It’s a spring morning in 1989 a month away from summer vacation, JB is sitting in the office of a psychologist in Minneapolis. Rose decided it was time to have JB assessed. The violent outburst and tantrums were getting more frequent. Coupled with the fact JB is almost as tall and as heavy as his father at the age of nine, made him scary to her and his peers.
A young lady walks out of the room past them to the elevator. The receptionist politely “Doctor Erickson will see you now, go ahead in.” Rose and JB get up and walk into the office. They see a woman in a one piece psychedelic dress with long flowing blond down hair to her knees, standing by a bookcase, putting books away, without turning around “You must be JB.” JB nods and sits down. Rose sits on the couch behind him.
Doctor says “Does the cat got your tongue JB?” as she turns around and walks over to her chair. JB Shakes his head and shrugs. Doctor “I see.” She looks at Rose, would you mind waiting outside in the lobby please. Rose replies “Nope, I’m here to make sure my son …” Doctor “Rose, I can call you Rose right?” Rose “Sure. But..” Doctor interjects “Your son is in good hands, if you don’t mind” Motioning with her hand towards the door. Rose gets up and leaves the room.
Doctor Erickson smiles at JB, “let’s go over to the table, I have some games I want to play. Do you like games?” JB nodding. “Still not a talker are yah?” JB “I talk, when I have something to say.” She replies “So you’re the silent type, you having problems at school?.” JB “Hey I’m not stupid.” She replies “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel that way.” The two of them sit at the table. For the next few hours Doctor Erickson and JB talk and play puzzle games, talk about ink blots, and discuss his home life and school experience.
Rose is getting restless “What’s taking them so long?” the reception replies “Doctor Erickson is giving your son an assessment. She is testing his intelligence, his personality and his communication skills.” Annoyed Rose replies “Well how long does it usually take?” Receptionist “anywhere from a half hour to three hours, really depends on what she needs to figure out.” Rose is about to ask another question when the office door opens, JB walks out smiling and sits down on the chair next to Rose, Doctor Erickson “Rose would you mind coming into the office so we can talk?” Rose gets up from her chair and walks into the office.
The doctor walks around to the other side of the desk and motions for Rose to sit down. They both lower into their chairs. Doctor “First I need to ask you a few questions before I finalize the assessment.” Rose replies “Sure.” Doctor “Rose you can call me LeeAnn.” Rose replies “ok” LeeAnn asks “How many friends does JB have?” Rose “None that I know of, no one close.” LeeAnn replies “Why do you think that is?” Rose “I honestly have no idea. We try to encourage him to socialize. But he hasn’t found anyone to connect with.” LeeAnn “How often do you get mad at your son on a weekly basis, mind you I am not judging you, I am assessing him.” Rose, who’s fidgeting from being uncomfortable, responds “He tends to get in trouble, him and his brother always seem to want to kill one another.” LeeAnn “What do you mean by that?” Rose replies “At least once or twice a month we are visiting the hospital for stitches or broken bones or concussions.” LeeAnn “so you have a couple of demon children.” Trying to make light of the situation. Rose responds “that’s putting it mildly.” LeeAnn “how does he and his father get along?” Rose responds “those two are inseparable when he isn’t working. Almost like best friends. JB does anything Stan asks of him without a single complaint.” LeeAnn “So it’s a healthy father and son relationship, that’s good.” Rose nods.
LeeAnn scribbles some stuff down in her notes and clears her throat. “Rose, this is only the initial assessment, I will need more time with your child, but today we did several things. First I gave him a Minnesota Multiple Personality Inventory test and an IQ test. Are you interested in hearing those?” Rose curiously “Yes!” LeeAnn “Ok to begin with, your child is an introvert. He is quiet because that’s just who he is. He learns through visual cues. He only speaks when it is necessary. He is a doer not a talker. That is why when he gets angry, it is because someone provoked it out of him. He’s not a violent child, he’s just standing up for himself because he doesn’t want to talk someone’s ear off about why he is so angry.” Rose “Well that kind of makes sense.” LeeAnn nods “Your son is also an empath, because of his hearing loss, being that he is considered legally deaf, being mainstreamed in a hearing school he had to hone his skills to visual recognition of his surroundings. He picks up on the smallest details and can read a situation. It’s one of the reason why he doesn’t like being around other people.” Rose confused “What do you mean?” LeeAnn “JB can pick up from a long way when kids intend to do him harm or ridicule. Simply reading their body language and how they approach him. He doesn’t like confrontation and doesn’t like to argue so he avoids people and likes to be alone.” Rose nodding “That sounds about right.”
