My father, after serving in the legislature and helping write the Constitution of Montana, was elected Mayor of Butte. That meant I was free to run around the City hall where I met an “expug” who was City Jailer. He taught me to punch bag and the manly art of self-defense.
I was going to school and one afternoon I was misbehaving and the teacher pulled me out of my seat and for some ungodly reason set down on me. A girl across the aisle motioned for me to pinch her. I did. I was in the wrong and sorry. I made my apologies before the class before being asked to.
Nothing I could say made any difference. She took me to the principal. He went for a raw hide whip. I told him not to hit me. He raised the whip, I raised my fist. My blow hit first on the point of the chin. He hit the floor.
I sat down at his desk and wrote out my resignation on my last day at public school. He was after years my lawyer.
Editor’s Note: The proceeding slightly edited story, written by J.E. Thompson (1875-1950), was taken from a collection of letters, the so-called “Deathbed Letters,” written to his son, William Boner Thompson, shortly before J.E.’s death.