1949 – 1952 The Junior High Years Part 2
At least two summers, when I was about eleven, I went to visit my Aunt Bea, Uncle Al and their kids for a couple of weeks in San Francisco. Bea and Al had met at the Trianon Ballroom in Southgate during the war when Al Meschi was in the Navy. They were married almost immediately after the war in 1946.
On my first summer in San Francisco I joined the Portola Branch of the San Francisco Boys Club and on one occasion I got a chance to learn a bit about the media. In those days, the first game of the football season for the San Francisco Forty Niners, was a charity event.
The first time I went to San Francisco the Boys Club held a contest to see how many tickets to the event each Boys Club member could sell. I had a couple of books of tickets to sell and they were assigned to me. After I had sold a couple tickets, I lost the two books.
As a result, my Uncle Al had to pay for the 22 tickets that were lost. The result was that I won the ticket selling contest. The winner received a football with the signatures of all the 49’rs and lunch with the Mayor of San Francisco. I really felt bad because I didn’t really win and my uncle had to pay.
I did go the Mayor’s Luncheon and met him in his office. I was presented with the football and the media covered the entire proceedings. The media didn’t like the fact that a L.A. kid had come to San Francisco and beat the local kids in this contest. There were quite a few reporters at City Hall and I tried to explain that my uncle had paid for the tickets I lost. They would not accept the truth and decided that I had sold over two hundred tickets. They actually printed that in the San Francisco Chronicle, that I sold over two hundred tickets. What they looked like to me
They wouldn’t listen to the real story, about losing the tickets. Instead they wrote something like “Why does it take a L.A. kid to come up here and show our San Francisco kids how to sell tickets to a 49’r football game?” I learned at a young age you can’t trust the accuracy of what the media covers as news. I didn’t realize that at the time, but I do now.
As luck would have it, the next day a janitor found the tickets I had lost. They had slipped through the back of a locker and when the janitor turned them in my uncle got his money back. I was really happy about that and the San Francisco kid who had come in second got the football. They didn’t redo the lunch with the Mayor and the Chronicle didn’t report the truth.
I also played baseball for the Portola Branch and one year they asked my uncle Al if he would make sure I was back to play for them again. I was a good baseball player, mostly because of uncle Al. Uncle Al was a very old school, hardworking, man’s man. For his entire working life, he drove a bright yellow cement truck. He made it the shining example of the cement truck drivers in all San Francisco.
It shined the way it did the day it was delivered. The truck was spotless. His personal car was spotless, you could use it to shave, it looked like a mirror. He told me once he didn’t believe in buying anything without paying cash. Every car he bought he paid cash and he had to be a car salesman’s dream come true. A man with immense pride and cash.
One weekend he and my step dad, my mom and aunt Bea went to Las Vegas and Al couldn’t get a hotel room because he didn’t have a credit card. He had a thick roll of cash, but no credit card. He never had a credit card as far as I know, he didn’t believe in them.
When I was a kid, Al also played AA baseball. He played left field and batted fourth, the cleanup position. I saw him hit a home run decked out in his baseball uniform and I really liked Al a lot. He’s the man who taught me how to catch and throw a baseball when I was a young kid.
He started by just tossing a hardball with a pretty high arc. Over time the arc would get less and he would throw harder. I’ll never forget the day he handed me a catcher’s mitt and started throwing the ball. He would throw three or four balls at the same speed and then ask me if I thought I could handle a faster one. I never said “No,”
Finally, he got to the point where he said the next one would be full speed and told me that I shouldn’t drop the glove below my head because he was using my head as the target. Then he burned one in. I have no idea how fast that ball was, I just know that he could have been a AAA pitcher and he had to have a fast ball around 85 miles an hour.
I said he burned it in because when I got it, it burned my hand and knocked me down. BUT, I caught it and every other fast ball he ever threw at me. I think I was about nine or ten years old. Because of what Al taught me I was always first pick in elementary school, junior high and at the park, Manchester Park. I could pitch, play short stop, third base or any of the outfields. What do I mean about “First Pick?”
Back in the forties and fifties kids played at the park with no parents there. During the summer when I wasn’t working I would go to Manchester as often as I could. Back then the kids picked their own teams. The park had four baseball diamonds and if you didn’t get picked for the top team on the number one diamond you went to the next diamond and then the next and then the last one was for the losers.
If you didn’t get picked at all, you probably went home a very sad kid. I didn’t get picked by the 16 years old group when I was 12, but I would try and I could hold my own with the fourteen-year old’s. There were many days when I thought I could make an older better group of kids and one day I did. More pride sets in, a pride that kids today no nothing about.
Today, kids don’t learn anything about what a kid was taught in those days at the park. We learned to socialize, we learned to wait our turn, to have patience and work hard for what you want. We learned that practice makes perfect and most importantly we learned if we didn’t have it, we didn’t have it. Even more important we never complained to our parents. Our life was ours, not theirs, and we had a life of our own, today’s kids don’t.
From a growing boy’s perspective, my favorite and lasting episode at Bret Harte was with a girl for the last nine months or so in junior high who was my dance partner, the girl named Virginia, (not her true name). Virginia was well endowed, (polite for big tits), and for some reason she liked me. As time went by she liked me enough to let me fondle her tits, even in class.
In Art class, she sat in front of me in the back of the classroom. I was in the last row and she sat in front of me. The desks were made so the front of my desk was the back rest of hers. This would allow her to turn to the right with her right arm on my desk which placed her left tit available and within reach of my right hand below desk top level. I had a field day with that arrangement.
