventional or non-traditional like a television, got you an automatic hearing before the school board. We were taught with a chalk board and a book. Period.

It was May 5, 1961. Our country WAS GOING TO PUT A MAN IN SPACE today! This was no comic book stuff and no “much too short” 4 minute Flash Gordon episode. An indescribable wave of fear captured us because we knew the spaceman could get killed in this risky matter. The spaceman’s name was Alan Shepard.

They shot him up into space and then he came down in the thing with a parachute right into to ocean. The helicopter got him and they flew to the aircraft carrier. It took 15 minutes. In our pre adolescent minds we were not mature enough in language to express or verbalize it, but we knew a new age had begun that day. It was also meaningful because as the spaceman took off, each of us transported a tiny piece of ourselves, in our own imaginary way, to be with him in the rocket ship. And that was the day Mrs. Sable brought a TELEVISION to school.