LeeAnn shuffles her papers around “Now this is particularly an interesting part of his case, his IQ test” Rose nods “I suppose his hearing impairment has put him behind the other kids.” LeeAnn in a perky voice “Quite the contrary Rose, your son has a 191 IQ. he’s literally considered the top fifteen percentile of people.” Rose looks at LeeAnn in total shock. LeeAnn continues “Have you ever noticed your son accomplishing something amazing, something that shocked you, or he can figure things out faster than average kids?” Rose shuffles through her purse and pulls out an old polaroid of JB Standing behind a monstrous block structure and hands it to LeeAnn. She looks over it “How long ago was this?” Rose smiles “He did that when he was 7” LeeAnn nods “this is exactly what I am talking about. If you look at the blocks some of these shouldn’t be there, but because he figured out fulcrums and counter balances he accomplished something most kids wouldn’t dream of. He is a natural at architectural and geometric objects.” Rose smiling with pride. LeeAnn “Also your son displays a wide spectrum of skills, the one he is sorely lacking in though, is english and social skills. However this is not unheard of in geniuses.” Rose shocked again “Wait.. What?… he’s a genius?” LeeAnn gets up from her desk and walks over to the table and grabs a stack of papers, and returns, sits down and spreads them out in front of Rose “Your son has a collegiate level vocabulary. Although his grammar is suffering, he understands words you probably never even heard of.” Rose chortles “I sincerely doubt that!” LeeAnn picks up the papers “Ok let’s test this. What does relogate mean?” Rose states “I honestly don’t know.” LeeAnn “it means to assign lower position. When i put the word into a sentence JB’s response was My dad does that, he delegates to his men. The fact he knows what delegate and relogate mean, this is a sign that your son is in the wrong grade.” Rose looks at her with contemplation.
Rose perks up “So I need to have my son tested for a higher grade level?” LeeAnn “it’s a little more complicated than that. What I would like to do is have him come in over the next few weeks, and I’m going to try and teach him a few things. At the end of the month I want to give him an SAT test.” Rose shocked again “You want him to take a college entrance exam?” her mouth starts dropping. LeeAnn “Well not really, I am going to use it to gauge his strengths and weaknesses. Most likely put him into an Independent Education Program.” Rose interjects “I will not have my child labeled a retard!” LeeAnn responds “It’s not like that, we will determine if he needs to be bumped up a grade or two, or if he needs to go to a different school, I won’t have a suggestion until I work with him for a little bit.”
Rose “So how do I stop him from having those outbursts?” LeeAnn “You need to challenge him, and you need to stop punishing him. He’s going to make mistakes, that’s part of his learning process.” Rose “What do you mean, challenge him?” LeeAnn “Do you ever just sit and observe your son?” Rose “Not really, I just let him do his own thing until he gets into a fight with his brother, which is usually instigated by his younger brother. JB gets annoyed after a while and justy finishes it, unless Dirk does some horrific thing, and it ends up with it turning into a hospital bill.” LeeAnn tries to stifle her chuckling “I take it they are always trying to out do one another?” Rose laughs “I would say so!” LeeAnn “Might I make a suggestion?” Rose “If it will help him and stop their bickering, I’m all for it.” LeeAnn “JB has an affinity with math sequences, try getting him into a musical class.” Rose “What, like a guitar or piano teacher?” LeeAnn “exactly what I am saying, you can either buy a piano or take him to a music school or something. It will be something new for him to learn, and he loves to learn.” Rose “How can he love learning when he gets constant F’s in school, he doesn’t do what the teachers instruct him to do, so they fail him, and his response to that is they are all stupid!” LeeAnn, “Because your son doesn’t have the patience to sit and listen to material he can do in his head. He’s completely bored.”
Rose “So when do you want to set up these appointments?” LeeAnn “How about every monday from 9 am till noon, you can drop him off and pick him up.” Rose “Ok, I can make that work, I will have to let the school know the plan.” LeeAnn gets up from her desk and opens the door, “JB can you come in here please.” JB walks in and sits down next to Rose. LeeAnn “JB How would you like to come here every monday and play new games and try new things?” JB nods “I had fun, sure.” LeeAnn smiles at him “Ok Rose, it’s set. Ill make sure my Secretary writes it in.” Rose “thanks this means a lot.” LeeAnn “don’t mention it, this will be good for JB.”
