Archive for August, 2016

Project 52 – Junior High!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

1976_04 Family

It’s time for Project 52, Week 11!

11 weeks ago, in honor of my 52nd birthday, I decided to start Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to reflect on one year of my life.

This week, I’m going to cover the year I was 11 years old — June 14, 1975 to June 14, 1976.

The picture above shows our family in April 1976. Come to think of it, this would fit in well on the Awkward Family Photos website. Across the back is Rick, age 14, in 9th grade, holding Jeff, age 1; then Becky, 13, in 8th grade, holding Nathan, 3 months old (Yes, there was another birth in January 1976.); then me, 11, in 7th grade. Front row is Randy, 7 years old, in 1st grade; Wendy, 8 years old, in 3rd grade; and Ronny, 3 years old.

I got my own camera that year. Apparently we took a vacation and visited both our Grandma in Phoenix and our grandparents in Salem. I like my approach in taking this picture of Jeff and Randy in Phoenix:

1975_07 Jeff and Randy

7th grade was tough. Painful even to think about. I was lonely. My foursome from elementary school had been broken up. Kathy moved to Catalina Island — not far away but very inaccessible. Abby switched to a different junior high school. Darlene went to Brethren Junior/Senior High School with me — but we only had one class together in 7th grade, 7th period math, which was a full classroom and we couldn’t even sit together. I think we even had different lunch periods.

Besides needing to make new friends, 7th grade was when I began to get an inkling that my clothes and hair were completely out of fashion. But I had no clue what to do about it. Just felt wrong and different. I think that was about the time I was wearing a lot of clothes that were given to us from a family at church — clothes that were awfully dingy and old and completely out of fashion. To this day, I can’t handle shopping at Thrift stores. I like things that are New and Shiny. And it fills some hole to tell myself that I actually do deserve new things.

However — despite all that, some wonderful things happened in 7th grade.

For two of the great parts of 7th grade, the way was paved by my older brother and sister.

One of those was going a year ahead in math.

When Rick did it, a couple years before, it was a new thing at Brethren High School. My Mom had to push for it. But Becky had done it, too, and it wasn’t too hard to work it out my year, though I had a different teacher than they had, Mr. Kerby. But math class met in a room that had a back room. So Mr. Kerby let some of us go back there with a teacher’s aide and do ALL the problems in the book, at our own pace.

And I do mean ALL the problems. We had to miss no more than 3 problems on a homework assignment or do them over. I remember one very annoying long division assignment with about 36 problems that I had to do maybe 3 times before I got enough right. (I mean, I clearly knew how to do long division. But there were lots of places to make a mistake!)

We had fun in that back room. And that was how I got to know another lifelong friend, Ruth Douglas. I think Penny Cypert was in that back room with us, too (She definitely took Geometry with us later). And there might have been someone else? Maybe Laurel Yancey? (I’m just not sure….)

Anyway, I remember I spent my Christmas break finishing the 7th grade math textbook. So second semester, I got to take 8th grade math. And that did it! I was now a year ahead in math. (I still say 7th grade is a fantastic year to do that — 7th and 8th grade math is fluff to prepare students for Algebra.)

So yes! Even though my old friends weren’t around, I did make some wonderful new friends. These pictures are dated October 1975, taken at what I believe was my first of many sleepovers at Ruth’s house.

Here’s Ruth:

1975_10 Ruth

And here’s our other friend Jennifer Schilpp:

1975_10 Jennifer

Another thing about 7th grade, for which my older brother and sister had paved the way, was that I was the only 7th grader in high school band. My brother was in 7th grade the year they started the band, and my sister had been in high school band when she was in 7th grade, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to do the same. Especially when you consider that I was also the only flute player. This was also when I began taking flute lessons with Mrs. Chapman, having “graduated” from Mr. Currie, the band director, who wasn’t actually a flute player.

