Mrs. Fagg was my junior high home economics teacher and got me serious about sewing. I loved making gingham aprons for my mom and my grandma, and embroidered little designs on the pockets.
Our school chorus took a trip to Sacramento in a yellow bus and sang at a state level singing competition. I sang a solo opening of “Do Re Mi.” and we won a gold lapel pin with a design of the state.
Finally away from the accordion my mother made me play, Thank God! I picked up acoustic guitar and took lessons, so folk songs, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Donovan and Bob Dylan were it. My cousin and I sang harmony, “Lemon Tree, We Shall Overcome, Blowing In The Wind.” Our voices sounded fantastic.
Jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi and guitarist Bola Sete played a concert at our school gym, “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” I fell in love with a whole new Bossa Nova sound, with Brazil ‘66, and Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass.
I did my homework every night, but did not ‘kiss ass,’ so my grades were only so-so.
“I don’t get it” annoyed my teachers every single day. I did not get one bit of what was going on in math, and nobody noticed I was honestly struggling. My mind tripped around in color, and I spent days in my seat drawing paisley circles, making up stories, dreaming how to manage life on my own.
How could I possibly get fractions, percentages, logic or algebra? What did systematic thinking even mean?
I ignored my own common sense, too, because I pretended I knew what to do. I was never, ever going to ask anyone for help.