The senior yearbook staff posing for a group shot. I am the one standing on the wing of the airplane.

Second grade and Miss Jefferson and the infamous garbage can incident.

Old Miss MacDonald the kindergarten teacher.

WHAT SCHOOL MEANT TO ME

One of the photos I tinted.

SCHOOL DAYS

Starting kindergarten had to be dramatic for most kids 5 years old and I was no exception.  Jackson Elementary was my school and Miss MacDonald was my teacher.  This woman had been teaching for years and the wear and tear really showed in her face……like 50 miles of bad road.  She was scary to say the least.  I was in the afternoon session, and I was promoted on to first grade when it was time.  Second grade really sticks out in my memory since the old gal, Miss Jefferson, was the teacher.  She was another scary one but me being my true self had to find that out the hard way.  On spelling test day, I had written the answers on my hand and of course Miss Jefferson caught my crime.  As punishment, she had me come to the front of the class and stand in the wastebasket in front of the rest of my class.  Naturally, I failed that spelling test as well.  Talk about being humiliated, I never did that devious deed again.  Just think what would happen in this day and age if a teacher made a kid stand in the wastebasket in front of the whole class…….no cell phone videos back in the day like everyone posting online videos in the now world.

The only other time that stuck out in my mind was while in third grade before Easter, I went to the foothills with a schoolmate and her parents.  While coming down a hill, I fell and rolled down the rest of the way.   My arm was hurting and later that evening my folks called our pediatrician, Dr. Wolfe, a kind woman, and we met her at the hospital emergency room.  After an x-ray of my arm, the technician came back in and proudly announced, “yep, it’s broken”.  It meaning my right collarbone was broken.  I asked my mother why the x-ray technician seemed happy?  Dr. Wolfe called in another doctor who would end up being our family doctor for many years, Dr. Ginsburg.  They taped my right arm up to my chest as if I was pledging allegiance to the flag for the next 6 weeks.  It was at that time, I learned to write somewhat with my left hand since I was righthanded.

I breezed along the rest of my years at Jackson Elementary and before you knew it, it was time to go to Longfellow Junior High School for grades 7, 8 and 9th.  This was the same junior high that my mother had attended.  We lived 17 blocks from Longfellow or 19 blocks from Yosemite Jr. High where my sister, Cynthia, attended.  No school busses back then but my best friend, Kathy’s, dad would drive us part of the way to school each morning. We walked past this elderly man’s house each morning and could see him eating his breakfast through the window….little brats that we were….we would make faces at him each morning until he finally came out one morning and confronted us.  Getting home from school was a different story.  We had to hot foot it up to Ventura Blvd. to the bus stop in front of Whitey’s Pet Shop.  If we missed the city bus then it was a long walk back home.  I sang in the school choir and enjoyed that.  I forgot to mention that in first or second grade I went to a birthday party for a classmate, Buddy Smith, and he had a pony.  I had my picture taken sitting on the pony.  Years later Buddy Smith ended up coming to Longfellow in the 9th grade.  His father had always liked me and was happy to see that Buddy and I were in the same school again.  Buddy and I never dated but we did go on to Roosevelt High School together.  I graduated from Longfellow Jr. High and was about to start Roosevelt High School for grades 10th, 11th and 12th.  When I entered high school in the fall of 1957 as a sophomore, my sister, Cynthia, was a senior and would be graduating with the class of 1958.  My mother had graduated from Roosevelt, as well as my Aunt Charlotte and my sister, Charlotte Rae graduated in the class of 1950.

High School was a big adjustment and this was where I started to take classes I liked and not ones that would prepare me for college or a good paying job.  Certain classes were required like home economics which was cooking and sewing.  I managed to smuggle my sewing project out of class and take it home so my grandmother could help me since she was an excellent seamstress.  One class that I took that I do not regret was typing.  That was a skill that would carry me through to this day.  Miss Kovacevic was the typing teacher and quite strict.  Imagine my surprise when Mr. Frank Attardo showed up as an English teacher since he had also been a teacher when I was at Jackson Elementary. I signed up to take Algebra and the teacher was an elderly lady, Mrs. Bramlett.  Imagine my surprise to discover that Mrs. Bramlett, had been my mother’s algebra teacher years earlier. The only teacher I ever had that I disliked and he disliked me was my English teacher Mr. McCleery.  He almost failed me in English class.  I had always loved cameras and taking pictures and I signed up for Photography class with teacher, Mr. Przybyla, I learned many things in that class, how to develop film and I joined the Photography Club at school.  Yes, that was long before digital cameras…you had to use film and flash bulbs.  I took choir for girls as a class but really wanted to be in Senior Choir.  You had to try out for that one and I could not read music but I got lucky in my junior year and was accepted into Senior Choir.  We had many singing engagements and trips.  Mr. Condit was our leader.  We also put on musicals such as Trial by Jury and the big two night event was Oklahoma.  Those were such fun events.  We even loaned them my grandfather’s double barrel shotgun for a prop to be used in Oklahoma.

In my junior year, I was on the yearbook staff as the photographer, the first time for a girl to be the photographer.  I attended basketball games, football games, and other events.  One time I was to take pictures of the School Board at a meeting one evening.  I was there on time, took the pictures and left only to find out later that I had forgotten to put film in the camera, OOPS.  Back then, nothing was digital like it is today.  In my senior year, I advanced to Photography Editor of the yearbook and I had another student as my photographer.  It was a fun two years working on the yearbook and admiring the finished product.  There were late night deadlines, junk food and silly teenagers enjoying it all.  Mr. Draper, our yearbook advisor, must have had nerves of steel to deal with all of us.

I also took Drama class in my senior year.  Mrs. Merrill was the drama teacher, a real lovely lady.  Our big accomplishment was a two night performance of “The Robe” with someone in the auditorium actually recording it on motion picture film.  I had a small part in the play as Sarah, and I had to sob during my one line.  One day, Mrs. Merrill picked about 4 of us to perform that evening at a retirement/nursing home.  It was just a small skit with me as the only girl and a couple of the guys from class, Mike and Rudy, plus we used Rudy’s dog as a live prop.  As we started to perform our skit, I can’t recall what started us all laughing and we could not stop no matter what we did.  It was unfortunate that we messed up our performance because we had to explain to Mrs. Merrill why “the show didn’t go on”.  I think the only one who didn’t flub his part was Rudy’s dog.  In the skit, we were supposed to be hillbillies and goofy we were.

To graduate from high school you had to take swimming class and you had to pass.  I got an A- in swimming and I never went out of 5 feet of water (my feet could still touch the bottom of the pool), I never opened my eyes under water, and never dove off the side of the pool.  To this day, I cannot swim and I am afraid of the water.  Even in my adult years with private swimming lessons, I still cannot swim.

During high school I never really thought about what I would do after graduation.  I had two ambitions that would soon be dashed due to future progress and inventions.  I had always wanted to be an elevator operator, it sounded like a fun job that I would be qualified to handle.  Alas, soon elevators were all push button and elevator operators were no longer needed.

Second job I thought I could handle was tinting photographs with oil paints.  I hung around the photography studio in Penney’s department store downtown and the owner and her son befriended me.  They showed me how to tint the portrait photos with oil paints.  They gave me old copies that they were not using and I went to work on them using both toothpicks and Q-tips to get the right consistency of the paints and colors.  This was before color film came out.  I was about to get shut down again because shortly thereafter, colored film came out and my hopes were dashed again.

I goofed off more than I applied myself in school but they were fun years and I have many fond memories.  I have attended several of my high school reunions over the years including the 20th, 30th, 40th, 45th, 50th and 55th.  Always fun to visit with old friends and classmates.