Since that school year ended in 1976, the Bicentennial year, ALL the school’s music groups were going to take part in the annual May Festival, which was usually put on just by the A Capella Choir.

So — the band played some extra-challenging music that year. I especially remember “American Civil War Fantasy” — with a gunshot! Oh, and “Stars and Stripes Forever” — with young me as the only flute player. The entire band progressed wonderfully that year as musicians — and I personally know I was a much better player by the end of the year. The feeling of rising to the challenge was awesome.

We tried to find red white and blue material for dresses! Here are the only 4 girls in band that year, my sister Becky (clarinet), Denette Anderson (oboe), Brenda Perkins (bass clarinet), and me (flute).

1976_04 Band Girls

We went to ACSI Band Festival in San Diego that year. All the other schools had *lots* more, much older flute players, which was quite intimidating, but learning the music so well was still a wonderful experience.

And here’s the band performing at a Bicentennial event in a park:

1976_05 Playing Flute

I’m going to finish with my view from my window, with my beloved jacaranda tree in the green leaf stage. I loved the view of blue sky plus green leaves — almost as good as when the tree was covered with purple flowers. There’s also a piece of crewel embroidery that I finished and actually got framed. (Many years later, I was delighted to learn to knit, because I didn’t have to get around to framing the finished product.)

1975_10 My Room

Though seventh grade wasn’t the easiest year in my life, how nice to look back and see that was the year I accomplished some challenges, and even better, that was the year I made some more lifelong friends.

Project 52 – Double Digits!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

1974_08 Raking

It’s time for Project 52, Week 10!

10 weeks ago, in honor of my 52nd birthday, I decided to start Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to reflect on one year of my life.

This week, I’m covering the year I was 10 years old — June 1974 to June 1975.

My birthday is at the start of summer, so during that time, I’ve got lots of time with my family. This picture with my baby brother Ronny makes me laugh. Baby brothers were fun to play with!

1974_08 Ron Horse

Our family now included Rick — 13 years old, 8th grade, Becky — 11 years old, 7th grade, me — 10 years old, 6th grade, Wendy — 7 years old, 2nd grade, Randy — 5 years old, Kindergarten, Ronny — 2 years old in October, which is when Jeff was born.

This year must have been when Aunt Susie was living in our house. There were a few years, I believe. (My Mom’s younger sister. My Dad’s younger brother David had lived with us for awhile in Washington.) Because I remember that when my Mom was in the hospital for Jeffy’s birth, Aunt Susie was taking care of us. And Ronny clearly came to believe that Susie was trying to replace Mommy. He wouldn’t let her touch him! So Becky and I had to change his diapers and put him in bed until Mom got back. Ronny was exactly 2 years old, so it wasn’t exactly a compliant stage to have Mommy disappear for a few days.

I was still delighted to have another adorable baby to play with.

Now, with Rick and Becky in Junior High, and me left in Elementary School, a conflict developed. My Mom believed that children should get 11 hours of sleep. We got up at 6:00 to make it to school — so we had to go to bed at 7:00 pm.

However — once we hit 7th grade, she stopped even trying to set our bedtimes. It was up to us.

So — the fact that Rick and Becky could stay up as late as they wanted, but I had to go to bed “the same time as the baby!” struck me as a horrible injustice. My defiance began by just pulling my curtain back and reading by the light of the sun outside (which was still up at 7 pm!). But after awhile, I started going into my walk-in closet, curling up on my sleeping bag, and reading in there with the door closed, so that the light wouldn’t go under the door from my main room into the hall.

I was never caught. It’s been suggested to me recently that I’m sure my Mom didn’t actually want to catch me. It was probably more about peace and quiet than about actually getting me to sleep. I felt vaguely guilty at the time (I was, after all, a rule follower) — but was so convinced of the injustice, I was unrepentant.

I do remember that was the year I read Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. I remember looking at the clock and discovering I had stayed up until 9:00! I was reading the part where Beth dies and having a good cry.

