Growing up in southern California in the 1950’s was a good experience for me through the 6th grade. For financial reasons our family had to sell our house in Manhattan Beach and we moved to Torrance. During the 7th and 8th grade I attended four junior high schools, and in my freshman year of high school I changed schools three times. I tried my best to make new friends but then we would move again.
Stability became an important factor in my decision to join the Armed Forces. After graduation my friends went off to college. For a brief time I attended Foothill Junior College in Palo Alto. The classes were good, but I was having trouble making new friends. I wasn’t happy living at home.
Vietnam was not on anyone’s radar and there didn’t seem to be any threats of war. Serving our country wasn’t glamorous unless you were Elvis Presley and got drafted. For me, patriotism had a slight tarnish to it after the JFK assassination. Flower Power and the summer of love were not yet on the horizon, but something was in the air.
‘The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”
Were the answers to my questions intangible as the wind? Then came, The Times They Are a-Changin’ These were the times, the music, the feeling, the sexiness of it all. Somehow I had to make my own way.
I had no idea of the consequences of my decision to join the Marines. I just needed to make a clean break from the the past. I enlisted on April 3, 1964.
Next edition: Knuckles Down