The story on page 129 of Favorite Sons about my encounter with Mr. Suranovich is true. He snatched me away from the arc welder and marched me down to the office when he found out that, as a senior, I had taken just one year of general math.
What followed, in retrospect, was quite funny.
Mr. Suranovich made me drop metal shop and go to study hall, where Mr. Scherich was to tutor me in Algebra I. This was a lovely arrangement, as Mr. Scherich didn’t want to be bothered, and neither did I.
About two weeks into the tutoring session, members of the fall play cast of Mame came in with a problem involving the stage set. Always anxious for a diversion, I listened and when they left told Mr. Scherich, “I can make that for you.”
Mr. Scherich, always anxious to rid himself of me, said, “Be my guest.”
That was my last day in study hall. I spent the rest of the year in the auditorium building stage sets. Mr. Scherich at one point said, “Mr. Yocum, this is not advancing your understanding of algebra.”
“It’s all math. Measuring, cutting angles. Why, it’s practically geometry.”
He just walked away.
Later, he would tell a friend of mine, whose identity I’ll protect, “You and Yocum were the two worst math students to ever graduate from this high school. There were worst math students, but they never graduated.”