And so began a long history of staying up far later than I should to read a wonderful book. I am still unrepentant.

6th grade was Mr. Knapp’s class! He was a wonderful teacher, and another one (like Miss Halberg in 4th grade) whom I loved whole-heartedly. Though his style was very different from Miss Halberg’s.

And couple of things Mr. Knapp did were especially memorable — Sword Drills and Language Arts Baseball.

Sword Drills were what we did for Bible class. (Because the Bible is the Sword of the Spirit.) He’d call out a reference, and you’d see who could look it up the fastest. He had a nice way of determining the winner, back in the day when we all used the same version. He’d say, “4th word, preceding verse,” or “7th word succeeding verse,” or the like, and whoever called out the particular word first would get the point.

But then things got more complicated — for more points. Instead of calling out a reference, he’d start reading a verse. We’d use concordances or knowledge to find the verse. Then he started using some of the same verses he’d used before. Those would be more like 3 points, rather than 5. I still remember that Eric used to hang out on the verse, “Come now, let us reason together….”

Yes, I had the most points at Sword Drills. But I had a very close rival in Daphne Sykes, who was FAST. Her fingers would fly. My advantage was that I could find new verses more quickly, so I’d get more of the high point verses. She was faster at turning pages and blurting out the answer.

It was extremely fun, and very tense competition. And we learned the locations of many important Bible verses — and definitely know the order of the books of the Bible. (That was the year I learned “General Electric Power Company” to remember Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians.)

The other big competition was Language Arts Baseball. It started with just a Language Arts worksheet that Mr. Knapp would send home at the end of every day. A set of words on top. Numbered definitions on the bottom. 20 words per page. You had to match the words with the definitions. They were hard words, even for me, an avid reader.

After awhile, he added Language Arts Baseball. The teams were the rows. One person would be up to bat. The opposing team would be in the field. Mr. Knapp would read a definition, and the person up at bat would try to say the word more quickly than the outfield.

My row, Row 4 won something like the first four weeks of the competition. Then Mr. Knapp decided to modify it to one-on-one. Only one person could be in the outfield, so the whole team had to be good. That week, we went down in defeat to Row 5, Daphne’s row. But the competition continued all year, and I believe Row 4 were the champions for the year.

Because of that competition, I remember that Kathy was in my row, Darlene was in Row 2 (which was also a rival row), and Abby was in Row 3. Besides Kathy and me, the other people in Row 4 were boys. When things really got tense, there were some recesses where Kathy and I spent some time drilling some of them on the Language Arts words.

Did I mention that I like competing? I thought Language Arts Baseball was SO MUCH FUN! I’m afraid, though, that I cried that time that we first went down to defeat against Row 5 — and Dennis laughed at us! And then I was SO ashamed of crying about it. But I was able to quietly go to the restroom with Kathy until I could pull myself together.

Some other memories of that grade are sparked by pictures. This one reminds me that I liked to bake. I had a Betty Crocker cookbook — I still have it — and one day when I was home with a flu bug, I decided to try baking bread.

1975_02 Baking Bread

This picture is from some sort of craft fair at the school. But it reminds me that I enjoyed crewel embroidery.

1975_02 Embroidery

And here’s a picture from February 1975, reading to Baby Jeffy.

1975_02 Reading to Jeffy

Hmmm. I’m clearly not reading a picture book, so perhaps I’m just reading while holding Baby Jeffy.

Oh, another thing I remember from 6th grade was Rawhide Ranch — and that Kathy, Abby, Darlene, and I TP’d the boys’ cabin!

We got permission (from Mr. Knapp!) to do it after the group hike, while everyone was in the Saloon having hot chocolate. I didn’t really do much — I was too nervous, so I was the look-out. But the boys never figured out we did it — which was surprisingly something of a let-down.

