Vignettes of a Baby Boomer Part 2.
Journal Entry #2 Daydreams of School
The hills of Santa Barbara are replaced by the orange grove suburbs of La Habra in Orange County, California. My 26-year-old father has a new sales job with General Mills, the company that makes our breakfast cereals. Now mom can rely on the Lucky Charms leprechaun and the Trix rabbit to feed us if money runs low until my father’s next paycheck.
While the movers bring in our hand-me-down furniture, I bend my head between my legs in front of our post-war, rental tract home to look at the neighborhood upside down. I see all the way to the end of the block where a steel post marks the walkway that separates the chain link fence into Walnut Elementary School. I can’t wait to turn five so I can attend this school in the fall of 1959. I am already thinking about books, art supplies, and new friends.
My mother pushes me in her Avon cart, a bit too small for my four-year-old frame, when she sells make-up products from door-to-door. My brother has been enrolled in Walnut School as a second-grader because there is a wait-list for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Post-WWII school children are exploding across America. For one year in this house, it’s just mom and me from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Some days, when mom is feeling rebellious, she spends some of the grocery money on taquitos and fresh banana shakes at the local Foster’s Freeze. We vow to keep this treat time a secret because she doesn’t want my brother to feel left out. But I know they have their own private snack times after I go to bed. I often hear them giggling like two church mice who have found the rectory cheese.
My brother waits for dad each evening to throw the baseball back and forth. I stand on a foot stool to help mom with the dishes, dreaming of the day I will have my own little tract home in the suburbs. Little do I know that many of my dreams will soon be burned, replaced with new ones rising out of the ashes.
© 2019 Jeaninne Escallier Kato