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Chapter 1 School and Football

I was born an idiot - but I’m cleverer than people think. I can think
things OK, but when I have to say them or write them down,
sometimes they come out all wrong. When I was born, my Mom
named me Forrest. My daddy died just after I was born. He worked
on the ships. One day a big box of bananas felldown on my daddy
and killed him.

I don’t like bananas much. Only banana cake. I like that all right.

At first when I was growing up, I played with everybody. But
then some boys hit me, and my Mom didn’t want me to play with
them again. I tried to play with girls, but they all ran away from me.

I went to an ordinary school for a year. Then the children started
laughing and runningaway from me. But one girl, Jenny Curran,
didn’t run away, and sometimes she walked home with me. She was

Then they put me into another kind of school, and there were
some strange boys there. Some couldn’t eat or go to the toilet
without help. I stayed in that school for five or six years. But when I
was thirteen, I grew six inches in six months! And by the time I wassixteen, I was bigger and heavier than all the other boys in the

One day I was walking home, and a car stopped next to me. The
driver asked me my name, and I told him. ‘What school do you go
to?’ he asked.

I told him about the idiot school.

‘Do you ever play football?’ he asked.

‘No,’ I told him. ‘I see other people playing, but I don’t play and
they never ask me to playwith them.’

‘OK,’ the man said.

Three days later, the man in the car came and got me out of


school. Mom was there, and they got all the things out of my desk
and put them in a brown paper bag. Then they told me to say
goodbye to the teacher.

The man in the car took me and Mom to the new high school.
There, an old man with grey hair asked me lots of questions. But Iknew that they really wanted me to play football. The man in the car
was a football coach called Fellers. Coach Fellers asked me to put on
a football suit, then asked me to undress and dress again, twenty
times, until I could do it easily.

I began to play football with the high school team, and Coach
Fellers helped me. And I went to lessons in the school. One teacher,
MissHenderson, was really nice. She taught me to read. And who
do you think I saw in the school cafe? Jenny Curran! She was all
grown-up now, with pretty black hair, long legs, and a beautiful face.
I went and sat with her, and she remembered me!

But there was a boy in the cafe who started calling me names, and
saying things like, ‘How’s Stupid?’. Then he threw some milk at me,
and I jumped outof my chair and ran away. A day or two later, after
school in the afternoon, he and his friends came up to me and
started pushing and hitting me. Then they ran after me across the
football field. I ran away fast!

I saw that Coach Fellers was watching me. He had a strange look
on his face, and he came and told me to put on my football suit.
That afternoon, he gave me the ball to runwith. The others started
running after me, and I ran as fast as I could. When they caught me,
it needed eight of them to pull me down! Coach Fellers was really
happy! He started jumping up and down and laughing. And after
that, everybody liked me.

We had our first game, and I was frightened. But they gave me
the ball, and I ran over the goal line two or three times. People werereally kind to me after that!

Then something happened which was not so good.

‘I want to take Jenny Curran to the cinema,’ I told Mom one day.


Then he threw some milk at me, and I jumped out
of my chair and ran away.

So she phoned Jenny’s Mom and explained. Next evening, Jenny
arrived at our house, wearing a white dress, and with a pink flower
in her hair. She...