Learning Spanish before English, my Mom had to prepare me for kindergarten.

Deciding that watching TV would be my best teacher, before leaving for Puerto Rico in 1956 she turned on our black & white.

I was enthralled with I Love Lucy, Father Knows Best, The Lone Ranger, Leave It To Beaver, The Honeymooners, Ozzie & Harriet and Lassie.

Blessed that Longfellow Elementary School was literally across the street from our Upper Mission district home, it took me only 5 minutes to walk into class.

Blown away by learning certain words such as “brown”, kindergarten was a wonderful experience in satisfying my innate love for learning and finally playing games with other kids my age instead of just with slobbering Tappy.

Easily becoming the teacher’s favorite due to my courteous manner and happy countenance, Mrs. Euler would lovingly chide me for already printing words and writing my name in script, thanks to Lita’s parallel home-schooling in Spanish.

Even though I dearly, dearly loved her, Lita was extremely fear-based and over-protective, resulting in my not being allowed to play with other young kids in our neighborhood of which there were plenty.

My grandmother labeling them all as hoodlums, I was constantly looking out the front window, wishing that I could join in all the reindeer games.

Allowed to watch only so much TV now that I was in kindergarten, Lito gave my Mom the money to buy me a complete set of The Encyclopedia Britannica and a Webster Spanish/English Dictionary that came with a bonus of 7 very thick short story books.

Thanks to Lita's hands-on kitchen table teaching, I learned the lifetime love of reading.

But starting to grow little antlers, I really wanted to play outside with all the reindeers.............


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