Carte Blanche II

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Many of you who’ve seen the book will have noted the dedication, “To Peggy Singleton.” Peggy Singleton was an English teacher who began teaching at Lanett High School in 1966, my freshman year. I was in one of her first classes, and it was apparent she was going to be a capable and well-liked instructor. However, I was not in her class again until 1969, the beginning of my senior year. She was a bit more collegial with us seniors than she had been with my freshman class three years earlier. Her lectures on English literature and such, often delivered while leaning against her desk, were interspersed with comments and questions from the class. It was in this loosely structured atmosphere I first heard a group of people laugh at my remarks, for it was in Mrs. Singleton’s room I developed something of a reputation as a wit. Not a goofball, not exactly a class clown, but an observer who could be depended upon to put a wry spin on the topic at hand. Such a proclivity was as much a surprise to me as it was to my classmates. Mrs. Singleton’s tolerance and her occasional failure to suppress her own laughter encouraged me. Of course, she openly encouraged my aptitude for writing. She was the person who suggested I might study “journalism” in college. I did. I would like to give her all the credit, but the truth is, I was clueless and highly impressionable. Still, her influence was great, and I am convinced I would not have taken the path I did had it not been for Mrs. Singleton’s senior English class.