Jack wrote this as an assignment in his final year of high school. His grade was an A–.
November 19, 1943, long before the first suggestion of dawn, the icy wind howled menacingly around the corners of Florence Nightingale Hospital in Dallas, and bit vainly at the apathetic windows, barring the warmth from boreal gusts. A few fleecy clouds spread their tentacles over the city, while the rest of the night sky sparkled rapturously, exalting the commencement of the first snowfall. Still, on the wind blew, indifferent to the torpid, confident state of a young nation, the cries for peace, the prayers for victory; and indifferent also to the birth of Jack Purcell, his future life, and his unalterable death.
Within the corridor of the hospital only an occasional nurse or orderly broke the silence of the sleeping building, and only in the maternity ward was there continuous evidence of animation. Here, in an incubator, lay the small, somewhat scrawny, two months premature figure of Jack Purcell.
Jack was the youngest of three children, two of which were girls. By these two, and by his mother too, I suppose, he was pampered almost continuously until he became old enough to show his spoiled nature, at which time they gradually slackened off with this treatment.
At the age of five young Jack started to school in Portales, New Mexico, while living on a small farm just out of town. Here, he became accustomed to the routine of daily life, and had may lessons in self-discipline, and how to get along with people. He discovered that his desires were not always the same as those of other people, and that conformity and compromise were necessary ingredients in virtually all his dealings with his fellow humans.
Through his life on the farm, his relationship with nature became much more intimate, while he developed a knowledge of life, and soon learned to love his surroundings.
From the time he learned to write, he began turning out short essays dealing with life, short stories, and sometimes even short poems. Only after he was a freshman in high school, however, did he begin to consider writing as a profession, rather than a hobby.
After finishing his sophomore year in Portales High School, he moved to Dallas, taking with him only the memories of his boyhood in New Mexico, and naturally for a short while he was repulsed at the city and all it stood for. Given time, however, he grew to love this city; for it too, he discovered, had its own form of beauty. The year he spent in Dallas, and the friends he made became some of the most treasured memories of his life.
All too soon, however, certain over-emphasized problems within the home made his departure imperative, and he spent a full summer traveling over the United States, working here and there until he came to rest in Borger, Texas, where he now lives with his brother-in-law and sister. There at present, he attends his final year at Borger High School.