Things I remember from my past;
I was the only Indian kid in the class in Elementary
School. Other classes had more than one Indian and I wish I was in those
1st Grade Teacher ? I went to something called
Pre-First. I had a broken arm that was in a cast. Maybe it was halfway between Kindergarten
and first grade. I never did find out what Pre-First was even after I became a
2nd Grade Teacher ? I don't know who it was, it was
some lady. Back then children got free medical exams. I got an exam an left my
shirt in the examination room. They brought the shirt to class but I said it was
not mine because I thought I had it on. I checked later and I did not have it on. They
sent a letter to my Mom saying that I had left my "filthy t-shirt" at
school. When my Mom went to school the school sent a note home saying my Mom was
gong to school dirty. My Grandma sent a letter to the school saying her
daughter's skin was brown and she was not dirty. I wonder if my Mom sent a
letter to school?
3rd grade teacher - Miss Lapel. She had a reputation
for being real strict. She went to Alaska, probably on a cruise. She saw a barge
carrying 16 ton of ore. She did not say tons she said ton. She said that ton was
already plural. She got sick and was hospitalized for a while. I don't know why.
We made a song that went "Miss Lapel, go to hell, and I hope you don't get
well." They brought a get well card to class and we signed it. I felt funny
signing it because I sung that song. One time she wanted me to write some kind of paper about Aztecs. I went to an
encyclopedia (we had some volumes and we had the "A") and I copied it
down. I thought I would get an A but I copied it wrong and was surprised I did
not get an A. She really raked me over the coals. This is the grade that we
busted up someone's mission project that was in a field. They had made a mission
out of mud. I don't know why we broke it up. The next day a kid named Jerry
Hester came up with a bunch of big kids and Jerry pointed at me and they drug me
to the principal's office. They took some other kids with me who didn't even do
it. I thought I was going to die. She wasn't in and I
guess I got away with it. I was so scared I was shaking because I heard he had a
4th Grade Teacher - I went to a new school named
Lakeside Farms. They split up the Indian kids between two schools. I guess they
wanted to split up the brown kids. On the first day of class the teacher acted like she really knew me so she must have been the same person as my first
grade teacher. She sent me to this really weird reading thing. We read a story
and made some pictures up. All I can remember was that the story was about a
chicken named something like Santuclaus. They called a group of adults together
and they saw our pictures and we read the story. I don't know why we did that
and I have no idea what it was about. I also remember urinating on myself in
5th Grade Teacher - Mr. Monstronski and he was a mean
guy. The class won some type of contest and we got money. He read some of the
things other classes did with the money. They went on trips, and a picnic and
real fun stuff. He spent the money on some records so he could listen to them in
class. What a bum! Later, when I became a teacher, I was really poor. I can see
now why he spent the money on himself. They were probably something he wanted
but couldn't afford so when he had the chance he went for it. I can see why but
I would not have done it. There was a rumor that his name meant something really
terrible in German but now I know his name was Polish.
6th Grade Teacher - Mr. Riely and he was a great guy.
He really knew how to handle kids. Our class got to put on a play. I was a penny
and I said "and he was born in 1804." It was a play about Lincoln.
Then I played a fair named Elgin. They would say "Heather hasten lovely boy
whose powers we employ blah blah blah there are things to be done." I hated
that introduction. The girls changed in a room and they left the door opened and
the entire class walked by and we looked in. Mr. Riely made me a School Safety
Patrol boy and I got to go to summer camp, He treated an Indian kid like me real
nice. May God bless him.
High School Reunion
I went to my 40th high school reunion. I had never
been any reunions before but the notice said they were going to play oldies and
I like dancing to oldies. It was held in a third rate hotel with third rate
furnishing. There was a moldy smell in the room. There were a bunch of old
people there. They could not afford a DJ and some classmate was playing 45's. He
did not play oldies he just played some cowboy music. There was a white lady
there who I went to school with but she always avoided me in school. Even when
we went to community college and had the same class she would not acknowledge
me. Twenty years later our sons were on the same baseball team and I tried to go
up and say "Hi" but she just nodded and look away so I had to turn
around and walk away. At the reunion she went up and hugged me and said "I
haven't seen you for a long time." Maybe she is one of those people who
finally saw the truth but I didn't want to find out and left her alone. I had to leave early as being around old
people is not my style.
