Third grade and sick days on the couch in the living room. In the mornings it was all rest and trying to sleep off the illness. Come the afternoon I usually felt better and liked to watch re-runs on TV. My favorite was Cleo, the wise-cracking Bassett hound in “The People’s Choice,” with Jackie Cooper. I was also curious because I knew Cooper from the Our Gang comedies. Though he was grown up, he was readily recognizable in the kid he once was. The whole idea set me to wondering, would I still look like myself when I grew up?
Another favorite was “I Led Three Lives” about a man who innocently found himself entangled in the Communist Party, and continues with them to spy for the FBI.
And that sets the stage for the third thing I remember about my school days in Spokane. This time instead of a note from school it was one that originated from my dad to them, or maybe it was a phone call. Anyway, he wanted to tell them about an event of possible interest to the school.
My dad had a new job since moving to Spokane. He was still driving truck, but not your ordinary delivery truck. He made deliveries to underground missile sites, anything from missile parts to food. This was back in the days of the Cold War, and Nike missile sites ringed important installations in the area, like Fairchild AFB and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Unlike in the beer truck, I never got to go on any of these runs.
But I did get to stand in line on the sidewalk with the rest of my classmates and watch a giant Atlas missile on its carrier as it trundled down the street. It was huge.
I would see them later on TV when we lived in Salem, as they blasted the Mercury project astronauts into space.