14) True Effects of Underwater Kissing and Swimming Pool Acrobatics

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 8.11.26 AM

In the last post you read how a boy’s club saved my junior high school. In this post you will read about my escape from Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis to a safer neighborhood.

Sometime before the beginning of the 9th grade, in 1965, racial tension in North Minneapolis became overwhelming, so we rented a two-bedroom apartment at The Brookview Apartments in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota which lies about 7 miles north of Minneapolis. The apartment complex had a swimming pool and rented to people who had jobs and were mostly not in a state of agitation or planning to participate in a race riot.

New Beginning at Brooklyn Junior High School (1965)

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 8.14.29 AMMy enrollment and attendance at Brooklyn Junior High School in Brooklyn Park – a suburb near Brooklyn Center – was a seminal event in my education and personal development. The school building housed a cool science lab, a new gymnasium an atmosphere where a skinny-white kid like me could feel safe. Mom and Jim bought me a new study desk, lamp and burgundy, grey and orange-colored pennants we put on the wall inscribed with the names like New Hope, Osseo and Brooklyn Center. Moving to a safe neighborhood and providing a better learning environment helped me to see how doing well at school not only was important to my development but could be fun and allow me to look forward to high school with great anticipation.

Still an Unremarkable Student

The trouble is, essentially, I was still a bad student. I didn’t not have the building blocks in place in my coursework or the study habits necessary to succeed. Mom and Jim were fighting worse than ever during the 9th grade, and it seems I was being pulled-into the chaos of their failed marriage whether I liked it or not.

Top Musical Hit of 1965 – “I Feel Fine” The Beatles

I was also becoming very interested in girls and would invite them to the swimming pool on hot summer days of 1965 there in Brooklyn Center. Already a good swimmer and learning one or two acrobatic dives from the pool diving board, I was starting to attract attention from the girls I had invited to swim. As teens do, Betsy Fularo and I would intertwine our bodies underwater and push things as far as we dared in an apartment swimming pool. This song is for you Betsy.

Image#1: http://www.bestplaces.net/city/minnesota/brooklyn_center Image#2: http://www.osseo.k12.mn.us/Construction/images/bjhschool.jpg Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoKt-N-OudU

Were you a good student?

Next: Race Riot in North Minneapolis


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