... this teacher never saw a word he didn't put in a test.
Christopher Adelbert Adams was a martinet.
He made sure his junior English class knew that word, and every other one that came out of his mouth, as well as the standard vocabulary list. By the way, "prolix" means unnecessarily wordy.
My junior year at Darien (Connecticut) High School was made memorable by Mr. Adams. I never got to know him outside class, but in class he was a dominant figure. He had been a captain during WW2 and seemed to carry that aura of command about him.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I was the teacher's pet. Not only did I love the vocabulary drills, but I was also an aficionado of Edgar Allan Poe, like Mr. Adams. I had read every story Poe wrote (as far as I know) and would gladly discuss Poe on demand.
The subject of Poe did result in one of my most embarrassing moments. We were studying various literary devices in writing class when the term "onomatopoeia" was explained as a word that imitates the sound it represents. It was illustrated by the poem "The Bells" by Poe. The phrase "how they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle in the icy air of night..." was printed on our worksheet.
I looked at the phrase for awhile, frankly puzzled. Finally I raised my hand and asked "I don't understand how the word 'twinkle' is a sound from nature."
Well you can imagine the horse laugh I got from the whole class and the teacher! How my eyes inserted that "w" into the word I'll never know, but that tarnished my reputation for a while.
I never really saw anything but the well-disciplined and perhaps cool side of Mr. Adams. Not so for my brother Rip, who was four years behind me in school. Since our secondary schools were three years each, we never crossed after sixth grade.
Rip had Mr. Adams also, not only as an English teacher but also as class advisor. In Rip's class was a smart and attractive young lady, Barbara Smith. I want here to quote from the eulogy that Barbara asked the pastor to read almost a year ago after Rip died:
Needless to say, Mr. Adams attended the wedding for Rip and Barb. I never saw Mr. Adams after the wedding, but he continued to attend the class reunions of DHS class of 1956 for many years. This is one teacher that I will always remember with gratitude and respect.
October 3, 2003