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A Dog Called Kitty' author visits State Street School

He's held positions as an elementary school teacher, principal, physical education teacher and lunchroom monitor.

Some might say Oklahoma resident Bill Wallace has done it all. But, when he was still teaching fourth grade, there was one thing he never imagined he would be -- an accomplished author.

Of course, it took years to get to that point as children from State Street School in Skaneateles found out during "Visiting Author Day" on Thursday April 2.

"My first year was so rough that a couple of times I didn't know if I was going to make it," Wallace said about teaching fourth grade.

To help him out, the girls in his class reminded him to send notes home and to clean off his desk, especially when it got too cluttered. The boys, well, they were interested in football and recess.

There was one little girl in his class, Terri, who was a "flopper," or what he described as a child who when she had a question or something to share would hold her hand up and flop it around at the wrist to get his attention.

"Sometimes when she was really excited, had something to tell me, I could hear her flopping before I ever saw her," Wallace said.

One day Terri told him that he was supposed to read to the class. Even though they were all in fourth grade and could read on their own, even the sixth-graders were still read to by their teachers.

The first book he read to the class was "Old Yeller," and since there was no library and none of the other teachers had it on hand, he drove to Oklahoma City and found a bookstore that carried it. Wallace's students listened quietly to every word.

"The day we finished 'Old Yeller' I jumping in the truck and went back to that bookstore," he said.

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