Kids I remember for elementary school "Lindo
Jack Chan- He taught me to write Sam in Chinese. I
forgot how to do it but his Dad had a Chinese restaurant in a are named Bostonia. I never went there
but he was dark like me. My Grandma told me there are dark people like us but
they were Mexican. I thought he was a Mexican.
Sharon Rector - was the same time as Jack Chan and the
three of us talked
one time. I saw her in College many years later and she remembered me.
Bruce Cada or Cadee - was also connected with Jack
Chan. Bruce was the first kid I ever saw who wore short pants. One day he was
gone and Jack said he had been adopted. He must have been a foster kid. Bruce
had a broken lunch pail and he held it closed with his finger. I could hardly
wait for mine to break and I could hold it closed with my finger. My lunch box
had Trigger on the cover and the letters that spelled Trigger. I knew it was a
cheaper lunch pail because all the other kids had fancier ones. It never did
break and it had a Thermos and I think my Mom put hot coco in it. Seems like I
remember being kind of mean to Bruce. Now I saw the same "Trigger"
lunch pail on eBay and I bought it. It is at my office at work.
Donna was taller than the rest of us and she walked
and talked funny. Her wrists were bent and her hands hung straight down. I
remember her stamping her feet and saying "Donya didn't do it." Man
she was strange but then one day she was gone and they said she had been
promoted. I saw her months later walking with her friends and she didn't act
that funny way anymore.
David Cardenas - He was my best friend. He was a short
very happy kid. His mother and father had a different last name than him. I
asked him about it but he kind of avoided it by saying he was in the same
situation as a guy named Wayne, but I knew that Wayne lived with his Aunt. I
went to David's house and stayed the night. David and his bothers and sisters
were dark but his parents were white. Maybe he was a foster kid. I lost track of
him after Jr. High but a few years after high school I heard on the radio that a
guy with his name was killed holding up a liquor store. I don't see how it could
have been him but he did have an unusual name.
Carl Veido - He went to Elementary School with us and
then moved away and then came back. Jerry Hester said he went to Seattle and got
into some trouble and had to come back. I guess he was kind of a loud mouth and
the bigger Indian Kids didn't like him. One day they "Pantzed" him
after school on the lawn. I remember him laying there with his face down with
only his shirt and underwear on. I noticed how none of the adults came to help
him when they "Pantzed" him.
Eating Dirt - I don't know why but when I was a kid I
would eat dirt. It tasted good but some dirt tasted bad and I couldn't eat it. I
guess the kids in school knew it because a bunch of kids came up to me one day
and wanted to watch me eat dirt. So I picked up a clod and ate it. I wonder if
it was bad for me? Many years later I read the book "The Good Earth."
In it, the family was starving and the children were eating dirt.
I also read the book "Up from Slavery," by
Booker T. Washington. He wrote that we was so poor he had only one pair of
socks. Each night he would wash them so he could have a clean pair in the
morning. That was exactly what I was doing when I read the book.
Hostess Twinkies - There were little cakes that came
in a package made by Hostess. There were Twinkies, Cupcakes and Snowballs. There
was some kid in school that would bring Twinkies or Cupcakes in his lunch. He
would eat his lunch and then take out a package and the two Twinkies or
Cupcakes. I really wanted to do that. I wanted to take out a package and open it
in front of everyone and eat them. I thought that would be so neat. I knew my
Mom could not afford to buy them but I begged and begged and my Mon finally
bought some packages of Twinkies and it said 10 cents on each of them. I was so
happy when I had lunch because I could take out the package and open it in front
of everyone and I could smile while I ate it. When I opened my lunch I only
found one Twinkie. My Mom had opened the package and took one out and saved the
other one for the next day. I knew it was because we were poor and she was
trying to stretch the budget. She only did that for one week and I never asked
Many years later I told my new wife the story. When
she came home from work the next day she had a package of Twinkies, Cupcakes and
Birthday Presents - When I was a kid and had a
Birthday I would want toys. Even the word toys sounded special to me. But I
would get T-shirts, socks and underwear. I would act happy and smile but I
really wish I could have gotten toys.
