Everybody said she was smart
Not that there was ever any doubt. In looking
through old files and school papers we’ve uncovered compelling evidence of just how bright and witty Geraldine Wall (now Evans) really is. For the Cliffside High school paper of December 1946, Gerri, then a Senior, wrote this parody of Rudyard Kipling’s well known poem “If.”
If you can work a problem in Mathematics
And know just what you did when you are through,
If you can make those speeches in Dramatics
And do the acting that they have to do,
If you can write some poetry like Browning,
Putting thoughts into some kind of rhyme,
And take your long assignments without frowning
And get in all your book reports on time.
If you can learn to speak French and to read it
Pronouncing every word exactly right,
If you can make an “A” and then not need it
Without a bit of studying at night,
If you can answer questions without guessing,
And keep you mind from wandering in the sky:
I’ll tell you, and I’m truthfully confessing,
That I know you are not from Cliffside High.
Sophisticated stuff. Gerri says iambic must have been her favorite pentameter, for she later wrote a similar parody of the same Kipling poem for her co-workers, the operators at Southern Bell in Charlotte.
But hold on! In case anyone was still unconvinced that Geraldine has a brilliant head on her shoulders, a year later at the end of her first semester at Gardner Webb College she really nailed it.
In preparing this article, we showed the poem to Gerri, to confirm that it was indeed she who had written it, but she was totally unaware that we had found these exceptional college grades.