I’ve got plenty of souvenirs and fancy stuff at home given to me by my students. I guess their accumulating number means I’m good with kids 🙂 My wife grumbles that they take too much space, but I can’t bear myself to throw any of them away. Each item goes with a face and a story. Some of these kids still attend my classes, some don’t. Some of them are hanging in the neighborhood and I keep seeing them day after day, some are long out of town. I remember one really bright fellow, Richie Nikes, who came to our school three years ago. He was some sort of an autist, but not exactly a sociopathic one otherwise he would have studied at home. Surely, he had trouble socializing. Other kids kept aloof from him, so he spent most of the time alone, pulling a brush across the canvas somewhere in the corner and murmuring something to himself. But you should have seen the pictures he was painting! They were unusual, striking and… mature. The guy had a subtle style, even though he most likely didn’t realize it. I showed one of his works to our principal once and he thought it was from a recent exhibition 🙂 Too bad his family moved and I never saw him again. To be honest, I thought he didn’t even give much notice to my presence in the class. But, quite unexpectedly, I received a farewell gift from him – this mug . I stumbled upon it later on Amazon. Not sure whether it was his own idea or his parents’, but I thought it was very much like him. I still toy with it in the morning while drinking coffee 🙂 Godspeed, Richie Nikes!