It is because of the experience I had in the gifted program that I decided to home-school my daughter.

One reason I became interested in architecture is that I remember being taken to an exhibition — I was only 6 or 7 years old, but I remember seeing models and things — of Frank Lloyd Wright’s plan for Baghdad.

I don’t now remember the name of the don assigned to conduct my first tutorial at Cambridge University in the autumn of 1956, but I remember the setting — late-afternoon fog, coals burning in an ancient grate, the don in academic gown seated behind a silver tea service.

We were all these girls from different religions — Muslim, Christian, Jewish — we had no ideas what our religions were.

As in so many places in the developing world at the time, the ’60s, there was an unbroken belief in progress and a great sense of optimism.

(We found no evidence of psychic ability.) The program was cut due to lack of funding, and by middle school I was back in the regular classes of roughly 25 students to a teacher.

I continued to accumulate A’s, cutting classes whenever I could, learning nothing.

Figuring out how things work — and how they can work better — is what led me to become an engineer, a technology entrepreneur, a philanthropist and a mayor.

I guess I can count my lucky stars that there were no Saturday morning cartoons when I was kid.

I remember her as a small woman, but what do I know? She’s in none of the official photographs I have from my elementary-school days, but in my memory, my first librarian is a gentlewhitewoman who wore glasses and was exceedingly kind to this new immigrant.

I do not remember her voice, but I do remember that every time I saw her, she called me to her desk and showed me with an almost conspiratorial glee a book she had picked out for me, a book I always read and often loved.

Before reaching the general theory, you see, we like to have in hand a passing acquaintance with at least some of the facts.