I received the following recollections in an email from Elbert Kelly. It brought back a lot of my own memories. He said it would be fine to share with it with the rest of our class.
In the late 90s, several of us had delicious BBQ dinner at Elbert’s award-winning restaurant, Sugars, in San Pedro. He had the restaurant for ten years, and then opened a larger one on Pine Ave in Long Beach, which he sold after three years.
Marry Christmas Don and thank you for the great and sometimes sad information on folks I went to Kindergarten First and Second grade with at FDR Elementary on Lawndale’s Compton Blvd today it’s Marine Ave.** Third fourth and fifth grade at Kit Carson Elementary on 147th and Yukon. ** Sixth grade way over at Mark Twain Elementary ** Seventh and eighth grade at Will Rodgers. ** Entering High School at LuLu Tech in 1959 my freshman year and 1960 my sophomore year. My family up graded in 1962 ( I know that was not a 1962 word) from Hawthorne to Compton. My junior and Senior year was at Compton High School graduated in 1963. A tremendous highlight for me was grad night at Disneyland seeing many of my good friends I grew up with in Lawndale and Hawthorne.
Don allow me to comment there were a hand full of Colored students in Lawndale in the 1950’s early 60’s Personally at that time I preferred Colored over Negro I was told I was a African American when I returned from Vietnam in November 1967. My youth years at FDR, Kit Carson, Mark Twain, Will Rodgers and Lulu tech I only recall one incident of racism. When we were told to start our own Cub Scout Pack. Someone changed that and Alfred Patterson and I joined I think it was Pack 853. I was never called the N word well not to my face. We got along very well growing up in Hawthorne considering I was in the Third grade when Brown vs the Board of Education was ruled on. Fourth grade when Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi Fifth grade when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Seventh grade when the Little Rock Nine were denied entry to Central HS in Little Rock. Alfred, Ola May, Marcia and I did talk about the 1960 and 61 Sit -Ins and freedom rides when we were at Leuzinger.
I always had a crush on Ola May Brown to me she was fine but she said I was to short. Marcia Cochran had way to many big brothers. And when I thought Lorraine De Ville was showing an interest in me my family was moving from Hawthorne to Compton My great grand kids don’t believe we walked every day from Leuzinger east on Rosecrans to Chadron one block west of Crenshaw. And they laugh at the only place we went for food was Fosters Freeze on Crenshaw South of 147th Street. And for 50 cents almost every Saturday in the 1950’s we could see two movies at the Park Theatre phone number was DA 4- 4040. 25 cents admission 10 cents popcorn 10 cents beverage and a nickel candy bar.
I will be 70 next year and I would not change anything about my experience growing up in Hawthorne Ca. I had so many good childhood friends I cant name them all. At FDR and Kit Carson Jimmy Waters, Gary Chrone, Guy Genty Carol Yoshida, Dianne Talmand was at Twain, Arlen Swanson a good friend at Will Rodgers. Last year my great grandson’s travel 9U baseball team played a game at Tri Park Little League. It was no longer located where we played now it is located at Bodger Park. I walked around both schools remembering the wonderful times I had growing up in Hawthorne.
Respectfully Elbert Kelley
Thank you Elbert.