Thirty-four years ago today, on July 12, 1979, I successfully passed the 4-hour oral examination to obtain my masters’ degree in education.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

In fact, I still have the unopened can of beer that was smuggled into Central Washington State College’ Black Hall by one of my small crowd of supporters who waited patiently for me to exit the room victorious.

Central Washington State College is now Central Washington University.

Black Hall was bulldozed years ago.

Even the train trestle we walked under to go to and from our classes is gone.

But today, just for curiosity’s sake, I took down the 8 ½ x 11” dark green bound hardback book containing my 182-page thesis and lovingly caressed the cover. “The Effect of Lowering the Reading Level of a Selected Social Studies Text on Concept Understanding in Fifth Grade Students.”

Say what?

Yes, that’s the real title. My advisory committee insisted that the gold-embossed title would tell anyone scanning the library stacks exactly what my research was all about.

I opened the book to page one and began to read. Yes, I vaguely remember putting these words on the paper. And yes, the hypothesis is clearly defined and conclusion drawn still stands today. I smiled as I remembered our School Board mandating all classroom text materials be given readability tests before adoption, based on my case study research.

Today it just seems like common sense. If the material is too hard for the kid to read, he/she will not be learning anything from that book. A no-brainer, right? But in 1979, there hadn’t been definitive studies done to prove that theory. Until mine. I’m not bragging, just sayin’.

I put the book back on the shelf when I got to the part with all the footnotes. Heck, all those citations are gleaned from the work of people now surely dead.

And suddenly I wondered… Well, you probably already know what I was thinking… So I guess I’ll have to get busy and write a bunch more books to add to my small literary legacy. But not with any titles like this messy mouthful! I want to leave something of a mystery!