Moments in the Life of Charles Dailey
THE NO-TECH SCHOOL HOUSE
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.
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.
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.