Fred Pohl left high school at the age of 17 without graduating. That didn’t noticeably handicap his writing career. Just the same, he was very touched when one of his readers from his old high school’s alumni association recently offered to present him with a diploma. As Fred says on his blog:
I was flabbergasted. It was one of the kindest things that any total stranger had, without warning, ever stepped up and done for me. I showed the letter to Betty Anne and she was as touched as I was.
In an interview published in the New York Times Fred explained why he didn’t finish high school:
Mr. Pohl tested easily into Brooklyn Tech back when it was new. Then, sometime around his junior year, he hit a wall. “I largely stopped paying attention,” Mr. Pohl recalled by phone from his home outside Chicago. He failed two drawing classes, one of them twice, and a math class. His father and mother were divorcing at the time, which he thinks probably explains his troubles at school. “I can scarcely believe I was so dumb as that,” Mr. Pohl said.
Incidentally, Fred never attended college either.
[Via Leah Zeldes Smith and Andrew Porter.]