June 2nd, 1968
I took the I.Q. test the day after speaking to the principal. This was later followed by some further testing, also of an academic nature.
Once the results were in, Principal Hawkes wasted no time in contacting my parents.
Today it was my mother’s turn in the principal’s office.
She was on the PTA, and he remembered her clearly.
“Mrs. Crane, your son is what is known as a child prodigy.” My mother must have had a concerned expression, because he quickly added, “No! No! It’s a good thing. A very good thing.” (Actually, I’ve always considered the term Child Prodigy in the same light as Freak of Nature.) He continued to explain, “It means that he has an I.Q. that is far above most children his age. His intellect at the moment is also probably higher than children twice or even three times his age.” He smiled at me, but spoke to my mother. “The experts place his current mental capacity in the same range as that of a normal late teenager or twenty year-old.”
“Goodness me,” said my mother placing a hand on her chest. “That high?”
“That’s right. I’m sure you must have realized by now that your son is…different from other children of his age.”
“Well, yes, but I never imagined that…” She stared at me. “It’s hard to believe, I mean he still seems to get up to enough mischief.”
“And rightly so! You see, although he possesses the mental capacity of an adult, he has yet to develop the maturity that comes with age.” I flushed with anger and embarrassment. “He’s just really a very bright kid; extremely clever!”
“I see! So why exactly am I here?”
“Well, firstly to give you the good news that you have a little genius living under your roof, and secondly to inform you that we’ll be placing him in a special class here at Jefferson that we run especially for our gifted youngsters.”
“Oh, you have others like him as well?”
“Two others. They’re older than him. They only began to demonstrate their…unique mental capacity much later. Although our regular senior teachers cater to their needs, a lot of it involves self-education. But, as mentioned, they are all still children and need a little…help and guidance to keep them on the right tracks. Twice a year we have an expert down from Washington to do an evaluation.”
“What sort of expert? What evaluation?”
“A clinical psychologist. As you already must understand, we can’t expect Cornelius to start attending college or university at his age. He needs to mature more. He needs to develop confidence and life-skills. One doesn’t throw a child into the deep end without making sure he can first swim properly.”
“I understand. Is there anything I should do? Something to help? Something I’m not aware of?”
“He’s still just the same little boy you’ve always loved and cherished. Just keep going the way you have. I’m sure if any bumps arise in the road ahead, you’re both intelligent enough to iron them out? Also, feel free to call me anytime with any queries that may arise.”
Her expression didn’t reflect her response. “Uh…fine.”