Wednesday, August 26, 2015

High school revisited

No, it's not time for another high school reunion. Our class hasn't had one in years and the number that are alive from that class has to be dwindling quickly. I was using the treadmill this morning my mind went directly to the memory library and picked out the volume '1955 through 1958 at Mira Costa High School". A treadmill will send me to the memory library every time!

I remember, that as a freshman, the people I knew in junior high became strangers as they quickly mingled in with popular people. I was soon eating lunch alone. Then, in Mechanical Drawing class, I made the acquaintance of a fellow freshman and a 'nerd' me. We got along well and shared many of the same interests. One day, Earl asked me if I had listened to any of the new music, called rhythm and blues? He said he had run across a radio station where they played it. It was a 50 watt station down in Long Beach with the call letters, KFOX. (KFOX later moved to Mexico and became a 50 gazillion watt station, just across the border from its audience.) In 1955, the station featured Johnny Otis as the DJ and sometimes musical star on his own show. You could only pick up the station late at night and then, only after some fine tuning.

I listened that night and was hooked. It turned out that, Earl and I were the only ones at school that listened to that kind of music. We would compare notes every day about what we had heard the night before. We knew that this was 'Black Music' but that didn't mean a whole lot to either one of us. There were no African Americans living in the beach cities at that time; if there were, we had never seen one. Thanks to my parents, I had been raised to be without prejudice. I really didn't know how that applied in our lily white community but at least the thoughts had been planted in my brain. I did have a secret prejudice, one that I couldn't tell anyone about, and that was towards 'pachucos'.  There were maybe a dozen or more in school. They had a uniform of sorts. Tan pants pulled low with long tailed shirts worn outside the waist band. Duck tail haircuts. And they all lived in North Redondo. It was an odd sort of prejudice as none of them had ever talked to me. They simply seemed threatening.
Earl and I had lunch together so we could talk about some of the scandalous music we had heard; 'Work With Me Annie' followed by 'Annie Had a Baby' by Hank Ballard and the Midnighter's were
examples of that kind of music. We loved it! We reveled in the fact that we knew all about this music and the rest of the high school was clueless. (that didn't last 1956 everyone knew about Johnny Otis and R&B)

Earl and I also attracted other 'nerds', though that wasn't a term that was in use in the 1950's; you get the idea though. As a group or singly, we were purposely ignored. Just another reason why I disliked my high school years...

#miracosta #1955

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