Friday, April 14, 2017

Tar Bubbles

When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to enjoy going down to the La Brea Tar Pits to stare out over the still surface of the largest of the pools and watch gas bubbles slowly form little black igloos, linger a moment, and then more melt away than burst. They’ve been doing that for millions of years, and never seem to run out of the gas to create the bubbles.

My mind’s a lot like that. Thoughts and ideas will just suddenly work their way to the surface of my consciousness, remain for just long enough for me to acknowledge them, then vanish. Where they come from and how they were formed I have no idea. I suspect it is some sort of short-circuitry in my thought processes.

I was thinking of doing a blog entry on my school days, and realized that putting 16 years into a one page blog might be a tad difficult. But here are a couple of bubbles that rose to the surface:

Because of my broken leg, I was unable to enter first grade when I should have, and had to wait until the next year. I first attended Loves Park Elementary, though I’m sure it had another name. Shortly after I entered first grade, the United States entered WWII. I distinctly remember my prize possession being a military-type jacket that made me feel very grown up. However, looking at the photo above, I see I may have been mistaken [I was unable to find this photo].

I loved The Weekly Reader, a very early form of news magazine made especially for elementary students.

I remember going from door to door selling packets of vegetable seeds to raise money for the school to buy a motion picture projector. I hated going door to door selling packets of vegetable seeds, no matter how noble the purpose. And just before the projector was purchased, we moved and I transferred to another school, Harry Morris…which was located on the south-west outskirts of town and had a total student body of 68. And after more than 60 years, I am once more in contact with two of my Harry Morris classmates, Dan Sable and Marion (then) Bender.

I remember the mothers (mine specifically, of course) taking turns walking to the school in winter to make hot soup for us for lunch. I remember “milk money” and buying pints of chocolate milk. I remember The Bugville News, my first literary effort, which was a “newspaper” relating the various disasters befalling the insect citizens of Bugville. I would tack each “edition” to the school’s front door.

I remember hating recess if organized sports were going to be involved. They would always choose up teams and then argue over who had to take me. Not a fun time.

I remember many a happy hour, walking home from school, spent wandering around a side-of-the-road dump-yard, breaking bottles.

I remember learning to ride a bike. My dad bought me a used bike much too big for me...I could barely reach the pedals...and one day riding down the hill from school directly into cross traffic and being hit by a car. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt. But I was very badly shaken. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I all my life have avoided anything that I think might cause me physical harm.

I remember with great, great fondness my teacher, Mrs. Larson, who always reminded me very much of Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Larson was who God had in mind when he created teachers. Her exact opposite was Mrs. Heinz, a redheaded harridan who, for punishment (which was frequent), would make us write every verse of the Star Spangled Banner.

Oh, Lord, I remember so much. So many people; so many more lost to memory. If I allow them, the bubbles rise faster and more thickly, until the surface of my mind is like a vast, rapidly boiling pot and I can no longer separate one memory from the next. I seem to be approaching that point as I write this, so it is time to turn off the burners for now. But don’t be surprised if the bubbles start rising again before long.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from and; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/ You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site: 

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