The Documents and The Stories of...
F Sheff at Work -"b"-   

To start, assume "Work" and "School" are interchangeable. They have routine, obligation, and inevitability in common. So let's start with early, early school. My dad was an educator, so I was essentially in school (meaning "at work", right?) from day one, was reading recreationally by age four. I remember some of that, but the real memories from that time were people things: affection, discipline, abandonment.

   Photo: Children in First Grade, Santa Ana, 1943List of Children in the Picture

I remember exactly two of these children: Billy Church, my a**hole buddy, and Jo Ann Ogg, the center of my non-family life. I did not recognize Billy's face in the picture. I would have known Jo Ann anywhere. Why do you suppose the children were segregated by sex? A whole-class picture would have left the faces even less distinguishable, is my guess.

(What ever happened to Gary Orr? Where did I know Gary Orr? I can picture his face in good detail, but there is no background…)

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Picture of YOBS in front of the 1805 North Ross porch

   Picture with Jo Ann Ogg, my obsession and teacher

Based on what was apparently little or no pertinent experience, I planned and staged a "circus" on that porch. If it had all come about, it would have been more of an acrobatic exhibition. I drew and posted sheets advertising the "acts." We had programs and refreshments to sell, but no one could afford them, nor the admission, so we went free, free, free. The guests liked it a lot, especially the KoolAid™.

Performers were to be Jo Ann and me. She eliminated one pose: she was to be prone, and I would do what amounted to a forward-leaning-rest on her shoulders. She said somewhat agitatedly that she didn't think that was nice. I offered to be the "down" member, but that didn't make it any better. We didn't do that one. I had no idea what the problem was.

Not the last time I was involved with a female more sophisticated than me.

Come to think of it, she was one of the first people I knew who lied and I realized it. She and her dog knocked over a 5-gallon water cooler. She let me take the blame. And I was the one who arrived just in time to have flying glass cut me on the shin. Lotta blood, lotta disillusion. Imagine.

We must have lived here quite a while. I graduated to long pants! I have a Donn Moomaw Christmas story about this place, too. Some day.

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My buddy, Billy Church F Sheff at Work in 1943 Jo Ann Ogg, my sweetheart and teacher Billy Church F Sheff, Your Obedient Servant Jo Ann OggJo Ann Ogg