Because the Art class was just before lunch, the teacher liked to leave five minutes early to beat the line in the cafeteria. He would ask me, (I was his best art student), to make sure the brushes were clean, clean up the back room and lock the door. I always volunteered and Barbara would stay and help.
I would do everything the art teacher asked me to do, in a different order. I locked the door first. We rushed to clean things up and she would bless me with allowing me to touch and kiss and my first bare tit. I really loved Virginia’s tits. It’s amazing that I was fourteen at the time and I had no idea of any other kind of sex. The thought of intercourse never entered my mind and I don’t think she knew about it either. Had we known I believe we would have probably done it.
So mark up one point for not teaching our kids about sex in school.
In Spanish class the desks were arranged in three rows of two desks side by side with two isles, kind of like an airline today with seats two by two with two isles. Barbara and I arranged to get the last seat in the back corner for me and her in front of me. With the two by two seating another girl sat directly next to me and she was the Miss prude of the school. She wasn’t very pretty, but she had a nice set of very large tits.
The first time Jane, (not her real name) realized I was fondling Virginia’s tit she almost had a coronary. She started shaking and looked like she was about to scream. I didn’t want her to blow the whistle on us so by instinct I placed my hand on her right thigh. She froze and she looked like her brain was processing her thoughts at an extremely high rate and within a couple of seconds she slumped forward so her tits were just below the desk top.
With that she took my hand and put it against her right tit. This all took like 3 seconds. After a quick feel, I slowly moved my hand away and we just smiled at each other. After that first feel she would occasionally slump forward, but I had to make sure Virginia was writing or reading before I dared to fondle Jane. Virginia was very jealous and she was my main squeeze, pardon the pun.
When I wasn’t working selling papers I had thirty minutes to get home after school. If I was late I would get one swat for each minute I was late after 3:30 PM. At times, I liked staying after school to play handball, baseball or football so I would stay late knowing I was going to get the swats, but I didn’t care. Still, I wasn’t crazy, I would run all the way home, about three miles, so I could keep the swats to as few as possible.
It’s actually really funny that Virginia and I hardly ever kissed and I seldom touched her anywhere else. I don’t think either of us knew there was anywhere else or what intercourse was. Well, I didn’t.
During dinner, my mom and Tony would warn me about not going out after dinner. I always had to do the dishes and the last thing I did was take out the garbage. There were no garbage disposals back then. When I got the urge, I had other plans and as soon as I finished the dishes and took out the garbage I was out the back door on my way to Virginia’s house. She lived just two blocks away.
I knew I was going to get spanked when I got back, but her tits were more important to me and well worth the spanking.
It wasn’t a daily thing at school, she actually decided when. She would also invite me to visit her when she wanted me to. We would sit on the porch and when we were sure her parents weren’t going to catch us she’d let me play with her bare tits. I was in heaven.
About six months before graduating from junior high, we moved to 242 East 88th Place which was about two miles east and one block north of our 89th Street home. That move put me out of the range of any nightly visit to Virginia’s tits and in the Fremont High School District. That move started my seemingly never ending race trying to out run a carload of black guys. 242 East 88th Place today
Cars full of black kids were always on the lookout for anyone they could beat up. If and when they saw me, the race was on. You’d be surprised how fast you can run when a carful of black teenagers is chasing you.
Luckily, the alleys weren’t paved and they were full of chuck holes. Their car couldn’t speed up enough to catch me most of the time. When they did catch me, they usually smacked me around until they had their fun. They knew I was just a kid and they didn’t get serious until I was older. But every once and awhile I would get one in and that would just piss them off more.
After moving to 88th Place the only big event at that time was my junior high’s graduation night when everyone was supposed to have a date. I didn’t have a date, but I pretended I did and went to the Trianon Ballroom in Southgate. I was wearing a navy-blue jacket, gray slacks and of course, a white shirt and tie. My mother actually let me go thinking I had a date. She was real proud of me, all dressed up in the clothes she bought at Desmond’s. Graduation Picture 1952
The fact that I dressed with a jacket and tie is a sign of the times. In 1952, kids dressed the way their parents did and that was the normal thing to do. It wasn’t until the 60’s that kids rebelled against anything their parents represented, especially in music and the clothes they wore. Back then I was into big bands and jazz, all because of my family.
The “Mexican” in our family made it so I also loved, and still do, Mexican ranchero’s and all kinds of Latin music. It’s our other tradition. Back to my night out. I left the house and walked to Manchester where I took an eastbound bus to Southgate CA, about a half hour east and the first small town east of South Los Angeles. That’s where the Trianon Ballroom was.
The Trianon was one of the places all my aunts and uncles went during World War II. I saw Horace Hiedt and His Triple Tonguing Trumpeteers. Horace was not the kind of band I liked, but I didn’t know where else to go. I still had never been on a date and was a bit gun shy to try. I would still remember when my mom found the money I had saved back when I was in the seventh grade. After an hour or so and a couple of cokes, I went home.
That was my junior high graduation night party. The move to the east put me right on the borderline of the black and white area in south LA. Back then anything west of San Pedro Street was South LA and east of San Pedro St. was south central LA. Our house was four houses west of San Pedro.
I was going to start high school at John C. Fremont High. It would be the first school I would attend that had black kids and I didn’t know anyone, I had no back up. Every buddy I had had was going to Washington High, an all-white school. I really felt alone, but what the hell I was young and starting HIGH SCHOOL!!!
Next up, 1952 – 1952 Fremont High School