Alas! After 6th grade, Abby stopped attending Brethren schools, and Kathy moved to Catalina Island, and later to the Washington, DC, area. So this was the last day of our foursome. Here we are, my dear friends and me, at 6th grade graduation. Ha! Look at that! I was the tallest! We ended up within an inch of each other, but I was then only an inch shorter than I am now — I got my growth, such as it was, early.

1975_06 Sixth Grade Graduation

Project 52 – Nine Years Old and Loving Books

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Nine weeks ago, on my 52nd Birthday, I began Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m posting each week about one year of my life.

At my parents’ house recently, I scanned in lots of old pictures. They have sparked many memories. I was surprised to discover that for the year I was nine — June 1973 to June 1974 — I didn’t scan any pictures at all.

So I’m trying to remember that year without the benefit of pictures. I was in fifth grade at Long Beach Brethren Elementary School that year with Mrs. Becker as my teacher. My best friends were still Kathy and Darlene and Abby.

That was the year Ricky turned 12 years old, started 7th grade, and started going by “Rick.” That was very hard for me to adjust to! Becky was 10 years old and in 6th grade. I was 9 years old in 5th grade. Wendy was 6 years old and in 1st grade. Randy was 4 years old, and Ronny turned 1 year old in October.

But I believe that was the year I fell in love with the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley, so I think I’ll talk about them. And that way I can include a picture — of my Black Stallion books that I collected then — sitting on my shelf today.

black_stallion

I remember that my best friend Kathy did a book report on The Black Stallion toward the end of fourth grade. Mind you, I have no idea what books I did a book report on in fourth grade. But I remember Kathy’s — she did a stick-puppet puppet show of the match race at the end. I’m quite sure it was fourth grade because of the way the classroom was facing (the opposite of all the other grades I was in at that school).

But I remember that I had not read the book when Kathy did the book report. I must have started reading them that summer — and loved them so much! I had a sheet of paper in a notebook where I kept track of how much money I had and how much I needed to buy the next book. They were $2.95 each (for a nice hardcover!). And Man O’ War, based on a true story, was $3.95.

Since I’m pretty sure I started reading them the summer I was nine, it must have been my tenth birthday when I completed my collection. My parents gave me THIRTY DOLLARS for my birthday that year! We went to Pickwick Booksellers in the Carson Mall and I spent all that money on books. I bought the remaining Black Stallion books I didn’t have (except Son of the Black Stallion, which wasn’t there that day) and Man O’ War and The Phantom Tollbooth. So I must have bought seven or eight books that day. (I think my Mom paid any tax. They were generous.)

I did read them all out of order, since I bought them as I earned the money and as they happened to be at the bookstore. (Oh those days before Amazon and before ubiquitous computers!) I must have read The Black Stallion Revolts, one of my favorites, Book Nine, in the summer, because I read it during my nap and didn’t stop until I’d finished — five hours later.

[That reminds me, our Mom required us to take naps when we were home, for her own sanity (at least until we reached 7th grade) — but we were allowed to read during those naps, we just had to stay in our rooms for an hour. This is a brilliant way to encourage love of reading in kids. It also built my lifelong habit of reading in bed.]

Kathy loved the Black Stallion books, too. We got to be rather horse crazy — though later Kathy actually got a horse of her own. It was always just a fantasy for me.

I do have a funny story about Walter Farley’s books. Books 4, 7, and 11, are about The Island Stallion rather than The Black Stallion. Both horses were crazy fast — the books are about horse racing — but The Island Stallion lived in a secret island canyon hidden by cliffs, a descendant of horses the conquistadores brought to America. Only Steve Duncan and his guardian knew about the wild stallion.

I loved the first two Island Stallion books, but Book 11, The Island Stallion Races, is just weird. Aliens come and land on the island and they disguise Steve Duncan and transport him and Flame off the island so they can race and prove how fast Flame really is.

It’s a very strange book. I read and reread all of these books, but that one I only read once.

