Growing up in San Diego was wonderful. I had many friends and girlfriends of all races and ethnicities. We would play dodgeball, kickball, and baseball in the street until the street lights came on. Monopoly, Parcheesi, card games and pick-up sticks were some of my favorites. I learned to swim at the Boys Club of America, and living near a canyon edge, my friends and I would explore their depths and pick and bring home wildflowers for our mothers, as well as the obligatory tadpoles. I had an ant farm and spent hours watching ants tunnel and build their home. However, my mother would not let me keep them in the house – I wonder why.
Elementary school (Chollas and Horton) back in the 50s and early 60s was not like they are today. We could come to school early and gather playground equipment and play on the school grounds until the bell rang for classes to begin. We had a 15-minute recess in the mornings and a 15-minute recess in the afternoons with an hour for lunch. In fact, if we had time left after eating lunch, we could gather up the playground equipment and play until the bell rang. Baseball, kickball, and tether ball were my favorite games. We could also stay after school and play with the school equipment as long as our teacher was still in school. But when she left, we had to return the equipment and go home. Nevertheless, the school playgrounds were always open and we could come on the grounds and play using our own equipment.
During the summer, my elementary school had activities for the neighborhood kids. Most of these activities included some sort of crafts such as paintings, ceramics, etc. Of course, we could always check out playground equipment for neighborhood baseball or kickball games. But Friday afternoons were my favorite, for we got to watch movies for a dime, in the school auditorium. My favorites where “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allyson” starring Robert Mitchum and Debra Kerr, and, “The Unforgiven” starring Audrey Hepburn and Burt Lancaster. Today you would be hard pressed to find schools that were so much a part of the community.
Heaven Knows Mr. Allyson:
In 4th grade, after lunch, our teacher would read to us. I always looked forward to that part of the day. My favorite story was “The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The story completely engaged me with the antics and survival of a close-knit family of children living in a boxcar.
Towards the end of summer between 5th and 6th grade we moved into our new home at 5217 Roswell St.. I won’t write about that because that was done in a separate post. I really enjoyed 6th grade and my favorite activity of all times in elementary school was 6th grade camp.
We in San Diego had the opportunity to attend camp for a week in the mountains—the cost was $45.00 ($466.76 in 2023 dollars.) My class attended Camp Marston. If my memory serves me correctly, most of these camps were former CCC camps, but Marston was a YMCA camp. We lived in cabins, did craftwork, hiked at night, studied nature, cut trails to name some of the activities. By the way, each cabin was assigned specific duties on a rotating basis to keep the camp, kitchen, and dining room clean.
One last thing about growing up in Glencliff. I took up playing the accordion- mainly because the young girl living next door to me was learning how to play. We would practice together. Unfortunately she and her family moved during the summer of 1960 and I never saw her again. However, she kept in contact with my mother – I found her high school photo and a beach photo a few years ago in some of my mother’s correspondence.
Anyway I kept up my accordion practices in spite of the fact that I had to give up my lessons. My family didn’t want my music instructor climbing the hill to our new house. Later I learned there was an accordian lesson studio on Federal Blvd just east of 47th street. I would ride my bike to the studio to continue my lessons. But today I still have that accordian that cost my father $120.00. Very expensive in those days, the cost was based upon the number of cords the accordian had – in my case 120 cords. The cords are the push buttons on the left side of the accordian.Click here for photos part 3 (seven Slides)
1. Daniel, Doris, P. Frank Freeman Sr., Rano and of course the 1958 Mercury. Photo in fron of 4855 Guymon St.
2. Painting of my brother Rano on the steps at 4855 Guymon st. Painting was accomplished around 1959.
3. Portrait of my mother Doris. She is standing at the entrance to Horton, elementary school. 1959/1960
4. We used a basketball as our kickball.
5. Horton Elementary school, 1960
6. What a goofy looking kid. Fifth grade school portrait.
7. Family portrait. My brother and I are not so well dress, but our mother is. if you look closely she is wearing gloves.