In the summertime between the 4th & 5th grade I started to hear some of my parents conversations about moving. Any decisions made by my parents regarding the family were never discussed with me. I was always told as a matter of fact what would be happening next. This was probably more the rule than the exception with most families at the time. It seems parents let kids have more say today in most everything, or at least discuss things beforehand.
When the word came down that we were moving, I was devastated. The thought of me leaving my childhood friends and familiar neighborhood was hard to comprehend. What I understood clearly was, I didn’t want to go. There was one fact that got me through the initial sadness. We were going to move into a brand new house; which did not exist yet. The house was being built by my dad & uncles. In 11 year old years;(like dog years), that would take forever, so I still had plenty of time. I would be at least married by then, I thought.
Larry Melia & I Just Before I Left the Neighborhood
Moving day arrived in the middle of 5th grade; along with many mixed emotions. In a way, I was really excited to see the new house, but did not want to leave the place I knew & loved. Since the house was on the other side of town, my best friend (Larry Melia) & I made a pact to keep our friendship together by bicycle. The realization that we could still see each other by meeting at the park, or the old neighborhood, made the world right again.
I started back to school at Charleston Elementary within a few days of moving. Even back then I was confident in my own skin, so I didn’t experience the “new kid in class” angst. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, my mom was from England. Upon arrival to the U.S., she joined a club comprised of English women who had also married American soldiers during WWII. One of the women in the club, Betty Misita, lived on the next street with her husband, son, & daughter. Her son Michael was my age & became my first new friend. He helped me meet other kids at school, as well as the neighborhood. As I will get into later, he & his family turned out to be one of the biggest influences in this period of my life.
Mr. Koval was my teacher for both the 2nd half of fifth grade & all of 6th. Of all the teachers I had, I remember the least about him as a teacher. Strangely, what does come to mind, is his relationship with Mr. Davidson, another teacher at the school. All my other teachers seemed to be what you picture they should look & act like. They appeared to me, (for reasons I can’t fully explain) like two big kids, who would rather be somewhere else, looking for a place to cause trouble. Maybe that is why he didn’t make an impression on me as a teacher. ( If you’re still alive Mr. Koval, no offense intended)
Except for the onset of puberty, Marjorie Poplar, & Bonnie McCartney, the rest of my elementary schools years were uneventful. The three things I just mentioned go together hand in hand. I’m sure you guys out there know what I mean. HA! Margy was blonde, Bonnie was brunette, and both amazingly beautiful girls. I could tell puberty was invading me, because for the first time ever in my young life, I was stumbling over words when I tried to talk with them. Even today, this is how I can tell I’m really smitten by a woman.
Coming up in Chapter 4, part 1, will be about the new neighborhood, it’s interesting people, how this period completely changed the course of my life. Part two will cover my experiences in junior high school. ( 7th & 8th grade ) Part 3 will be my stories & trials of dealing with the change of life called… puberty………………
Till next time………………