Moments in the Life of Charles Dailey
This page revised: 10/19/02

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Charles at 9
The South Sacramento School on Franklin Boulevard was not a model of anything. It had a room for every grade, either in the main building or in some single classroom buildings clustered outside.

The floors were of dark wood and each night the janitor would pour a mixture of sawdust and oil on the floor and broom it up. This took the mud and other debris of the day and left a clean floor. But it would stain your clothes if you got down on it.

I could get in trouble with Mother Dailey if I got any of that floor stain on my bib overalls.

The school restrooms were indoors, but the lone drinking fountain was outdoors. There was a single outdoor basket ball court and a combination football, soccer and baseball area. I played lots of soccer (but we didn't head the ball) and basketball. Monkey bars and teeter totters rounded out the sports equipment.

Ethel Phillips
The school principal part of the years that I attended was Ethel Phillips and now the buildings have been replaced with one that meets modern standards and the school is named the Ethel Phillips Elementary School. It was annexed to the Sacramento City Unified School District in 1958.

I attended there for seven of the eight years before graduating from the eighth grade. For reasons that I do not recall, Mother Dailey got into conflict with the school officials when I would have gone to the fifth grade. She took me out and entered me in the Roman Catholic School south of us on Franklin Boulevard.

It is now named St. Patricks Orphanage and that was probably the name then, too. This is the successor institution to the orphanage at the Leland Stanford Mansion operated by the Sisters of Mercy.

The instruction was ultra strict. Attending there didn't work either, so I was kept home for that year. It was fun spending my year flying kites and model airplanes in the large field across from our house to the north. But my education about fractions suffered for years because that was a fifth grade subject.

As I recall, this was the year of my first venture into electronics and my first brush with the law. We had an abandoned power line running out to the chicken house and I used it as a very effective antenna. Someone had given me the coil from a Model T Ford. It produced a spark and I hooked that to the antenna. My project made radio interference of the highest quality. Such an outreach to the neighborhood!

But one day I noticed a police car parked near the edge of our property. His wheels were stopped, but mine began turning. I disassembled my nuisance maker and left the airwaves for good. The police car did not reappear.

Whatever the school problem, it was cleared up and I returned to the South Sacramento School for my sixth grade. Mr. Millsap was the teacher. I can recall December 7th, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Mr. Millsap was a steadying personality for me in a world gone crazy. War and its consequences were simply not within my experience.

Somewhere in these years my life centered around the pit. We had pumped our water with a little electric piston pump in the garage, but it was becoming the little engine that couldn't. The water table was going down and Mr. Mancuso, our Italian pump man, said that the pump would have to be put down in a pit. So we set out to dig one between the house and the garage. It was about four feet square and the goal was China, well at least ten feet towards China.

Digging was pretty easy until we hit a layer of clay, known locally as hardpan. The condition is widespread in that part of Sacamento County. I would swing a pick again the hardpan and break off a few little chips of soil. Going was slow and hard on the pick operator. Finally, some men from the church that I was attending some heard of the problem and came to solve it. They worked in shifts of 5-10 minutes each and punched through the tough layer and on down to the 10 foot level. The pump was duly installed and the water flow resumed. The help was GREATLY appreciated.

I graduated from the eighth grade in 1944 and then entered the ninth grade at Stanford Junior High near Oak Park. That was a long walk.

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