Issue 237 | The Sun Magazine

September 1995

Readers Write

Getting Caught

Two wedding crashers, three strikes, four hubcaps

By Our Readers


What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.

Henry David Thoreau

The Sun Interview

School’s Out

An Interview With John Taylor Gatto

The first thing I discovered was that the types of learning that are measured by standardized tests are not real learning at all. To do well on a standardized reading test, for example, does not mean that you read well. There are approximately 150 categories of information that a complex passage of reading delivers, and the standardized test covers approximately six of those categories over and over again.

By Ellen Becker
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

“Do nothing. Time is too precious to waste,” said Buddha. If that sounds like nonsense, then read on as I tell you how I and my wife, Janet, came to do nothing with our farm, on purpose. It might help you understand what Buddha had in mind.

By John Taylor Gatto
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Attempting The Impossible

At Saint Vincent’s, every class period began with a simple prayer. “Let us remember,” I would say, and the class would reply, “that we are in the holy presence of God.”

By Robert Inchausti
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Grave Love

Bill Pody was our love guru. He drank twelve Pepsis a day, smoked three packs of Marlboros, and occasionally ate — usually a cheeseburger. He was forty-one. He lived in a lime green trailer next to a short, concrete silo. From my farm we could see the silo presiding over Pody’s hill.

By John Peterson

Poor Mortals

Larry couldn’t stop thinking of Mrs. Foster. He thought he must be in love with her. He never raised his hand in any class except hers. The other teachers didn’t seem to care whether he answered questions or not.

By J. W. Major

Just Wind, And A Creek

Thanks to prison, he settled for sitting, munching applesauce doughnuts, and watching his candle burn. No bleeding-heart bullshit, no prayerlike mutterings, no beseechings or lamentations from Everett. He’d come a long way, after a long wait, to do a simple thing, so he shut up, sat down, and did it.

By David James Duncan