Through Any Given Door

1.47 Larry’s Diary, April 1949

April 1949 • Larry’s diary (age 15)
Apr 1  Freshmen’s return was given, but it was so bad I left it to watch the baseball game with Livingston. We won 3 -1.
Apr 2  Had tooth taken out, very large molar. He sawed it up and had to take it out piece by piece. Got pills to kill pain, just in case
Apr 3  Kept store open by myself until 7:30, then went to see Southern Yankee with Red Skelton
Apr 4  Jaw was swollen up and was hard to eat supper. Paid Mrs. Wolf for track shoes $7.95. Read book Illicit. Got novelties in.
Apr 5  Could not go down to Ripon for track meet because of swollen jaw. Got report cards, got A- in English, B+ in Cal. His., C typing, S in band.
Apr 6  Played with the band at the play John Loves Mary. Had to sell tickets to terror show at Uptown for 50 cents, 65 killed in hospital fire.
Apr 7  Kids came over to make popcorn for Grammar School Music Federation. Dentist took out thread. F.F.A. had exhibit of cows and pigs
Apr 8  Cleaned up horn very thoroughly except the body and silver polished the outside bell. Lutz tore up report cards today.
Apr 9  Finished polishing horn. Stayed up all night listening to rescue of girl at San Marino, bundled up British stamps in 500’s, 100’s
Apr 10  Sunday: Girl was dead at San Marino. Shot at bats tonight with BB but did not hit any. Got sick in church. Had Army day parade
Apr 11  Got a haircut first day of easter vacation. Put cold cream on face for pimples. Killed 2 wasps, one on ceiling window
Apr 12  Mowed and raked lawns. Bought new sport shirt for $6.16. Treana has a new Packard, Mike a Pontiac.
Apr 13  Had banana split at Maxwells new fountain which opened day before yesterday. Got pants back from cleaners.
Apr 14  Went to San Francisco, drove most of the way down and back but not in the city. Bought for store some big stamp albums and U.S. catalogues
Apr 15  Bought a sheet and some singles of Washington and Lee stamps. Friday was Good Friday so went to church.
Apr 16  Kept store open by myself to 9 oclock and sold most of remaining Eater baskets. Sold a $2.50 stamp album. Soaked stamps.
Apr 17  Easter Sunday. I was late for the parade so I marched without uniform part-time. Saw show The Paleface with Bob Hope

Sonora, Easter 1949: Claudia, Carleen, Larry, Betty, Cathy in front

Apr 18  Got stamps from Jamestown N.Y. Got $6.25 worth, also got Wash, Lee first day cover but lost it on way home. First day of school after Easter vacation.
Apr 19  Went to Tracy High for track meet but did not place. Pan with stamps soaking in it spilled all over everything.
Apr 20  Got some sheets of stamps wich I ordered from the White Plains Stamp Co. for $5.60. Band played in gym during seventh and 4th
Apr 21  Claudia may have the measles and Dad is sick. Got Easter cards put away and got most of Mother’s Day out
Apr 22  Freshman picked weeds at school. Am now reading book called Lets Make Mary. Was late for school because of oversleeping
Apr 23  Florence Harold came into my room with Ima looking for a rodeo belt. Finished sorting out foreign stamps from British
Apr 24  Carleen ran a rusty nail clear through the ball of her foot. Doctor gave her tetness shots. Sold $25 worth of holsters
Apr 25  Went to show and saw premere showing of William Bendict in The Life of Riley. Got nosebleed on track from running.
Apr 26  Stayed after school during seventh for band practice. Am on study 81 in typing class tests
Apr 27  Band played for open house, auditorium was packed. We played five numbers. Found out that Ben Cravling taking bass.
Apr 28  Had track meet with Calaveras here but did not run. Freshman turned levis inside out. Ben Cravling got panced in gym.
Apr 29  Baseball game with Manteca. Raked up lawn and cut off some of the vines in the front yard. Soaked stamps.
Apr 30  Days came up with Judy and Jeff. They slept in my room and Betty snooped in my room. I slept in Betty’s bed.

Aunt Verda, Uncle George, Jimmy and Judy Day


Uncle Charlie and Aunt Velma were up for Easter Sunday. They took the above picture of the kids on April 17. Charlie also took family movies in our yard that day with his 8mm color camera, with Velma in the background instructing Charlie how to run camera.

“Hit the red button Charlie, hit the red button.” It was her constant refrain whenever he took home movies.

In the short clip, there’s Mom, who’d made our Easter outfits, then Betty and Claudia in matching pink suits, me in a lacy collared white blouse and suspendered red skirt, and Carleen in a yellow skirt and white sleeveless blouse, all in our Easter best. The film clicks through its frames. No one looks comfortable, not quite sure what to do in front of the camera. Claudia is spinning a yo-yo, Betty is watching. Mom is trying to get me to turn around, Carleen is watching. Betty is pretending to box with me and then swings me by my right arm like I am a tilt-a-whirl car at a carnival. Then I stagger in circles dazed and confused, my elbow bent in an oddly poised vee looking like a poor thalidomide child, with a dizzy grin yelling, “Again, again, swing me again!”

to be continued…

© 2017. Catherine Sevenau.
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  1. Jim Chatfield says:

    Very busy young man, he must have quite a collection of stamps.

  2. I love his humorless, dogged reporting of life’s tragic and mundane events through his eyes… well, maybe some irony mixed in? Not much joy… did he ever laugh? Still, a realistic portrait of life in those days. Brings back memories of my adolescent/teenage years in Brentwood, Knightsen, Antioch, similar small towns back then. Life without cellphones!!!

    • I think my brother was pretty serious as a child. As an adult he is more ascerbic and witty, not so much raucous. Much too restrained! Of course he’ll probably restrain me if he sees this…

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