Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Guest Blogger, John Brock

John Brock is a retired newspaper editor, publisher, college professor and motion picture producer. He is also one of the country's outstanding chroniclers of Southern Culture. Brock is a CHS graduate, class of 1950.  -Ed

"This goes on your permanent record"

I don’t know what the practice is today but when I was growing up, public schoolteachers and principals always held the threat of my “Permanent Record” over my head like a hammer.

Whenever I misbehaved or even when they suspected that mere thoughts of mischief were rattling through my brain, they would threaten me with, “You know this will go on your Permanent Record”.

A student’s Permanent Record attained status with God’s Book of Life and students lived in fear we would be haunted through our lifetimes with what might be recorded within this grave document.

Only at Central High School did I begin to question the existence of a Permanent Record. But doubts were still strong enough to keep me in line throughout my public school career.

A lifetime has passed and I have yet to be confronted with my Permanent Record in any job interview, induction into the US Army, upon joining a new group or, for that matter, at any juncture in my life.

So, I have decided that it is time, once and for all, to settle this haunting question of Permanent Records.

Citing various Freedom of Information laws that did not exist when I was a student but which now guarantee Americans the right to access every private record from their dental records to their school Permanent Records, I have asked the Charlotte Public School Administration to furnish me with a complete and accurate copy of my Permanent Record.

Truth is at hand. If indeed there is such a record, I will learn, at last, if my sins have been recorded for posterity.

Does my PR contain the misdeeds of my youth? Does it recite the times I brought firecrackers to school and set them off at recess? Does it relate my indiscretions regarding shared homework assignments, etc.?

I once dangled a fake spider over the head of a Study Hall teacher as I approached from behind. After much screeching, she ordered me to “go to the principal’s office”. I did.

A number of years ago,  I came across Mr.Otts in an assisted living facility where my mother was residing. I told him the story and he said that he did not remember the incident.

I replied, “Of course you don’t. I was only instructed to ‘go to the principal’s office’ which I did. I sat there a few minutes and then went back to class, whereupon, I was asked, ‘did you go to the principal’s office?’ and I responded that I had indeed gone”

I never bothered to mention that I said nothing to anyone in the office about why I was there. I had merely followed the teacher’s instructions to do no more than “go to the principal’s office.” I did exactly as I was told. No more. No less. After all, my Permanent Record was in jeopardy.

I now anxiously await a response to my request for a copy of my Permanent Record.

I will let you know if I do indeed get a copy of the dark secrets contained therein and perhaps, I will even share the contents with you.

In the annals of human events, it is time that the mystery of the Permanent Record be settled once and for all.


John Brock's latest book, Southern Breezes Whistle Dixie can be purchased ($12.95) from
Southern Observer Press
PO Box 1711
Pawley's Island, SC  29585

PS....John's father was the founder of the legendary Brock's Barber Shop around the corner, on Pecan Avenue, from Stanley's Drug Store.  -Ed