That’s the first part of the story. The next part happened in sixth grade. I was always a good speller, since, after all, I was a voracious reader with a very visual memory. But I remember one time I spelled the word “coconut” wrong. I had a hard time with it, because I was sure I’d seen it spelled as “cocoanut,” so that’s what I put down. My teacher actually laughed delightedly to catch me in a mistake! (He wasn’t the only teacher to ever do that about me missing a spelling word.)

Okay, now fast forward thirty years. I was reading all the Walter Farley books to my child. We got to The Island Stallion Races (which they liked a lot because they loved stories about aliens), and in two different places, I found the word “cocoanut”!

I interrupted the reading to shout, “I knew it! I knew I’d seen it spelled that way!” I felt so vindicated!

The moral of the story being: Editors, please don’t let misspellings get past you. Small children will be scarred for life.

Okay, back to the year I was nine….

That gets me thinking of other books I loved. The Chronicles of Narnia were tremendous favorites, other ones that I read and reread. I remember putting them aside in 7th grade, sadly deciding I was too old for Narnia. I happily picked them up again in college.

Another series of books I loved were the autobiographical books by missionary Isobel Kuhn. I especially loved Stones of Fire, which I got from our church library.

One of the books I loved to check out from the little Carson library branch on Avalon Street was Sawdust in His Shoes. I recently got that via interlibrary loan and reviewed it.

And that reminds me of another book I loved from that library, Pony for Keeps (I think it was called). I’m going to have to do the same for it! And that reminds me of other favorites, Come on Seabiscuit! and Little Britches, by Ralph Moody. (Both of those I managed to purchase as an adult.)

I also liked books with “Magic” in the title. I loved Magic in the Alley, by Mary Calhoun and Black and Blue Magic, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. And the Edward Eager books! My favorite was Seven-Day Magic. But all of them are wonderful.

The first romance I read was Pollyanna Grows Up, in a copy my mother had once owned. I loved it so much! I later read Pollyanna itself. Those books are wonderful, fundamentally Christian, and unfairly maligned.

Oh, and Bambi! It’s nothing like the movie, not at all trivial or cute. Bambi was another one — along with quite a few of these mentioned — that Kathy introduced me to. Another animal book favorite was Black Beauty, though that one I’d had my own lovely edition since second grade or so.

While I’m talking about books, I’ll mention The Hobbit. I didn’t read it until 6th grade, but that’s another book I loved so much I remember where I was when I was reading it — particularly a time I was reading it on the way to school and had to stop right when Bilbo was in the dragon’s cave looking at the treasure!

Speaking of reading, fourth grade was the year I got glasses. I also got pretty frequent headaches by fifth grade. I know that glasses helped the headaches a little bit.

And in fifth grade I began playing the flute! That might have been the year I quit piano lessons, too — though it might have been sixth grade. I really hated competing in the piano festival. I’d shake. But somehow playing the flute wasn’t as bad. (Yes, I would shake in recitals, but gradually got better.)

But I know I got headaches in the afternoon and often had them during flute lessons, because Mr. Currie commented on them.

Now it’s obvious to me — I was playing on a cement playground for an hour at lunchtime in the bright California sunshine. Without sunglasses. Of course I got headaches!

My Mom said that an eye doctor once told her that her eyes were ten times more sensitive to light than most drivers. She always wore clip-on sunglasses to drive. I don’t know why we didn’t figure out I’d inherited that.

Now I never set foot outside without sunglasses. But it took me years to figure that out. And direct sunshine is one of the very quickest ways to trigger a headache.

I used to go into a dark room with my arm over my eyes. I’d ask my Mom to take my temperature. She’d look at it and say, “You’re not sick.” — So I’d have to go to school the next day. (The rule was that if you had a temperature above normal, you could stay home the next day.) This wasn’t actually a problem with school, since my headaches always went away in the night anyway. (It wasn’t until after my first child was born that I started getting multi-day headaches.) It was sometimes a problem for Sunday evening services at church — I remember times praying to bear the pain. But since I “wasn’t sick,” I had to go to church with the family.

