Thomas Edison

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Not long after young Tom - who was called "Al" in his earliest years - learned to talk, he began pleading with people he met to give him their explanation of how everything worked. If they said they didn't know, he would stare into their face with his deeply set and vibrant blue eyes and ask them "why?"

At age seven - after spending 12 weeks in a one room schoolhouse with 39 other s[...]
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Not long after young Tom - who was called "Al" in his earliest years - learned to talk, he began pleading with people he met to give him their explanation of how everything worked. If they said they didn't know, he would stare into their face with his deeply set and vibrant blue eyes and ask them "why?"

At age seven - after spending 12 weeks in a one room schoolhouse with 39 other students of all ages - Tom's overworked short tempered teacher lost his patience with the child's persistent questioning and relatively self centered behavior. When the Port Huron school board representative made a routine visit, it was noted that Tom appeared to be somewhat "addled" or mentally unstable.

If modern psychology had existed back then, it is possible that the genuinely hyperactive child would have been deemed a victim of attention deficit syndrome and given a prescription for the "miracle drug" Ritalin. Instead, when his beloved mother - the person Tom once said "...was the making of me because she was the only person who truly understood me" - became aware of the situation, she promptly withdrew him from school and began to home-teach him.

A descendant of the prominent Elliot family of New England, the daughter of a highly respected minister, and a former educator in her own right, Nancy Edison now commenced teaching Tom, her last and favorite son, the three Rs" and the Bible. His, father, Samuel, encouraged him to read some of the great literary classics, providing him with a ten cents reward for each book he mastered.

It wasn't long before Tom developed a strong interest in world history and English literature. Years later, his love of Shakespeare lead him to briefly consider becoming an actor. However, his relatively high pitched voice and extreme shyness before every audience except those whom he was trying to influence in helping him finance an invention dissuaded him from serious pursuit of the idea.
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