I sat on the third grade side of the class and on the wall nearest my desk hung a huge world map. We learned the continents and the oceans from that map. I studied the map whenever I could. One day while reading The Hardy Boys' Mystery of the Chinese Junk, I happened to notice "China" on the map. From that moment on, whenever I read a book, I would attempt to find the location of the setting on the map, often asking Mrs. Bunch if I couldn't find the place on the map. She would graciously help me if the setting could be found on the map, teaching me map reading skills in the process.
I was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Bunch as my teacher again in third grade, and she remembered my interest in maps. I soon discovered a book (I wish I could remember the title) about a family that was traveling through every state in the Union. I was fascinated by that book as there was a large map of the United States in the center of the book. Each chapter featured the state the family was visiting and, of course, a map of that state.
By the end of that year, I could read a road map and insisted on having my own map when my family hit the road for Florida for our family vacation. As we approached the Alabama / Florida state line, my father took a wrong turn.
"Daddy, you took a wrong turn. Mom told you to turn the wrong way"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, sir. I've got it right here on the map."
"Let me see that map."
Sure enough, my father confirmed my directions. He turned to my Mom and then to me, "You're the official Lowe family navigator from now on."
And I was.