Underwear - This reminds me of clothing. When I was in
high school my Mon would buy me second hand clothes. Even my underwear was
second hand. The other kids had tight fitting underwear but mine had big loops
for the legs and sagged because the elastic was all shot and sometimes the
elastic would hang down. Theirs was bright white but my was faded and looked
old. We had to go to the gym and shower and change clothes. I did not feel real
bad about it because I was always that way and there were other kids there who
did not have bright underwear and I was friends with them.
Blue Jeans - My Mom called my pants blue jeans. They
weren't Levis but they lasted a long time. When I got to Jr. High I begin to
notice that other kids did not wear blue jeans. They wore the kind of pants you
see in church. I didn't have any like that. One day some people gave used
clothing to the Indians. I found a pair of pants that were like the ones the
kids in school wore. I wore them to school and felt real good. When I got home
before I could change into my play clothes my Sister sprayed water on me and I
ran and fell down. I tore the knees out and couldn't wear the pants any more.
Another funny thing happened to me. I used to be real
tired in the morning and was half asleep when I went to school. One day I got up
and put on a clean pair of pants. The waist was tight and the blue jeans were
really soft. So I went to school and didn't think anything about it. I came home
and my Sister said, "Do you have my pants on!" I said "No"
and she said to look at the label and see if it read Missy size 6. It did.
Dinosaur Park - When I
was a kid the small town of Alpine had a Dinosaur Park. From the road you could
see a Tyrannosaurus and Brontosaurus. The rest was covered by plants so you
could not see everything. As any child I would watch in excitement as the park
was created. We had to drive through Alpine on our way to Viejas. Finally the
park opened and I could see people going in. My Mom told my Dad to see if we
could go in. He said he read in the paper that it was too expensive. She keep
asking him so as we drove by be stopped on the opposite side of the road and
went over to see. He came back and said it was too expensive and we drove away.
As we drove away I saw a little girl, about my age, dressed real nice with a
dress and matching hat. She held the hands of both of her parents as she walked
into to park. I wish I could have been that little girl and got to go into the
park. The park was not open too long and it closed. For may years afterward the Tyrannosaurus
and Brontosaurus were standing there. The Brontosaurus eventually
lost his head.
Fire - As kids we were not supposed to play with fire
but one day my neighbor Tommy, my Sister and I started a fire. Tommy had matches
and we went far from our house and kept the fire small so no one would see it.
All of a sudden my Mon came walking up the road. Tommy ran away and my Sister
and I got whipped. I asked my Mom how she knew we were playing with fire. She
said she could see the smoke but we were too far away for her to see the smoke
and it was behind a small hill. To this day I do not believe she saw the smoke.
Even as a parent I can't figure out how she knew we were playing with fire. Now
my Mom and Dad are gone and I will never know, at least in this world.
Another Mystery - We did not have a flush toilet we
had an outhouse. It was real scary to go there in the dark. You could see the cemetery
from the outhouse. One time I took a flash light, I think it came from my Dad's
job, and went to the outhouse. I set the flash light on the seat and it rolled
into the hole. I looked down and saw it deep inside the pit still shining. I had
to go tell my Dad and I got whipped. He went out and came back with the
flashlight. I asked him how he got the flashlight out and he just grumbled. I
never could figure out how he got it out. Maybe he used two sticks and grabbed
it? To this day I do not know how he got the flashlight out. It is one of those
things that I will not know about in this world.
Marbles - In elementary school there would be marbles
season. Everyone would play marbles. It was fun winning or losing marbles. I
don't know why but some marbles were shooters. They just shot better than other
marbles. When you traded you would say "Its a shooter." and you would
get more marbles for it. That kid named Jerry, who ratted me out to the big
kids, took me to his house one time and opened a drawer and it was full of
marbles. I wanted to have a draw full of marbles too. I saved and collected and
got a small collection of marbles but one day I looked at my collection and they
were all old and chipped and I remembered his were smooth and new. I stopped
collecting after I noticed that.