The 4th Grade

The fourth grade for me was a tough year. I began the school year in Spokane. My father’s job of ferrying minuteman missiles around to the silos ringing the area had come to an end. A friend from this job, had told him about another down in San Jose, CA, a coin washing machine business.
So, after only a couple of months in my new grade (we’d lived in Spokane since I was in the second grade), we were pulling up stakes and hitting the road.
My father went on ahead to his new job and to look for a new home.  It fell to my mom to get two boys and our little sister on a bus to San Jose, where we would join him.
I remembered the trip being sunny, but long and boring. We passed through Portland OR on our way.
I recall stopping in a Moose hall in San Jose shortly after arrival.  It must have been for some financial help or assistance. While in the waiting room each of us kids was given a net-like Christmas stocking with Christmas candy in it. You know, candy canes, candy ribbon, hard shells with liquid cores, etc., and some tiny toys.
We only lived in San Jose a total of four months.  Long enough, however, for the school district to be redrawn on us. So, I started our time there in one school, only to change to a school that was farther away two months later.
And that is why the fourth grade was so tough for me. Four schools in one year; moving from the laid back West Coast to the more progressive East. And along the way being tested and labelled with an high IQ and placed in a gifted program at Saltonstall School in Salem MA.  (This was our second move to my Dad’s home town).
That, and again having to leave some things behind – the best Christmas presents I ever received as a child – a WW2 Hellcat fighter plane and an astronaut mobile command unit, consisting of a truck tractor and trailer, complete with a “TV camera” in the caboose.
My brother and sister must have had to leave some neat things too.  (I just don’t remember what – selfish of me, I know).
I do know that we weren’t too bothered about it.    We were a family and together, and all making sacrifices.