Why I Didn't Go To School Across The Street

The Year Was 1980 and I was 7 years old. When I talked about the world shrinking, and dad had mentioned a few things that happened around that time, I had a rush of memories. And it kind of raised a question—a question that I might have had at the time, and may have gotten the answer to as well, but I have long since forgotten the answer to. Why is it that in 1980, even though I lived across the street from a school, did I have to take two city busses to get to the school I ended up going to?

Well, okay, it wasn't exactly across the street. I had to walk up Lazywoods to Highway 9, cross that street, and a little more walking got me to SLV. But instead of that little bit of walking, I got on a city bus from Felton and headed into Scotts Valley, where I changed busses, and went to the other end of Scotts Valley Drive and then walked some more until I got to Vine Hill Elementary school. Why did I do that exactly?

Vine Hill wasn't the first school I went to in 1980. I had actually went to Boulder Creek Elementary school first. I have a memory or two of walking home from Boulder Creek Elementary. It was about a mile from where I used to live, at least according to Google Maps. It wasn't five miles, uphill, in the snow, and barefoot, but to a 7 year old, that was a long way to walk. And Highway 9 wasn't exactly a country road, either. A potentially dangerous road for a 7 year old to be walking along by himself. And my mom let me do it. More than once.

But something happened at that school—I had caught impetigo. I was pulled from school for two weeks as I remember, and I had my first experience with penicillin. And I didn't go back to Boulder Creek Elementary, ever, nor did I go to any school in the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District. And that school across the street from dad's place? In that district.

Now this is where things get a little sketchy, probably because there was a fair amount of trauma involved. Somewhere between catching impetigo and going to Vine Hill Elementary, I changed parents. I remember that my mom had driven me over in Emma, her white VW bug, over to dad's new place in Felton. And I did not want to go live with dad. I was sobbing as mom dropped me off, and I remember Pink Floyd's Have a Cigar playing in her car as she pulled away. Yay, feelings of abandonment. A therapist could have a field day with that whole scene as well as every other time I moved between parents.

My best guess, and dad can feel free to confirm this, is that I moved with dad because he was closer to the schools in Scotts Valley, which were supposed to be pretty good, or at least cleaner than the SLV schools. And, of course, because of that move, I got to experience some of the results of dad's financial troubles at the time. Those troubles were probably a large reason why we ended up moving in with his mom, which lived in an apartment in Capitola, and also had half-way decent schools.

Now that I sit here and think, another possible reason I had moved was because mom was going to move to Hawaii to go be with her long-term boyfriend, the person I refer to as my step-father. I can't remember when exactly she did that. But that, along with some of the other memories swirling around in my head, is a story for another time.