Posts Tagged ‘Junior High’

Acquiring Tenacity…………….#38 (the 50’s)

April 18, 2017

Anvil and hammer – forge shop

Mechanical Drawing,  Woodshop,   Sheet  Metal Shop,   Forge Shop,   not a course of study for most college prep students,  but Gary decided he wasn’t a normal student.    He participated in just a semester of each shop, declining the advanced course  study that the vocational students engaged in,  Mr Noyes the seventh grade instructor for mechanical drawing, followed by wood shop. Mr. Niosi for sheet metal and Mr. Fraser’s H-8th forge shop.  His friends Hank and Don having no desire to learn the mechanics of the shops, Don also a college prep student, with Hank opting as a Business study major.   Gary reasoned that their lack of vocational interest may have been family related, both the Ball and Bryant families were white-collar workers employed in management,  unlike Gary’s as reflected by his Dad’s occupation.  He didn’t expect journeyman expertise from the  vocational shop classes,  just an introduction, an understanding of the basic fundamentals with some hands on experience.

First projects in Wood and Sheet Metal Shop

Two of the three ninth grade junior high year curriculum electives were college prerequisite,  algebra and a foreign language, either spanish or latin.  Remembering what Mrs Jory his english teacher and class counselor had mentioned after he had difficulties with sentence structuring, that latin was a good means to learn a more in-dept  basis of structuring sentences.  With his high math and language requirement meant, he decided to continue to his interest in sports, applying for and accepted as junior coach assisting the P. E. teachers.

The opening inviting, the boys entered

Gary’s best friend Hank having moved on to the 10th grade at Castlemont High in the spring, Don having completed his final junior high semester, their three paper delivery route vocation having come to a conclusion, the once threesome finding little time to spend together as in the past.   It was a drizzly summer Saturday,  not a day for outdoor activity, Gary having made a mental note that it had been posted at school that the Frick gymnasium would now be open on Saturday mornings for students,  the result of a new experimental program.   Gary on the phone to Hank and Don, proposing an activity that would take them to the school but not to shoot baskets.  The boys managing a ride to the school gym from Gary’s Dad on the pretexts of playing basketball that rainy morning, when in reality having other plans.  The light rain continuing, the three wearing tennis shoes, not really dressed for a clandestine undertaking.  Gary having noticed during his school lunch period, the large storm sewer opening in the draw behind Foster Freeze across from the school and that a number of the metal lags that once barricaded the entrance to this enclosed underground passage were missing.  Gary speculating to his two friends about entering, traversing the mile and half to where the tunneling passage egresses on the far side of  San Leandro Blvd, where the water flow empties  into the canal that links to the estuary of San Francisco Bay.  The three conveying flashlights under their jackets, a necessity to enter the subterranean world of Oakland.

Flashlights in hand,  an entreating  eye towards the precipitous  clouds,  the light rain persisting,  they entered the abyss.  The echoing sound of falling water,  the photonic  encasing them as they proceeded.  The once seemingly radiant beam illuminating from the flashlight beginning to lose their luster,  the darkness ahead seeming to intensify except for the shadowy light filtering down thru the curb drain openings from the street above.    The Three were not long into the journey when the discussion turned from boisterous confidence  to whispered doubts, especially when taking notice, the water level down the center of the catacomb was increasing in volume and its level starting to rise from the unseen rain above.  There was no hesitation when the turnaround decision was made,  it was conceded,  they didn’t have a contingency plan for exiting their confinement,  not knowing what was ahead.     An  irrevocable conclusion was made when Don’s flashlight began to dim and stopped functioning.  The explorers estimated that they had traveled about six blocks,  judging by the number of curb openings above.  An about-face,  the three deciding to exit their subterranean excursion,  a hasten and welcomed return to daylight and a return to the school gym.  Gary reasoning,  it wasn’t the outcome that matters, but the tenaciousness  of the attempt.

Dale Roland Spady

It drew his attention when the person sitting across from his arm-chair in Mr. Conley’s Algebra I Class was in error about algebraic transposition.   His name was Dale, Gary couldn’t recall having any  classes with him except in Mrs. Vrettol eighth grade music  class.   An introduction and after according Dale with an insight to the correct answer to algebra question,  their acquaintance was made.  Gary wasn’t searching or giving thought about acquiring a new friend or associate, especially someone whose domain was miles away from his hillside Mountain Blvd valley home.  Gary, once acquainted,  finding that the two shared numerous interest,  their conversations  levitating  on the same plain and even though Dale resided in the flat land expanse of  Oakland proper, across Bancroft   Ave south of Frick Jr. High, Dale was someone he could identify with.  Notwithstanding,  his new acquaintance was different in some ways, although well versed he was  more of a spectator rather than an innovator, curious but not actively inquisitive.  Dale seemed to  lack the diversity of participating as a social or public activist, whereas  Gary always considered himself multifarious, embossing a wide spectrum of attainable  interest and goals.  Trying not to be critical but concluding that Dale was a pendulum held stationary by a lack of aspiration, deciding if the two were to venture together what was needed was a dose of something Gary had an abundance of, tenacity.