09/06/22 - posted by Joel Belway
My most memorable “first day” at school was in 1951. Our family moved from the Sunset to the Outer Richmond on Halloween 1950. The next day my brother and I started Lafayette but I don’t recall using the cafeteria in kindergarten. But soon it was the first day of first grade and my mother gave me a quarter for a cafeteria lunch. Kids were on the playground before school and I remember watching the kids with trading cards in competition flipping them against the wall to knock down the “leaner” and those with skill won lots of baseball and football cards. While I was watching this, two older boys I didn’t know asked me if I had lunch money. I said yes, and one told me he’d trade his money, which was worth more than mine, for my own. He showed me a smaller, but he said more valuable coin than my quarter. I made the trade. (This was before the lady from BofA brought us into the banking world.) Then came lunch time and I went through the cafeteria line. When I handed my valuable new coin to the cashier, she said no dice. I went to my brother for help and he angrily wanted to know who the boys were, but I couldn’t remember what they looked like. The cafeteria lady finally took pity, passed the food tray and the next day I paid the tab. And in only one day learned to identify all US coins perfectly.
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