Nov 1, 2014

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Three: Perfect attendance because Narbonne High School wasn't all about education!

I am quite certain you don't know this (unless you are one of the millions of children and young people who attended a school within the Los Angeles Unified School District) but, there is a special break in morning, from classes, of about 20 minutes for ¨nutrition.¨  When I was going to Narbonne High School (Class of Summer ´61) we loved you know why?  It wasn't very nutritious but they did sell FRESH cafeteria baked HUGE spiral frosted Cinnamon rolls and Grilled Cheese sandwiches and they were 10 cents each!  Milk 5 cents.  Yes they did and they couldn't have started my day any better even if they hadn't tried so hard to kill me/us with grease and sugar.  

I loved High School in Los Angeles and I had three years perfect attendance to prove it.  I also received the jeweled ¨N¨ (for most active male, Lynn Carmichael the most active female) at graduation. 

When I became 16 years old I applied for my Drivers Permit...I also took Drivers Education in High School (we all did) because car insurance prices were lower for those of us who were good citizens (little did they know)...about six months later I got my California Drivers License with a perfect 100% written and also a great Driving Test score. Life was good and my friend Ralph and I went off to find out who we really were...we had a strong suspicion but didn't know for sure.  

Top secret we were. 

Ralph was the very first fellow student I spoke with my first day of school in California the year before.  We were waiting in the lunch line, he ahead of me with a battery operated radio pressed to his ear listening to popular music.  I interrupted and said ¨what kind of radio is that¨ and Ralph turned around, looked down at me like the very rich kid that he was, and said ¨Philco¨...end of conversation for a year. 

Ralph, like some of the teenagers I became friends with at school, was from a very wealthy family.  Wealthy friends mostly lived inside the gates at Rolling Hills or in Palos Verdes Estates or Portugese Bend and had horses, elegant cars, extra large homes, yachts and the biggest swimming pools.  I liked that part.  Often I was included in non-stop social activities and I liked that part too.  Life was good.  I was busy at school, very busy and loved Journalism class and worked every year on the school newspaper.

Under Len´s Lid, was the name of the column I wrote as Feature Page Editor for the Narbonne High School student produced/journalism class newspaper (Industrial Arts print shop printed it): The Green and Gold  I was also the Advertising Manager and sold ADS like they had never been sold before (I pitched every one of the small local merchants I could find because I got a 10% Commission and it was more of a part time job)!

As Feature Page Editor (the class and job, along with Advertising Manager, I refused to give up because of the perks. I was Advertising Manager for life and they liked it, the money rolled in) I often received two¨pairs¨ of tickets for Previews and Priemers of NEW MOVIES in nearby Hollywood as Feature Editor. I always went and shared my tickets with various friends who had big ELEGANT cars (we only had Buicks at my house) so we would make grand entrances at The Egyptian, or Graumans, or even big/grand/forbidden Studio lots where they often showed the Previews and introduced us to the STARS!  Yep, there I was, doing my best to TWINKLE amongst the stars (and sometimes I tried to act like it was normal for me to walk down the Red Carpet too). 

As a High Schooler , active teenager and Student Director of Athletics,  I fell in love. I was afraid HE, my love, wouldn't like me anymore if he knew my secret. He was a champion athlete, a brilliant guy, handsome, popular and gifted in many ways including being friendly, happy, well adjusted and he enriched my life.  We were best friends and fellow Key Club/Kiwanis members (I think he got me in as he was a member first). He knew my secret. He demonstrated his fondness for me when we were alone or on a trip. I was afraid and didn't let Nature take its course...something I have regretted my whole life.

Heartbreak Hotel, Johnny Mathis, Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tarzan, Crystal Beach, Avalon, Tiajuana/Caesar Salad, Dave of Redondo, UCLA/USC games, The Nominating Convention of John F. Kennedy, The Brown Derby/Club Sandwiches and other delicious activities followed (or was it simultaneously?) during my High School daze.

I loved Los Angeles

August of 1961:  I took the ¨Daylight Limited¨ to Northern California for Fraternity Rush Week/College in the San Francisco Bay area.

I never came back to live at at my parents home again

I never saw my best friend from high school again.  He went far away to become a father, a PHD and a success. Recently I learned that he died well over two decades ago. 

I have kept him close in my thoughts and prayers for over fifty years...I still feel his friendship deeply..that will not change.

to be continued

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