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On The Light Side

August 10, 1988

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ Six-year-old John Peter Mavraganis is connoisseur of garbage disposal.

He sketches garbage trucks for fun. The weekly trash pickup is like a trip to the candy store. He has memorized the names of area trash-disposal companies by studying the Yellow Pages.

His passion runs so deep that he talked his baby sitter into writing a letter to Eastern Waste Industries, his favorite, to request the company fulfill his dream: a ride on a garbage truck.

Saturday morning, after a sleepless night of expectation, John Peter boarded a truck and headed out with a driver. It was heaven.

″He’s still flying high,″ said his mother, Libby Mavraganis. ″All day, he’s either drawing EWI trucks or out playing Dumpster.″

The disposal company had never received such a request.

″I’ve never seen anything like it,″ said Bob Schwartzberg, an assistant division manager. ″I told his mother that if I would have known about him a couple months earlier I would have hired him as a salesman.″

Mrs. Mavraganis attributes her son’s strange fascination to an intense interest in mechanics; instead of bedtime stories, he asks her to read helicopter specifications to him.

″He says he likes the garbage trucks because they’re big and made of steel and can pick up the Dumpster. He spots that hydraulic arm and goes crazy.″

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MAGGIE VALLEY, N.C. (AP) - Driving instructor Bruce Carden wasn’t about to change his style of teaching for a new student, and he told her so.

″He said ‘I may hit you; I may swear; I may grab your arm.’ And I almost said ’Forget it,‴ recalled Sister Francine Sartor, a 60-year-old Roman Catholic nun.

But Sister Sartor accepted Carden’s gruff terms, and in three weeks proved to be the best student driver Carden says he has taught.

For three weeks, the two set out on Haywood County’s highways and back roads.

On their last outing he guided Sister Sartor to the driver’s license office.

″She said, ‘Will you pray with me?’ And I’m telling you, she prayed to every saint in the heaven. I never knew there were so many,″ Carden said.

Sister Sartor passed each part of her driving test, coming within one answer of a perfect score on the written portion.

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