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Many, many years ago, when I was a kid, I remember taking an apple to school and giving it to my favorite teacher. Do kids do this anymore? Where did the tradition come from?

-- Mrs. Inman, San Diego

What a quaint notion, Mrs. I. Probably no room in the old book bag these days, what with the Uzis and enough ammo for a three-hour standoff. And even if some student did bring in an apple, I'm sure the teacher would toss it, fearing hidden razor blades. The idea of bringing an apple to the teacher (as a bribe or just an innocent gift) probably originated in New England in the early days of semi-organized schooling, when teachers were paid mainly in foodstuffs and candles and other necessities to supplement their minuscule salaries. Apples were plentiful, so old-timey teachers probably survived on a lot of pie.

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