In 1977, my seventh grade homeroom teacher was a Vietnam Vet. Mr. Jewell was enthusiastic and encouraging, and seemed too young to have the few streaks of gray hair that kept the girls from obsessing about him. But when he shared the rare stories of being in the jungles, we knew he’d earned his silver.
He tried to make Science fun. For a bunch of teenagers more concerned if they could afford HASH jeans or if they were going to get asked to slow dance during the first Helena Junior High school dance, it was a challenge.
On a Saturday in September, he foraged into the Montana wilderness with a friend, a snake pole and a cage. He came back with our new classroom pet, a rattlesnake. The snake lived in the corner of the room where he was constantly watched by kids who absorbed his identity.
Having the only…
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