Knowing Myself: The List Part Six

Wherein Life Really Goes to the Dogs

 Schools I attended by age 11

  • Alice Birney Elementary School
  • Bonsall Elementary School
  • Valley Center Elementary School
  • San Marcos Elementary School
  • Richland Elementary School
  • Conway Elementary School

Conway Elementary SchoolMemories of School
  • Alice Birney Elementary School – Little cots for nap time.   Pedophile in a car stalked me.
  • Bonsall Elementary School – Had a part in the Christmas play as a tree
  • Valley Center Elementary School – two years attending 3rd to 5th grade. I loved Mrs. Conway.  Tried to learn clarinet.
  • San Marcos Elementary School – I wasn’t there long enough to remember anything but playing jacks at recess – then I was bussed to Richland.
  • Richland Elementary School – Finished 5th grade here. Mrs. Maiwald told the kids to be nice to me when she introduced me to the class.  I won the spelling bee at this school.
  • Conway Elementary School – It was a new school.  I didn’t make any new friends.


I liked school quite a lot, and for the most part, I excelled even though by sixth grade I was attending my sixth elementary school. My friend from Valley Center, Jane Rogers was a student at Conway, her family had moved into town and bought a house of their own.  She was in my class again!  But she didn’t seem to want to include me, though her mom invited me over to play Candyland. We drifted apart.  I was pretty lonely and sad,  horribly disappointed that she didn’t seem to like me anymore. She had meant so much to me before, like a life vest against the rising storm waters in my family.  But that is a lot to expect of another little girl, isn’t it?

Kids are resilient though.  I was sort of the leader of the neighborhood kids in whatever shenanigans we could get ourselves into, without our parents learning of what we had done.  We built a fort out of abandoned old doors and lumber from a house that was demolished nearby.  Sometimes the doors fell on our heads.  I don’t think we had many nails to hold everything together, nor did we have any adult help, since we built it secretly down by a creek.

Avocado Groves in Escondido, California

We hiked up into the hills, in the avocado and citrus orchards, where we were chased by gigantic black mastiffs guarding the crops.

Shouts of “They’re going to eat me!” and “They’re going to bite me.” Followed by “Run faster!”  “We’re almost there!” were repeated until like little keystone cops, or the dead end kids, we raced down the slippery leaf covered hillsides. We all kept falling and sliding past one another, tearing clothing and flesh, getting up and running for dear life as the dogs kept coming and barking loudly and fiercely.  We slid under the barbed wire fences escaping without any bites.  Some of the littlest kids were sobbing and shaking with fear, for of course, they were the closest to being caught.

After everyone calmed down, there was a lot of laughter and embellishment of our tale of adventure.  But the reality was that it wouldn’t have just been me getting physical punishment that night if more than scrapes and scratches had been evident.  The very fact that other kids got spanked at home seemed solid enough evidence to me that I wasn’t so different, after all.

Valley Center Orange Groves