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The summer after our Sophomore year at CUHS was a big one for me. I was chosen to attend a summer Mathematics Program at Oregon State University in Corvallis with 60 students from all over the country. It was quite the experience being away from any family for an extended period of time, and the math classes were advanced, dealing with subject matter I had never heard of like Boolean algebra. We were also exposed to the rudiments of computer science and programming. Man, those guys from the Bronx High School of Science were smart! I felt like I had a real jump on Algebra II with Mr. Kaser when school started in the fall.

On the home front, the Billunis attended family get-togethers and weddings.

I did a lot of growing that year and decided to go out for the Spartan football team for our Senior year. Coach Robinson was installing the “single wing” offense, and I was lining up at center. Alas, it was not to be as my folks decided to leave the Imperial Valley for the moderate climate of San Diego . . . La Mesa to be more precise.

Virgil and “Kid” Moffitt offered to let me live with them and my oldest and “bestest” friend, Stan, for our Senior year, but I decided it was more important to stay with the family. My new school was Helix High School, and I would miss graduating alongside my childhood friends, but those friendships were solid and persist to this day.

Oh, I almost forgot, the summer after graduation, I had one very memorable evening when I got to escort Mom (who worked at the San Diego Independent Newspaper) when she went to interview a young Hollywood actress named Donna Loren (Beach Blanket Bingo and Shindig).