Monday, March 14, 2011

4 February, 1938

Fall 1937 to Fall 1938 saw Asimov, age 18 (after Jan 1, of course), a junior at Columbia. His courses included qualitiative analytical chemistry, quantitative analytic chemistry, intermediate physics, calculus, English literature, medievel history, and "possibly a few other things."

During this year, Asimov's friend, Sidney Cohen, took every class with himexcept calculs. (Cohen took sociology.)

Asimov speaks of one of his Professors, Professor Lyon of English literature. He also reveals his habit of talking in class, making jokes, sometimes at the expense of the teacher.

Sometime between Jan and Feb of 1938, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia had banned burlesque shows, "in a fit of self-righteous Puritanism" according to Asimov. Asimov made a joke about the burlesque houses, sending all of Lyon's class into hysterical laughter. Lyon could only dismiss the class.

"When the next class opened, he smiled at me and nodded in a lofty way. I can make no pretense at analyzing the psychology of it. [Lyon was a disciplinarian and didn't like jokers, and Asimov had expected to be dismissed.] I don't know if he admired my courage, or the successful "theater" of my remark, but I was a favorite of his from that moment and got an A in the course."

On February 4, 1938, his sister Marci finished high school. "Like myself, she got out at the age of 15. She did not go to college. It was not as customary then as it is now for girls to go to college, and education for women was not something that fit in with my parent's background.

Marcia went to business school instead and before she was sixteen had her first job. She went on to become a crackerjack secretary."





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