Life Story

This was written by me in eight grade.


On January 9, 1959 at 10:55 (when Richard Nixon was celebrating his forty-second birthday) Dr. Samuel Johnson was performing a very important operation. It was for me, at least, because John Stephen Heffernan was getting his first look at New Britain, Connecticut. With brown hair and blue eyes, he stood a towering nineteen inches and weighed seven pounds and one and a half ounces. During the baptism (which followed soon after) my booties fell into the baptismal font.


After a few months, I flew to colorful Verdun in the country of France where my father was serving in the army. A “man about town”, I traveled to such places as England, West Germany, Belgium, the flowering country of Holland, Switzerland, and Luxembourg though I silently slept through most of the sight-seeing. For recreation, I’d built blocks or listen to my favorite radio. Mother would also take me to the P.K. where on on one of these occasions, I unknowingly stole a can of Spam. My first haircut at the P.K. cost thirty-five cents. While leaving the airport, Bill Graham came over and patted me on the head.


Machines played an important part in my graduation from being a toddler. Rally Round the Flag was the first movie I viewed. I could adjust the television at two years old - a skill I still use today. My father’s electric shaver also intrigued me.


One day (in my knee socks and shorts of course) I saw my grandfather working on the house. I came and told my mother he was putting pockets on the house (which were actually flower boxes).

When John Fitzgerald Kennedy passed by on I-91, Sean McGuire and I were on hand. Both sets of parents enjoyed seeing the presidential candidate - except when I threw up in Mr. McGuire’s car.


Even though in my baby book it says that I showed special talents for getting into mischief, my mother says I was a comparatively trouble free baby. “A genius at age three” was an exclamation often shouted by my mother and father when I did one of several things. There was a time when my uncle (a priest) and my father had immense problems putting a grill top together. After near frustration, the boy genius put it together. Tinker toys and split block houses were causes of numerous trips and stumbles. Although they were magnificent, boy genius got bored and left his marvelous houses for other important engineering marvels.


When I was three, my parents and I (plus a newly acquired sister) moved from France to the Green Valley area. I am told that one day my friend Tim Griggly and I hid behind the furnace. While we played quietly, my mother searched all over the house until we finally came out peacefully. I also enjoyed pouring Cheerios into a colander and calmly pouring them over my head.


Nearing the boy genius’s entrance to his first school of learning, we moved to 37 Gordon Avenue. Our present house, it took me a while to investigate the entire eight rooms. Peter Moschetti, Sean McGuire, and Scott Pierce (the mayor’s son) were my first friends, We would make giant hay forts - often fifty yards long against the fence. The boy genius almost got whacked by a beam when some enemies wrecked our forts.


My first memory was in Boston in my father’s old house. My Uncle Jerry was telling me that before eating soup you should crush up your crackers, I thought that you should put the crackers in first and then crush them. Another memory was going to my uncle’s camp near Forest Park. It was here that I learned to swim. The trampoline I saw really made me think about jumping. At five years I entered kindergarten with Sister Louda. A gold star student, the only time I was slapped was when I put my milk on a pile of Ritz crackers. This period of life really helped me into first grade. Mainly a period of learning, I generally stayed out of trouble.



In first grade, I met many new people, went to many new places, and learned many new things. Sister Marion Sean taught us most of these things. We saw our first play - Beauty and the Beast - in Springfield. For entertainment, we would play marbles and cards. In these games, we learned about cheating. A favorite cheat was to put your foot on a card and then take it. Dennis O'Connell would call keepsies after each game, unless he lost.


Our enemies (the second graders) would tease us and take our marbles. One day we all lined up in a chain, daring the second grade to break it. They did, of course, and this may be why we were always fighting. Academically we learned to read (Dick and Jane) and we started to add and subtract.

Our second grade teacher was Sister Joseph Marion (60 years old). She would make us pray every day that her book of wildflowers would be published. I guess we didn’t pray hard enough because it was rejected. We would also play marbles when she was playing the piano. Sister was kind of slow to catch on but she couldn’t help noticing a marble rolling under the piano one day.


Since she was strict, we had to fold our hands and sit up straight all the time! By the time we reached our First Holy Communion, we could multiply, subtract, divide and even read. Being the shortest boy in the second grade, I had to lead the procession at First Holy Communion.


Sister Marion Joseph was the best card flipper in our class. She would come out at recess and challenge one of us in cards. Not daring to refuse, we would lose all our cards. She won because she practically placed the cards on the others. But who were we to say?


Sister Elizabeth Ann (now working for the telephone company) was our instructor for third grade. When I was asked to use the word word in a sentence, I replied “I have to use word in a sentence.” As I remember it, it did not go over too well with Sister Elizabeth Ann. But that was the beginning of my career as a comedian.



The fourth, fifth, and sixth grades were very important developmental years in my life. I learned many new things. My fourth grade teacher was Mrs. Parasaliti, to whom I owe my fourth grade education. I can’t remember a whole lot about fourth grade, although I do remember going up to our teacher’s desk every Friday to show our weekly handwriting work. No matter how hard I tried, I would always get a B or a C. In other subjects, I was a good student.


A very memorable year was fifth grade when our teacher was Mr. Sanders. He was fairly easy; I got all A’s. We also had Sister Holly for art and science (B’s), Mrs. Hastings for English (C’s and B’s), and Mrs. O’Neil for history (A’s). Mr. Sanders showed around 5 million filmstrips and he showed each of these at least twice. We found them a little boring after a while.


My most interesting year was sixth grade with Sister Alta. A cheerful and immense teacher, it was her first year and she has some discipline problems. We put on two plays, one of which I wrote (in this play I was the tax collector demanding taxes from Santa Claus). In the other I played Witchy-Poo!


Besides Sister Alta we had Mrs. LaBrie for geography and spelling and Mrs. Woods for English and music. Academically I had a very good year with A’s and B’s. Charles Celerow and Steven Cunningham provided the entertainment with their classroom antics. After the end of the year, we played poker - I won $1.50. Many of us transferred to Koskuco Junior High for the seventh grade.



Upon entering the seventh and eight grades, I started thinking about the future. Teachers that helped me with this were Sister Gerald and Mrs. LaBrie. Sister Gerald was probably my best teacher ever. She taught us math and religion. She would always scare us at least a little and she would always keep us quiet. This may seem unusual but we learned a lot and we had fun too. Mrs. LaBrie taught English, geography, reading, spelling, and some others. I had some difficulty at first but I finally adjusted to a lot work. We boys would get into frequent mischief. We would also get beat up, quite a lot, by the eighth grade class.

The following summer was an interesting one. I bought a ten speed racer for $100 and I got a lot of use from it. The rest of the summer I wasted hanging around the grubby street corner.

Jeris Provencher, Mr. Blanchette, and Mrs. LaBrie were my eight grade teachers. Mrs. Provencher, our homeroom teacher taught us reading, art, history, music, and religion. She’s a pretty good teacher but I always disagreed with her about everything at class meetings, especially about our trips. We raised money for our trip at a faculty basketball game.


Mr. Blanchette is our science and math teacher. He is not a great teacher (although it is his first year). Some like him but somehow I can’t get to work in the midst of all the daily racket and bedlam. Mrs. LaBrie still teaches us geography, English, and spelling.


I’m the only person who doesn’t know what high school he is going to. Suffield Academy might be my high school but even though I got good marks on my admissions test, my grades got mixed up so now I am stuck in a rut. I’ll have to get good marks this term and I don’t know what is going to happen.

My plans for the future are to go to Suffield , graduate, and perhaps got to college. Among careers I am considering are: engineering, art, architecture, parole officer, and research scientist.