Experiences and Writings

English 4th Hour

October 25, 2002


English 4th Hour

October 25, 2002

Experiences and Writings

" What I like best is a book thatís funny once in a while... What really knocks me out is a book that, when youíre all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesnít happen much, though."‑ Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye

Jerome David Salinger came into this world on January 1, 1919. J.D. was short

for Jerome David. He went by J.D. when he was young and he never let go of the name as he got older. J.D. was born in New York City, New York. (biography.com).

J.D. Salinger\'s parents were Sol and Miriam Salinger. His father, Sol Salinger, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is said to have been the son of a rabbi. However, Sol drifted far from orthodox Judaism to become an importer of hams. Sol married a Scotch-Irish lady. The lady\'s name was Marie Jillich. She changed her name to Miriam to fit into her husband\'s family. (biography.com).

In 1932, the time J.D. should have begun high school, he was transferred a to private institution, Manhattan\'s McBurney School. There, J.D. told the interviewer that he was interested in dramatics, but J.D. reportedly flunked out within a year.(biography.com)

In September 1934, his father enrolled him at Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania. In 1935, while attending Valley Forge, J.D. was the literary editor of Crossed Sabers,


the Academy Yearbook. Salinger\'s grades at Valley Forge were satisfactory. As recorded in J.D.\'s Valley Forge file, his I.Q. was 115. While such scores as J.D.\'s must be treated with caution, this one and another one of 111 that he made when tested in New York is strong evidence that he was slightly above the average in intelligence, but far from the "genius" category. At Valley Forge, Salinger belonged to the Glee Club, the Aviation Club, the French Club, the Non-Commissioned Officer\'s Club, and Mask and Spur (a dramatic organization). While at Valley Forge Academy is where Salinger first began writing short stories. In June of 1936, J.D. graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy. (biography.com).

In 1937, Salinger attended the summer session at New York University. He attended the Washington Square College campus of New York University. There is little documented about J.D.\'s attendance at New York University. Shirley Blaney, a high school student, and the only person in the world to ever interview J.D. Salinger, said that it appears unlikely that Salinger attended New York University for two years. (biography.com)

In 1939, Salinger returned to New York after traveling to Vienna and Poland for a year, to enroll in Whit Burnett\'s famous course in short-story writing at Columbia University. According to Ernest Havemann, "Burnett was not at first impressed with the quiet boy, who made no comments and was interested primarily in play writing. However, Salinger\'s first story, "The Young Folks", which he turned in near the end of the semester, was finished enough to use in Story Magazine, edited by Burnett, Salinger was only 21 years old. (biography.com)

Salinger served as an entertainer on the Swedish line M.S. Kungston in the Caribbean during 1941. It was during this time period that J.D. first started writing short stories and considered story writing as a profession. (biography.com)


When the war began, Salinger wrote to Colonel Milton B. Baker, at Valley Forge Military Academy. Salinger wished to enter the service, but had been classified 1-B due to a slight cardiac condition. J.D. asked what kind of defense work he might do; but it was not long before Selective Services standards were lowered enough, so that he could be was drafted in 1942. In September of 1942, there was a letter announcing that Jerome David was attending the Officers, first Sergeants, and Instructors School of the Signal Corps. In September of 1942, Salinger was in the war.(biography.com)

During the first part of his military service, Salinger corrected papers in a ground school for aviation cadets, probably in Tennessee. While in Tennessee, J.D. was classified

with the rank of Staff Sergeant. J.D. was in Tennessee until June 2, 1943. (biography.com)

At the end of 1943,