When I became an Indian

In 1956, after a summer of Encephalitis, we moved from Fort Collins to Loveland, Colorado where my mother taught Home Economics. Then the school seen here was half jr high and half sr high.

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I was a new Sophomore and a new Loveland High School Indian. I had been a Fort Collins High School Lambkin before.

One of the first things I did was to get into a fight in English with a student who was to become my friend and ally. I don’t remember what it was about but I still see the setting, Ken, and I still feel the heat of the moment.

That year I took Biology, typing, geometry, wood shop and English from Ms. Whitehouse. Each of these courses and teachers would affect me significantly and left memories I can still recall today, 58 years later.

The Biology class was the scene of great nee understandings of live things, and a weekly binder that was turned in with notes and drawings. but what I remember most was the day a student brought his .45 revolver to class. Though now we panic if a gun is brought to school, this was just a curiosity and part of his ‘Rag Day’ costume.Nevertheless…

‘Rag Day’ was a tradition born out of the second world war by returning soldiers who found themselves returning to high school. Everyone dressed in costume and any were part of the Talent show. A parade was held afterwards for the townspeople to see our costumes.

This was where I learned that it was easier to be funny off-the-cuff than on purpose from a script. I tried out for the talent show with a funny soliloquy about a house husband. It fell flat and I didn’t get in the talent show. Lesson learned (and validated later in Toastmasters when I tried to give a humorous speech.)

In the typing class (where I was doing poorly in spite of the vocational test I took with washers on posts saying I could do anything with my long fingers) I remember the teacher saying, “Quiet. All I should be hearing is your chair scooting up to your desk.” Whereupon all the students noisily scooted their chairs, of course).

Oh,I also remember most of the junior and senior boys being hauled out of typing class by the police when they busted a gas stealing group who were syphoning gas from tractors in the field. The police found this out because one boy got his car stuck and called the them to report it stolen.

The Geometry class taught me about proofs and the trick previously told in this Blog about the metal sheet. I loved the axioms and the triangles and theorems.

In wood shop I built a shoeshine box, a bike stand, and a platter for my mother. Later when I worked as a custodian I would empty the sawdust into the trash burner in back of the school and watch the fire reach the sky, and sometimes burn off my eyebrows.

And finally in English I learned that any job worth doing is worth doing well. Ms. Whitehouse told me this after I got the job cleaning the high school as a janitor. As a direct result of this admonition I continued janitoring to pay for my college education, sometimes holding down four different janitor jobs as once.

I loved Loveland High School.

Oh yes and I first kissed Shirley Findling, walking her home from a movie.

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