© 2013 Sharon Berndt or Francis Berndt Jr..
This page was last updated: July 13, 2013
It is the last day of February 2013 here in Wisconsin.   Our third story balcony facing north is covered with snow.  A day or so ago,  the irregular wicked wind of the southeast revolving counter clock wise around a low pressure point centered below Michigan whipped a bunch of Oklahoma panhandle snow through Chicago and onto our balcony.  The snow has accumulated on our balcony about a foot on the west side and about 5 inches on the east side as we face north.  I know, you were expecting to hear about Junie's early life in California.  Well, hold on to your hat, we are getting there.  It is not too desirable to travel out at night and the apartment fireplace and television are beckoning us to watch some old TV shows such as Perry Mason, Kojac, etc.  Various shows in the past have covered episodes of cops and robbers where the robbers are pursued through the concrete viaduct called the LA river which is dry during most of the Summer.  The passage has concrete walls about 15 feet high and concrete flooring about as wide as a two lane paved road.  This base of the LA river has also been used for drag racing.
Thinking back to one day in about 1938.  Los Angeles had a rain storm which drained most of the water in the city into the river and the viaduct was filled to the brim.  At home in 52nd and Ruthelen, the water had collected in the street in front of our house and stood from the third step up across the street to the third step up on our front steps.  Needless to say, the middle of the street was high in water.  What a wonderful opportunity to wade with knee high boots through the area which Junie did.
Kitty corner from our home on 52nd and Ruthelen lived Alan my playmate for about 4 years.  Besides Alan and Junie, there was Nancy who joined us in playtime.  We used to say or do something silly and then the three of us would just start to giggle until our ribs hurt.  Alan and Junie used to play tennis at a nearby park while Alan's mom supervised and furnished sandwiches and beverages.  One of the favorite sandwiches was peanut butter with mayonnaise and raisins.  Don't knock it, try it. You may want more.  Oh yes,  potato chips too.
It was a bit of a walk to school at 54th and Western where Junie started  in first grade.  Junie was too old to start in Kindergarten.  The teachers would always pair up  girls with boys when moving from the room to the auditorium or to recess  in the school grounds.  Playground activities  included dodge ball and volley ball with other activities.  Junie did well in arithmetic and reading through out  grammar school and higher learning.
At about 55th and 56th and Western were the movies and candy shop along with sidewalk hamburger stands.  Candy was a penny a bagful which the customer would choose from assortments and place in a brown bag.  Movies were about 11 cents and an uproar occurred as the prices rose to 14 cents.  Passing by the hamburger stands was torture if you did not buy the 10 cent burger which smelled of tempting fried meat and covered with raw onions, relish, mustard and a soft bun. The aroma was overpowering and the mouth just drooled for a taste.  On the way from home to school were a couple of gas stations which Junie frequently went into to get souvenir cards of baseball players.  It was stylish to trade these with other kids.  There were other memorabilia which was obtained when purchasing breakfast cereal  and coupons cut from the boxes were filled out and sent to various places to obtain playing bombsites and spy glasses.
Evenings at home were occupied seated on the floor next to the 4 foot upright radio which beckoned us to listen to our normal pattern of nightly entertainment. We would anxiously await the next episodes of the Lone Ranger, I Love a Mystery, the Green Hornet, the Shadow, and Fibber McGee and Molly, among other favorites.  Special announcements by President Franklin Roosevelt from time to time  updated us on the nation's recovery from the Great Depression.  The notification of the bombing of Pearl Harbor was sobering.

More later ......In Chapter 4