I attended May Scott Marcy Elementary school in San Diego, California. This school was renamed Mission Bay Montessori Academy, but to this day, I do not know who May Scott Marcy was. In the fifth grade, the best teacher was Mrs. Hanson, and she was outstanding, but there was one downside that year. My school took part in an “integration” program; this was the only year for this experiment. One day a week, they bussed our entire class to Chollas-Mead Elementary school (we pronounced it choy-us) way across town. In return, several kids from Chollas Elementary attended Marcy. The kids sent to Marcy kept to themselves because Marcy had little to offer.
Chollas Elementary was a much larger school with a vastly different student population. It also had elective classes, and I took science, music, and art. I often felt intimidated by these surroundings, but eventually, I made some friends and got used to the experience. I also still have some of the art I created during that time.
I made friends with one kid who had a prided-filled lifetime goal. He wanted to become a gang member, make a million dollars and buy a low-rider. The student spoke of the certainty of purchasing a low-rider with great pride. Often, he would pop his hand up and down while making the hydraulic “veeet” sound. We shared physical education, and both hated to run, so we walked around the field and talked about stuff.
When I met him, he was well on his way to achieving this goal. His brothers (real street gang members) told him he needed three things to be accepted into their gang. Know how to count up to one million, be able to add/subtract (simple numbers), and form his own “starter gang.” I found it comical that the reason for counting up to a million was so that he could appreciate how much money he would be making.
To achieve the last part of his qualification, my friend was the founding member of the “Logan Hills Gang,” the most brutal gang in Chollas Elementary. I never actually met (or knew the names) the other members (despite talking to my friend often), and nobody spoke about the Logan Hills Gang criminal exploits. Every day he informed me how many days until his 15th birthday when his brothers would allow him to “be tested.” If he passed this important criminal/violent test, he would become a member of his brother’s gang.
My lifetime goal was to be an electrician. He thought this was a stupid goal and that I should join his gang. Apparently, joining the Logan Hills Gang was easy. All I had to do was steal some stuff (from the school) and give it to him. He 100% thought that he was pulling a fast on me. Of course, I was not interested in becoming a gang member, but we still discussed the topic.
This boy was smart, had a genuine talent for art, and was great at reading. He had a lot of potential at that early age and could have become something great. The only difference between us was that we had vastly different family backgrounds. If circumstances were different, he would have been an outstanding Mechanical Engineer or an art teacher.
When the school year ended, we parted ways without fanfare. I continued my education and changed my goal to be an Electrical Engineer (the best kind of engineer). Side note. At that young age, I thought electricians did all the electrical work, like repairing televisions. Later, I learned about Electrical Engineering and felt foolish for not understanding this career earlier. Perhaps I would have put more effort into fifth-grade math if I had understood the difference.
While thinking up blog topics, I thought about this young boy from elementary school. I am sure he achieved his dream of being a full-fledged gang member. I wonder what happened to him. Did he commit crimes and get caught, or did he have a life filled with criminal exploits? Unfortunately, I do not remember his name and cannot look him up.
This line of thinking made me question my life’s goals and some of my other choices. Is it a worthy goal to become a writer? I’d like to think so. A writer can create something from nothing and powerfully influence history.
Unfortunately, many prominent writers had already left their mark when I entered the writing field. So, it is challenging to develop original ideas, and many of my “new” ideas were done at least once. However, there has been a revolution in writing. It is much easier to publish. For example, this blog entry costs me nothing. If this were the ‘70s, the best I could do would be to mimeograph a typewriter document and distribute the pages to friends. Now, with the click of a mouse, I can reach the entire world.
I enjoy sharing my ideas and feeding my creative side. But I still wonder about that boy. Would he ever wish to blog about his experiences? Do prisons allow blogs?
You’re the best -Bill
December, 21, 2017 Updated March 18, 2023
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