When I was 12 at All Saints School in Northeast Portland, I found a new way of doing reports for class that brightened everyone’s day. I would saunter up in front of the class and recite my report as a TV newsman reporting a breaking news story.

I tried to be like Huntley, Brinkley or Cronkite. But it probably turned out more like Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh In,” with a touch of Soupy Sales.

I sat at a desk and faced the class. I tapped the desktop with a pencil as I narrated to give a newsroom typewriter sound. The pencil doubled as a microphone.

Sometimes I would interview notable figures. I portrayed both interviewer and interviewee. That required more props. My favorite interview was with Abraham, the father of monotheism. He was one gregarious guy. I had to switch in and out of a fake beard and a robe.

It was popular with the class. At first, I was surprised that Sister Mary Alberta allowed it. But she seemed really to get a kick out of it. She was even my assistant on a couple occasions.

All broadcasts came complete with a commercial, most of which I have forgotten. One involved a bottle of green pills from a novelty store that purported to make those who ingested them temporarily insane. After the commercial, Sister Mary Alberta smiled and extended her open palm, saying, “I want to see if they work.”

Everyone’s favorite shows were the ones in which I went up to the blackboard and sketched. The caricature Timid Tom came out of that.

A classmate told me that Timid Tom was my alter ego, myself back from when I was too nervous to face the class.

The nerves and the awkward, clumsy-footed, Dick van Dyke brand of tripping over the ottoman slapstick that went along with the show made it all the more fun.

Van der Hout, an All Saints School graduate, attends Mass at St. Pius X Church in Northwest Portland and Mount Angel Abbey.