But that wasn’t really all that frequent. I don’t really blame my Mom for not figuring out I had a problem — after awhile I’d take my own temperature quietly in the bathroom and not tell her when it wasn’t a fever. She probably didn’t even know how often I got them. And I didn’t know there was anything I could do. (I discovered aspirin in late high school.)

All in all, fifth grade was happy. There was a fun baby at home, great friends at school, an imaginative life with great books, and swimming in the summer. That’s how I remember it now, anyway.

And yes, now I see seeds of the Librarian I was later to become. Why’d it even take me so long to figure it out? In fact, some time during those years I remember thinking that I wanted to be a writer but wasn’t sure I was good at it and was wishing there was a job about reading books. Why didn’t I know there was a job like that? We went to the library often enough, but I didn’t interact with the librarians much. So I had to wait to discover what I was born to do.

Project 52 – Fourth Grade

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

1972_09 Fourth Grade2

Eight weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m posting each week about one year of my life.

This week I’m looking at the year I was eight years old, from June 1972 to 1973.

That was the first summer we lived in Wilmington, where we have an in-ground pool, so that would have been the summer I learned to swim. We didn’t take lessons, but basically figured it out ourselves. We’d already practiced in a smaller standing pool at the Carson house. But in Wilmington, we learned to swim before we were allowed to go “in the deep end.” Years of summers spent in the pool followed!

And — Fourth grade was the first year I had the entire school year in one classroom! (In Kindergarten we moved. 1st and 2nd grade was the year I moved up a grade. Third grade we moved.) It was the year that Kathy Morris, Darlene Sasaki, Abby Crilley, and I became best friends. I’m pretty sure that would have been the year of my first slumber party — the four of us went to each others’ houses. Though maybe when we were so young, it would have just been the first time I slept over at someone’s house. I did spend the night at Kathy’s and Darlene’s houses before the slumber parties started.

I remember probably the first time I slept over at Kathy’s house. I was feeling shy at the dinner table. We were eating hamburgers, and somehow in a shy way, I was holding my hamburger kind of under the table. There was a roaring sound — and half my hamburger was gone! Their golden lab, Sally, had seized the opportunity for a treat. I was so embarrassed! (They were nice to me about it. But I sure remember that incident. I’m pretty sure it was the first time I spent the night at Kathy’s house.)

Fourth grade is also the only year where the class picture is in the photo album. So here it is!

1972_09 Class Picture2

Kathy and Abby are the first two on the left in the back row. Darlene is on the front row wearing boots, and you can find me! Another friend I still have is Lauri Ann Stone, who is in the middle row, third from the left.

Looking at the picture reminds me how much I loved Miss Halberg! She was very strict (looking back, I think rather awfully so) — but she would talk with us at recess, and I’d pour out my heart — and I loved her.

I went to elementary school back in the days of paddling, and there were some rather awful incidents that year. But I was a “good girl” and was working on being a good little Pharisee and I never did get paddled at school. Speaking of being a Pharisee, that was around the time my parents started paying us to memorize Scripture. They started with different sections my Mom had typed out that we could learn, a lot from James. Eventually, it progressed to chapters. I remember my Mom decided I could earn $10.00 for saying Hebrews 11 and $20.00 for Psalm 119. I did those in 4th grade or 5th grade, before it became a standard 10 cents a verse for any chapter, the first time. Five cents a verse for a reviewed chapter, at least a month after saying it before.

October 1972 was the year I learned that your own mother could have a baby! Ronny was born!

1972_12 Holding Baby Ronny

Let’s see, our family at that time was Ricky, 11 in October – 6th grade; Becky, 9 – 5th grade; me, 8 – 4th grade; Wendy, 5 in October – Kindergarten; Randy, 3; and now Ronny.

