Lucerne Valley - 1943
Submitted by OldMack on Mon, 06/12/2006 - 10:41am
I boarded with the wife of a sailor who was "somewhere in the Pacific" and her daughter, Nancy, on their ranch about five miles from the school. We rode horses to school and tied them to a hitching rail in the shade of the cottonwood trees near the watering trough. The school had only two classrooms and an office, as I recall, with a windswept yard with playground equipment such as a merry-go-round, tether ball, and teeter totters.
We moved up to the valley from Santee (near Camp Elliott) in San Diego County. Before we could occupy the house at the "Ace-in-the-hole" Ranch, we had to clear away a mountain of tumbleweeds, and then shovel away sand in order to open the door. The old desert homestead property had been long abandoned when my guardian's husband won the title to it in a poker game aboard a cruiser absent from Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December, 1941. It was as fine a place as any 9 year old boy could hope to live. There was a spring up in one of the canyons that we dammed to make a swimming hole, and we, Nancy and me, could ride horses, hunt rabbits, and watch Army Air Corp Liberators practice bombing. Before we finished exploring the valley, one of the boys in my 4th Grade row in the classroom died of polio and the school was closed for an indefinite period. When my guardian's husband returned from sea duty and was transferred to Virginia, I was moved to Apple Valley, where I lived on an irrigated alfalfa ranch and finished the 4th grade at the Apple Valley School. In addition to the rancher's family there were 14 kids, ranging in age from 9 to 18 years living and working on that ranch. We did our shopping in Victorville, which was quite a small town.