It was around March of 1971 when I moved from my aunt and uncle's beautiful home in Fremont California to a children's home in French Camp, Ca.
It must have been in September 1970 that I moved from our resident in Seven Hills located in Union City, Ca to a larger more spacious home in Fremont California.
I was twelve years old and in the seventh grade. Seventh grade was mostly a fun time for me when I lived in Fremont. I attended William Hopkins Junior High and I had a few friends of memory such as Marshall, and Mark Schmidt. Marshall was sort of a funny class clown kind of guy while Mark was more of a tough sort of guy. Mark and I use to slap box to see who was quicker and able to outbox the other. Such was the foolish pride that filled my youth.
At William Hopkins I recall doing well in most of my classes except math. I took metal shop and wood shop both of which I enjoyed.
I liked history because my teacher Ms Belshaw made things interesting.
Math was beginning to get difficult for me at about this time.
I always did pretty well at sports while living with my aunt and uncle's probably because my uncle Ron was a high school coach and a good one at that. He coached the Aragon Don's baseball team to at least one championship if not several. I remember being at Aragon High where he coached and being fascinated by the track field, football and track, the gymn and all the sporting paraphenalia. I loved sports then and made an idol of it. I was stupid and had a boys dream of being a professional athlete of some sort whether basketball or football I can't remember but it was pure fantasy seeing my stature was below par. I was perhaps average height and thin for my age but quick with good hand and eye coordination but speed and strength are more important factors when it comes to excelling in sports.
My uncle Ron taught me about baseball, football, and basketball
while my aunt spent more time with me on understanding my homework assignments.
I first learned how to swim at about the age of nine and during the summer months my uncle would take up to Hogan's Dam to water ski. I learned how to water ski at nine, first on two skis and then I advanced to one ski a year or two later. In the winter we went to Incline up by Lake Tahoe to snow ski. I remember my first time it was so cold I had to go inside to get out of the cold weather because my body wasn't use to such extreme temperatures. Eventually over the years I got more advanced at skiing and took a ski lift up to more challenging terrain.
After my first year or two my aunt and uncle took in a foster boy named John Ferrera. (spelling may be incorrect) John was about three years older than me I think. He was a good worker having been in several foster homes throughout his life so the list of chores my aunt and uncle gave him was easy for him but was more challenging for me because my great grandmother had spoiled me and didn't require me to do such chores. With John living at our home it made things a bit easier for me I suppose since it cut down on the household chores if my memory serves me correctly.
After a few years John had to leave our home because he was busted for drugs by a nark in high school. A nark is somebody posing as a student but who is really an undercover cop. John's taste in music was similar to mine but also different. He listened to the Beatle's which I also enjoyed but he had several albums with Jimmi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, Country Joe and the Fish and Cream. I never bought these albums but I didn't buy a popular Doors album with the hit "Hello I love You."
At our new home in Fremont I remember first learning about the sport of wrestling. My uncle showed me some moves and I think I tried out for the wrestling team
but I'm not sure if I made the team or not. I attended some wrestling matches and I remember a guy named Shannon Defreites (spelling may be incorrect) who was an excellent wrestler and one of the heavier weight classes. He may have been a heavy weight. People would make fun of him and start shouting some weird names at him which would make him so mad that he ended up beating his opponent rather quickly. I guess this name calling and taunting gave him an adrenaline rush that pushed him over the edge so that he over powered his opponent most of the time which resulted in his pinning his opponent.
Strange how the mind remembers such oddities isn't it?
At our new home I was not allowed to have any of my friends inside the house without my aunt or uncle being home. Those were the rules and I respected them but on one ocassion my friend Mark Schimdt came over and insisted on going inside the house from the garage when I told him not to and it was about that time my uncle Ron showed up and I thought myself in a world of trouble. I could imagine getting grounded or some such punishment but I think on this occasion my uncle had mercy and believed my report and let things go.
I remember during this time not making the soccer team and that really upset me leaving me in tears when my aunt asked me what was wrong. She must have seen my sad disposition from not making the team which I had tried out for. Oh such are the mundane trials of youth and competition and not measuring up to the skill required to make a sports team.
Some time during my seventh grade year my aunt confronted me about my dissatisfaction. My aunt asked me what was the matter with me and I vaguely remember telling her I was tired of pulling the weeds in the back yard every day without being able to go out a play with my friends. This new home had a backyard full of weeds that needed removing and I spend every day after school
pulling them up which was boring. Looking back on the situation I think if I were in my aunt and uncle's position I would have made a more reasonable request such as requiring me to spend 15-20 minutes a day pulling the weeds until they were satisfactorily removed rather than spending every day pulling the weeds until they were removed. That was too much for me to handle and it frustrated me to not being able to do what most boys my age wanted to do and that is to play with their friends after school.
Well, this situation turned sour rather fast and I told my aunt I wished to move to a foster home. I didn't know much about those except that we had John as a foster child for a few years and this gave me the idea I suppose of experiencing the same.
In March of 1970 I moved to Mary Graham Hall a children's shelter suggested and arraigned by my social worker Mr. Francois.
Carlton Pruitt ministers the gospel to the Los Angeles area. Formerly a Hollywood actor (SAG member)and junk removal expert he now spends most of his time studying the scriptures, writing articles, hymns and poems and doing street preaching.
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