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October 25, 2016
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A memory of James

And, it is strange how memory works—how it sharpens to an idiosyncratic point and floods back with images. The book brought me back to second or third grade, when I was standing next to the radiator in my classroom with James Wormuth. Our marigolds in milk carton planters were on the window sill. He had a library book or encyclopedia and was showing anyone who would look a photo of a mushroom cloud. “It’s pretty,” I absently said. “That’s not pretty, that’s an atom bomb,” he retorted.

James will always be remembered as the boy in my class who was struck by lightning and died in the summer of his 14th year. I have also always remembered him for setting me straight on the atom bomb.