Growing up in Southern California as a middle-class Baby Boomer meant there were a LOT of kids around who were your age. All those new developments (that replaced the orchards — sigh), and all those kids requiring school districts to build new schools. I lived in the same area for 24 years, which meant I went to only four schools (including junior college), and three of those schools were new. All those skinny trees, incapable of providing shade. 😦 All of my schools had Spanish names; you learned common Spanish just growing up there, with all your friends and classmates, and the Mexican-American businesses everywhere.
From kindergarten through high school, so many things were done in alphabetical order: lining up, the gold star lists, the grades lists, attendance lists, and in grade school even the seating arrangements (until the teachers learned who to separate). 🙂 My last name began with a “B,” so I got to know all the B kids pretty well (and some of the As and Cs). . . . Bell, Bertrand, Bineau, Black, . . . Since many of us went all the way from kindergarten to high school together, there was a lot of history with the people around you. One of my friends eventually married a friend who shared the Rs with her in high school. 🙂 They do say a couple factors in what creates love are physical proximity and shared history.
I was reminded of all this when a friend and I were discussing sports recently. Neither of us are very sports-minded, and during the recent Super Bowl game his young daughter made a comment about not knowing who the pitcher was. I remember being that age, and not being aware of or really caring about sports. Understanding football in a non-sports family is not really necessary until high school (if then). It reminded me of a sports-gaff I made at about that age (grade school). Growing up in Southern California during the Sandy Koufax era, everyone was a Dodgers fan. So I wrote on my blue cloth-covered binder, “Go Dogers!” I had never paid attention to how it should be spelled. 🙂 The Sports section of the L.A. Times went to the bird cage (unless my brother-in-law was visiting), and I’d only heard the word on radio or television. One of the other Bs saw my binder, and immediately went off on it — he could not believe I did not know how to spell Dodgers. That lasted a couple minutes, and then our teacher stepped in and calmed him down. I added the extra “d” to the word, and it was done, altho the other B was shaking his head about it for days.
I didn’t get to know that B very well — that was the only significant interaction I had with him in eight or nine years of school. We would nod to each other in the halls. He was a musician, and went on to do great things with large orchestras, though I understand for a while he made his living as a bookie in Las Vegas (something he began doing in high school). He really knew about sports. 🙂