The story continues as the partnership between Dick and me ceases in a bitter-sweet finalé. The sweet part was my independence, the bitter part was not being able to take advantage of my good fortune in the bowling alley profits. Of course the cash I gained fattened my bank account, and I proceeded to do all the stupid things teens do with their money. I bought a car, some fancy threads, a larger apartment, etc, etc. The bank account was on empty, and in need of replenishing.
One day when I went to visit my liar's poker buddy, Fred, and he shared with me that he was about to loose his house in Altadena, and wondered if I would like assume the VA loan, and pay the back taxes of 3-4 hundred dollars. Since, I probably couldn't have qualified for any loan, I jumped at the opportunity. The good news was that the house payment was less than my apartment rent, the bad news turned out to be worse than the good; as, the neighborhood had just been emblazoned with for-sale signs the week that I moved into my new castle. Now what to do? I had no experience with what was about to happen...to an elite neighborhood that was about to turn black. Would I lose money? Who knows, I had to stay where I was, and hope for the best. My glitter had lost its shine.
Not long after I had moved in the house and gotten settled into a routine, I got a call from my sister who was six years younger than me, to tell me about the drinking and fighting in what used to be my home. Jeanne, made a convincing case and I decided to send her the money to get on a bus to come and live with me. Boy, I didn't have any idea of what I had taken on until we got into a daily routine. Watching out for a 13 year old was no cake-walk. Fortunately, we had a wonderful neighbor who lightened my load immensely. It wasn't long before I got a call from mom, and she opined that she was going to come west for a visit.
OK, we have room. The third bedroom would be filled if mom stayed a while. BTW mom never worked a day in her life, so I had the whole load. It seems the Cleveland funny farm was disbanding, and there were some unwelcome twists about to occur in my life. By the time mom arrived and got settled, her old drinking habits started again as the newness of things wore off. I just couldn't stand it. Zero patience for the booze, and she added a new dimension to her persona, she invited a boyfriend to her bedroom against my wishes. One day I came home to hear her and witness their shenanigans as my sister, Jeanne, gets home from school. I sent mom packing back to my dad, much to her chagrin.
In little of no time the neighborhood was completely black and I decided to sell. My main concern was the school and the problems they were having with discipline and bad behavior. The house sold in a month and I made about 5-6 hundred dollars on the turn-over. Now south Pasadena was my choice for a place to live. I found a nice cottage with two bedrooms, and I had more than enough furniture to fill it up. I can't recall how long it was before Jeanne got home-sick for her friends in Ohio, but home she went for her senior year of high school. The California prosperity dream for me was no longer, and I began thinking about what I would really do with my life. Chasing California rainbows that disappeared as fast as they came, seemed a dim future.
Working two jobs to make ends meet was getting old and tiring. I had no possibility for a social life, and the National Guard and the BofA were dead ends as far as a career was concerned. My enlistment in the California National Guard was just about up, so I waited the appropriate time and sent in my paper work to my draft board that I was in good standing as was my job as an ASMT, and I thought things would be cool for another year.
I decided I would enroll in John Carroll University (A Jesuit school) in University Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. I got the paperwork together, and sent my bonafides, grades, and desires to them by letter and waited to hear from them. Thanksgiving was fast upon us, and my lease was about to expire, so it was time to hit the road. Mom and dad had moved into another house and I asked if I could stay for a few weeks until I could get registered at John Carroll, and get employment. They were cool with that and in short order, California was a closed chapter in my life. No richer or poorer than when I arrived but experience I had galore!
Cleveland was just as drab and dreary as I remembered it, and several days before Thanksgiving, I felt like I was in a time warp. I made it to John Carroll registration to see about my status; and, discovered I had to take some more tests, what else? The holiday past, and I was amazed when the mailman brought a letter addressed to me. From all places, the local draft board. How they found my address, I will never know, but there it was, a draft notice! Needless, to say that put everything on hold and me in a tail spin. If I had been registered at John Carroll, I could have avoided the draft, but not this time, I was had. Uncle Sam here I come. Since, I had been a Master Sergeant in the National Guard, they brought me in as an E-3, the first step above grunt. Tomorrow, my story continues with Part V.