I have long said that if you catch a girl when she’s 8 years old and put her around babies a lot — she will be convinced all her life that she is good with babies. I loved holding Ronny, getting him to smile, helping him learn to walk, all of it.

Here’s a picture taken the following January. You can see we still enjoyed playing with the baby.

1973_01 Ronny

And here’s one more picture, taken on “Grandma’s Mountain” in Phoenix still wearing the pink sweater my other grandma knitted for me.

1972_12 Phoenix

Project 52 – Seven Years Old – Meeting my Lifetime Friends

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

1971_06 Seven Years Old

Seven weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52 — for 52 weeks, I’m going to post each week about one year of my life.

Already it seems very strange to me that I only lived in the Seattle area for four years. It was a lifetime at the time!

It especially seems appropriate to assemble this post from California, from the same place we moved to the year I was seven years old. I’ve been visiting family this week for my niece’s wedding, and spending some time at my parents’ house — which is still the same house in Wilmington we moved to in 1972. I got to go through photo albums and scan more pictures for the upcoming years. Of course, many of the photos I won’t post here — of the house or of church or other everyday things — sparked so many memories.

The picture up above is the first one I’ll talk about. If you look closely, you might be able to notice that the eye away from the camera is a black eye!

We had the appointment to get my seven-year-old pictures taken — and a morning before it, my parents were playing tennis. We kids were running around on the tennis courts. I was running from one side of the net to the other — and tried to run in between the net and the post holding it up. It turned out that the rope holding the net up was right at my eye level — and I got a black eye.

I turned seven years old on June 14, 1971. We were still at the house in Carson that summer, and I still played with my best friend, Karen Iwata. Apparently we went over to each other’s houses in the summertime, too.

1971_07 Karen and Debbie

Here I am playing in the bushes with Karen and our next door neighbor, Debbie Wardrop.

1971_08 with Karen

And that’s another picture of Karen and me.

In Carson, our house was so small that Becky and I shared a room.

1971_07 Our room

Hmmm. I know most of the time we had these as bunk beds. Probably to make more room. Becky would hang down from her bunk and annoy me. I wonder if this was after or before that. The doll on my bed is Newborn Thumbelina.

1971_07 Five Kids

And here we are in order. In July 1971, Ricky was still 9 years old, Becky 8, me 7, Wendy 3, and Randy 2. This would have been not long after Becky and Wendy both got glasses.

Here’s a very happy family picture playing Ring-around-the-Rosie.

1971_08 Ring around the Rosie

And Becky and I were still bought matching outfits:

1972_02 Matching Outfits

Third grade in Carson, I loved my teacher (the same one Becky had before me, and I think Ricky, too), Miss Kita. My best friend Karen was still in my class.

Miss Kita had lots and lots of “centers” in her classroom — things to do, games to play, great activities for when you finished your work. That was the year we learned multiplication. Karen and I tended to be the first people done — so lots of play time.

Then — in February, our family moved to Wilmington. We moved into the house my parents still live in today.

They were told that the local school wasn’t a good one, and we started going to Long Beach Brethren Elementary School.

I did not like my new class. Miss Kita was young and fun and her classroom was full of fun things to do. Mrs. Monroe was very old — and said that when you finished your work, you should work on multiplication flash cards. Well, I already knew my multiplication tables. Eventually, we worked out that I could read after doing my work, but it was a far cry from Miss Kita’s class.

When we found out we’d move, my friend Karen started playing more with a girl named Suzanne. I didn’t feel as included. Then we moved and the new classroom was so awful in comparison.

However — little did I know that two friends I met that year would last me the rest of my life.

I don’t think we were really best friends until fourth grade, but in third grade I already did some playing with Darlene Sasaki and Kathy Morris. Years later, when my husband left me and got himself sent from Germany to Japan, unaccompanied — I moved to Herndon, Virginia, where Darlene and Kathe live now.