The Misfit King

Like all successful Achievers, Cadet Ansel Head was known to all teachers. Misfits were also known but did not draw the kind of attention that Achievers craved and Middle Classers avoided.

Misfits were easily recognizable – ill kept rooms, dirty uniforms, scuffed shoes, tarnished brass, mediocre grades, eyes open during prayers, mouths closed during hymns, out of step, senior privates, and smokers all.

The Misfit King

One Misfit classmate, Clint Folsom, excelled in all categories. Just prior to graduation after the masterful misfit had pulled a finale stunt, Dr.  Spence, in his usual rage when conversing with Clint, told him that he was embarrassed by allowing Clint to receive the coveted McCallie diploma; he should have blocked his return as a sophomore. It was too late then, final exams had been passed, graduation invitations RSVP’ed, programs printed, and seating assignments in the chapel made. A day or two later, Clint, smiling publically for the first time and attired in his worst uniform and shoes, accepted the prestigious diploma from the religious zealot founder in front of disheartened authorities. Folsom had won and everyone knew it.

One teacher, though, was smiling with him. Houston Patterson, as was his custom, adopted Misfits, protecting them from the authorities by teaching them the limits to which their unsophisticated, uneducated rebellion could go before crossing the expulsion line. He saw talent and potential where others saw ruin; he could hold his charges rage in check while allowing them the freedom to express their individuality. Other teachers couldn’t be bothered. The more committed the Misfit, the more attention Houston Patterson showed.

Houston Patterson

And Clint Folsom was very committed to his craft.

Houston had channeled Clint’s rebellion into practical, out of the curriculum activities such as building a car together; trade school stuff the authorities were saying. But he had gotten Clint through to graduation. Later in life, the Misfit king fixed the O-ring problems on the space shuttles after the Challenger blew up, something the Brahman rocket scientists couldn’t figure out and much, much more than any McCallie Achiever had accomplished.

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One Response to The Misfit King

  1. LPM says:

    I came across your website while looking for the Houston Patterson Award recipient for 2012. He was my grandfather, and I think he was pretty amazing. I love to read these stories! Thanks for making me smile on a day that I am really missing him.

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