In The Beginning:
The last time I took an extended recess was in the seventh grade, when I and several other boys, were more than an hour late in returning. The teacher, Mother Lena, was fuming—partly, I suppose because, in my eyes, she was almost a saint. With a long aquiline face split by a long hook nose, she will live on in my memory because of her uncanny resemblance to Pope Pius the 12th. For our penance Mother Lena assigned us each a poem to memorize before we could leave for home. Mine was the first stanza of “Tubal Kain”, a particularly long epic whose first line is all I can recall. It went something like this: “Tubal Kain was a man of might in the days when the earth was young.“
With permission of the author.