A Celebration From the Past

First off, HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!!

I hope everyone has spent this weekend enjoying the fruits of their labor! Their family!

Next, I wanted to have a special friend of mine give his story.  Why is he so special?  Everyday of his life is meant to inspire anyone with a desire for higher education who is “afflicted” with autistic like tendencies.  Although we have not met in person we have learned alot about each other through social media, which is one of the only reasons that I continue with social media outlets.  I have  a hard time promoting ANY part of my blog.  I’m not good at it…just ask my family about testifying my faith.  I’m such a procrastinator it isn’t funny!!!  

The story of meeting my friend Henry is through a mentor of mine named Dennis.  When I was in college I joined this awesomely great crazy sorority….we call ourselves The Delts.  We are a local sorority and most of us misfits, but we fit in with each other.  These girls were the best things that ever happened to me.  Our sorority faculty mentor was Dr. Dennis.  He was a women’s lib teacher and history professor.  He’s written several books and was a big part of the reason that I started to believe that women had more power than what they knew they had.  I got onto the social outlet only a few years ago and found Dr. Dennis, which eventually led me to Henry.  

Henry is a professor of math and a lover of all knowledge!  He supports my autism movement and all self empowerment no matter the race, sex, creed, or religion of the person.  I respect him fully, so please enjoy his story!


Looking back at 84 years of my life, with 60 years as a highly successful research mathematician, I find that I resonate so much with the autism spectrum and OCD aspergerish patterns of behavior that it may be of value for me to look at how I survived and accomplished so much in my life. I am indebted to Alena Jeanne for inviting me to set down these remarks.

I was a very picky eater and Mom had to learn that I would only eat certain foods. I have total rapport in this regard with Dorian Izzo.
As a small child I was totally scared of people, socially isolated, unable to make eye contact, an unusual kid. Even now I cannot remember what color my parent’s eyes were. I was buried in my own inner world. I was socially awkward, having only a few intimate friends. I did not go to dances or date, and I was 33 years old before I ever kissed a girl. She later became my second and present wife. 

School was a torture as I had to learn and do things in my own special way. Bullies hurt me, and teachers said I asked too many questions. When they told me God created the world I asked who created God. They said I couldn’t ask that. I said I could, as asking questions is the only way I can learn. 

I had enormous trouble learning good handwriting, a skill I have never mastered. In college I did learn to do some reasonable printing. But during 53 years as a college teacher my students had to suffer with my wretched blackboard writing which is still a crazy scribble. Later I learned to write better Chinese than English. I flunked the first college algebra course as I essentially told the teacher he was an idiot. Mom got them to get me a better teacher and I made a perfect grade.

My mother had been a teacher and she helped me at home to learn arithmetic and spelling. I am OCD aspy about correct spelling and annoy people by instantly correcting their spelling errors. I read a newspaper completely in sequence, parts A, B, C, D in exact order. I cannot skip a section. Numbers fascinate me.

Preferring to stay at home as a child I began to read school books of my mother and her sisters. Mother encouraged me to study languages and I seized on German as a favorite. I learned to spell German flawlessly. I spent many years in college learning the language. 

In school I was not athletic, not liking bodily contact with others. I was scared to death of swimming. The only sports I liked were walking, running and high jump. At these I was very good. Being socially awkward I spent all my time studying and immersed myself totally in books on math and science. No wonder that I excelled in math. I was a complete aspy geek or nerd! I did not learn to drive a car until I was 57 years old. I hated having room mates in college and this was one reason I did not go on to finish a doctorate, and achieved my success in my own way. Nevertheless, because of my expertise I have directed doctoral work of others.

Some aspy/OCD daily habits I have: spelling and pronouncing words backwards and picking up nails, nuts, bolts, screws etc. along the street all the time. I was so insistent on this as a small child that my poor mother made the pockets in my pants of heavy canvas because I would roam the neighborhood picking up pounds of nails all the time where houses were being built. My parents did not try to change my behavior and just let me grow and develop and be ME. I do not think I understood other people socially until I was 30 to 40 years of age. It has been a slow process.

I think mom put up with my odd behavior because I was very special to her; she was nearly 40 when I was finally born, and it made her so happy. In 1964 when she died I found she had left me a letter saying she had loved and prayed for me for 13 years before I was born.

My social isolation probably accounts for my success in research. I have published over 200 papers in 18 countries since 1954, and am still very active in this work. I held NSF research grants, was a consultant to the National Security Agency, and elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and edit journals in several countries. 

I now work with a colleague who is a Ph.D. mathematician. She and I are writing a series of online tutorial books based on 64 years of my work. Like myself she is very intense in doing mathematics and we seem to think so much alike.

Henry W. Gould, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics,
West Virginia University.
Morgantown, WV 26506

Thank you Henry for giving us the gift of your knowledge…….don’t be shy to come back and share with us your online tutorials….and if you ever felt it in your heart to develop some for the autism community I would be than happy to help….(and by help I mean to tell you how to make it a pretty website :-P)  

The world is a better place for men like you!!!!!

As always, live this day without reservations…………………..

Give fully of yourself and you will not regret the last day and will look forward to the next!



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