Through 9th Grade

My father was not much into earthly possessions except for always wanting a big car. I believe this ‘complex’ was ingrained because in Malaya, he was assigned a tiny Austin for our family of five (Elizabeth was born later) while the other missionaries were all driving large Ford and Chevy station wagons! Thus, when a member of the church offered him a discount to buy a new model of the Chrysler DeSoto, without hesitation he bought it.
After our arrival to America in 1955, Dad sponsored his three younger brothers who also applied through the same Communists Affected Refugee Program. They arrived America in 1957.
Although everyone worked very hard, we also took advantage of seeing much of the country. Inevitably we spent two weeks each summer exploring the beautiful USA via road trips. We packed our clothes in pillow cases, and brought along in the trunk two leaflets from our dinner table. At night we would check in one room in a cheap motel so everyone can use the facilities. For sleeping arrangement, Mom, Dad, Danny and Elizabeth stayed in the motel room. Uncle David would sleep on the front bench seat; Uncle Paul would sleep on the back seat. The packed clothes in pillow cases would be used to fill the wells of the back floor, and Uncle John would sleep there. The two boards would be placed between the back window and the front seat and William and I would sleep on them. We did this for several trips and visited many national parks and historic sites. During driving time, the front bench seat was occupied by Dad, Mom, Danny and Elizabeth. The three uncles sat on the back bench seat. William and I would either sit in the wells or on the uncles’ laps. Whenever Elizabeth was sleeping, she was placed under the back window. (Little did we realize that we were ‘baking’ her.) Then, Uncle Paul and John joined and served in the Air Force and we had more room in the car.
Time passed very quickly through our Clark Jr. High years. For leisure time, we taught ourselves to play Ping-Pong, tennis, and soft/baseball. Danny, though younger, was much more adept at the racket games than William and I. William loved football, and I was fairly good at soft and hard ball. In track, William ran the 100 and the 220 yard dashes and I ran the low hurdles. We had the Presidential Fitness decathlon and out of 1000 points I scored 975!
Finally came graduation day from 9th grade. I was awarded the Sons of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Metal. (I believe Ann Carey (McFeatters) received the female version.) When we entered 10th grade at the Springfield High School and were joined with students from the other 4 junior high schools, with this award, I sensed a responsibility to represent the working class Clark students and ‘compete’ academically against students from the other more affluent schools. I believe that Ann (now a national syndicated op-ed columnist) and I did fairly well in this regard.

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