24 January 2010

High School Confidential

OK, the title has nothing to do with confidentiality, but when I typed 'High School,' the next word just filled itself in. Maybe I should have titled it 'Grease.'

Although I suppose the title might lead one to expect me to talk about ... well, matters that ought to be kept confidential. There were such matters in my life, I am sorry to say - but they will remain confidential.

So I must restrict myself to public - and, conceivably, less interesting - topics. So be it.

Oroville High School was Oroville Union High School when I attended. I was told, by my best friend in high school, David Bennum, that the year before I started - or perhaps longer before than that?? - the high school had been much smaller. He himself was from Pentz - by Google Maps, some 12.5 miles from the high school - and, if I recall correctly, Pentz had at the time a school with two rooms, two teachers, and went from grades 1 through 12. The year (1956) that he and I started high school, Oroville High incorporated a number of such small schools from miles around - hence 'Union.'

Be that as it may, David was one of my earliest, closest friends. We had in common a deep interest in astronomy (he is now a lecturer in physics at the University of Nevada at Reno - and he was a musician (trombone).

I was in awe of David. He was much brighter than I, and accomplished both as an amateur geologist (he and his father used to go hunting for types of stone that they polished into gems), and as an amateur rocketist. His were the only amateur rockets I ever remember that actually worked. David's father and mother were patient and kind with me at a time when I was more a nuisance than anything else. On a number of occasions I more or less invited myself to his house, which I adored - it seemed in a much more remote location than mine - to spend the night. I was never turned down. I don't recall exactly when I first met David, but I suspect it may have been during that first year - September, 1956 - June, 1957. I remember no time at OUHS without David being a part of it. We were both in the concert band and the marching band. We were both in the same science and mathematics classes. We were both in the Honor Society, for good marks. My second year in University he and I and another man roomed together.

I suppose music and science were what bound him, me, and a third person together. That third person was Delmer Horn.

I pray regularly for Delmer. He was two days younger than I - and a trumpet and horn player, much better at either than I. Delmer died - about age 22 or 23, I think - of leukaemia.

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