Rose and JB leave the office and drive across town on 35E, cutting up Roselawn avenue, pulling into Saint Jeromes parking lot and the two of them get out, the kids are on lunch recess.. Rose “JB Get to your next class, I am going to talk to Sister Clarice Ok.” JB Nods and runs off with his back pack bouncing around. Rose walks into the office and ask Ruth at the desk “Is Sister Clarice in?” Ruth “Let me see, have a seat.” A moment later Sister Clarice walks out of her office, Ruth following, she sits behind her desk. Sister Clarice “Hi Rose, what can I do for you today?” Rose “Can we talk for a bit, I have some interesting news for you.” Sister Clarice “Yes, sure come in.” The two of them walk into the office. Sister Clarice closes the door as Rose takes a seat. Sister Clarice “How are you today Rose?” Rose “I’m fine, I took JB to the Psychologist today.” Sister Clarice “Oh that’s good news, he’s going to get counseling?” Rose “I think it’s a lot more complicated than just counseling.” Sister Clarice “I’m interested in hearing about it.” Rose smiling “Well according to his Doctor, she did a Minnesota Multiple Personality Test and An IQ test. With staggering results.” Sister Clarice tilts her head “What do you mean staggering?” Rose “Well it appears JB is a genius, a genuine bonafide genius. He scored over 190 on his test.” Sister Clarice’s eye grew wide “This is interesting, and could explain a lot about JB.” Rose “that’s another thing, she called him an introvert, empath and something else I’m not clear because I’m just reeling from the news on his intelligence.” Sister Clarice “It’s starting to paint a perfect picture about JB, now I understand, he’s a special kid with a lot of hurdles in his way.” Rose “To say the least.”
Rose looks out the window and sighs, Sister Clarice “What’s wrong.” Rose “I just had an epiphany, JB isn’t like the other kids. He won’t know how to have fun like they do.” Sister Clarice “trust me, I think he finds more enjoyment in a book then he does kicking a ball. That’s a good thing.” Rose “I guess so.” Sister Clarice “it is!” Rose “Anyways, JB is going to be absent on mondays for the rest of the year. The psychologist wants him from nine am till noon possibly longer?” Sister Clarice “that’s strange, sessions usually only last an hour.” Rose “According to her she wants to spend some time with him teaching him a few things, and then she is going to give him an SAT test. “ Sister Clarice astonished “As in college entry test?” Rose “That’s exactly my response. But no she wants to assess where he is advanced and where he needs work. She wants to establish an IEP for him.” Sister Clarice “That makes perfect sense, that way next year we can figure out how to address this situation.” Rose concurs.
It’s the first weekend of July, Stanley just bought a mobile home for the family to go on trips with, he decided that he was going to take his two week vacation. Rose and he discussed it the week before and made the arrangements. Stanley yells into the house “Move it. We’re wasting daylight!” JB and Dirk come tearing down the hallway, running past him, JB yells “I get the top.” Dirk pushes JB to the side “Not if I get there first” Stanley snaps “You’re both sitting at the table until I say otherwise!” Rose chuckles and shakes her head as she climbs into the passenger seat. Stanley locks up the side door and walks around and gets into the driver seat, starts up the up vehicle and pulls away.
Stanley says “Ok boys, we are heading to Dakota’s then to Yellowstone National Park.” Dirk starts bouncing in his seat, “We get to see old fatefufl.” JB “you moron it’s old faithful! TH THing, the, third, faith. Idiot!” Dirk kicks jb under the table. Jb screams out in pain. Stanley snaps out “If you don’t behave we will go right back home.” JB replies “Yes dad!” Dirk grudgingly “Sorry.”
Three hours later entering Fargo North Dakota, JB is in the back bunk reading his comics, Dirk is on the overhead bunk sleeping. Rose “So what are we going to do about JB this fall?” Stanley glances at her “What do you mean?” “ Rose “Well the psychologist finished her assessment last week, She said that JB should be in a different kind of school.” Stanley “what like a school for the special kids?” Rose “No, like a magnet school, one that has specializes in his unique abilities.” Stanley “No! No! Absolutely not!” Rose “Why aren’t you even considering it?” Stanley “My boy isn’t going to live away from us!” Rose “He would be going to Highland Park high school!” Stanley “there’s one in minnesota? “ Rose “according to the psychologist it’s the best in the state!” Stanley “So what do these classes entail?” Rose “Well first off his tests says he’s scattered in the grades. He has a collegiate level understanding of math and art, a twelfth grade understanding of science and he practically memorized the periodic table. He has an eglish of a third grader and the social skills of a kindergartner.” Stanley shakes his head and continues on driving.
He pulls into McDonald’s, in a loud voice “You boys hungry?” Dirk flies out of the bunk like rabid bat and slides into the bench seat at the table, JB walks down the hall “Yes. I want a big mac and a large chocolate shake.” Dirk “I want that too.” JB sits across from Dirk “copy cat!” Dirk sticks his tongue out. Stanley and Rose enter the restaurant order food, pay for their meals, returning to the mobile home they see Dirk and JB wrestling on the table and laughing. Stanley opens the side door “What are you two doing?” The two of them slip back into their seats, “Just horsing around dad.” JB acting innocent. Dirk “I’m hungry!” JB laughs. Stanley hands them the bag and pushes JB in and sits next to him, Rose sits next to Dirk.
They continue down I94 to the Belfied exit, on their way to Theodore National Park where they plan on camping the night, and do some trout fishing on the river.