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The new school year was 1955. Gasoline was 23 cents a gallon, the Mickey Mouse Club had just started on TV, the first McDonalds had opened (NOT in El Centro), and Disneyland opened its doors!
A new elementary school had just opened in El Centro – Margaret Hedrick Elementary, named for the woman who had worked in education for 55 years, 35 of them in El Centro.

I started 5th Grade, and I experienced something brand new – a man teacher – Mr. Bayless. I wonder how many of my classmates remember that Mr. Bayless was a full-time teacher and a part-time BARBER! Here is a photo of our class that year:

Front Row, L-R: Jim Doull, Joe Marini, Mike Ramsey, Jimmy McMichael, Billy McDonald, Dennis Billuni, Butch Shirley.
Middle Row: DeeAnn Ingles, Susan Peavey, Karen Rowe, Carol Anderson, Mr. Bayless, Diana Rosenberg, Danita Boyer, Susan Grant, Megan McCoy.
Back Row: Ken Greer, David Cooper, Stan Church, Skip Havens, Sally Fornasero, Judy Knott, Fred Daugherty, Roy Youngblood, Jim Waer.

We had gotten settled in our new home on Lenrey Ave. You can see our light green1950 Dodge Wayfarer in the driveway, but Dad had just come home with a new car for us: a 1952 Chrysler New Yorker. It was also light green.






Here’s a photo of our happy family and one of Rick and me ready to mail a letter.

The school photos of us are the ones Rick and I refer to as our “convict photos.”




I was in Cub Scout Den #17. That’s my across-the-street-neighbor, Gary Ellsworth. Our “den mother” was Roy Youngblood’s mom, Julia. She and her husband, Jack, were great friends with our parents. Our most memorable field trip was when Julia took us to the local slaughterhouse! Yep, all us guys thought that was really cool . . . and gross!

“My” Brooklyn Dodgers finally beat the hated Yankees in the World Series on a 2-0 shutout by Johnny Podres. I got to see a fabulous sculpture of Podres with his batterymate, Roy Campanella, at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. After the World Series, we began to get ready for Halloween as Mom was in charge of the school carnival that year, and our garage was full of boxes of prizes and candy. I ended up winning First Prize in the costume contest with my “alien” costume that Mom and Auntie Honey had sewn, using leftover, bright green drapery lining. The cardboard headpiece and the cardboard epaulets we painted bright red. It was a wonder to behold! I wish this photo was in color. Rick is Mighty Mouse, and our cousins, Bob (you little devil!) and Wayne Holden, are between us.

Here’s a photo of the whole clan, including Grandma and baby cousin Albert (he’s the one Auntie Honey was pregnant with when I dropped the snake in her lap!) and one of Dad and Uncle Ernie. Not sure if that’s at Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm.






Overall, I’d say that 1955 looked like a fun year!