|Westwood in 1948|
John Burke and I, Class of 1948 graduates of Mt. Carmel High School, and new UCLA students, sat quietly, bewildered, on the lawn of the quad eating our brown bag lunches. Around us swirled groups of stylishly dressed, exuberant students greeting one another and sharing stories of just-ended summer vacations. John was distraught. He had received the results of the Subject A Examination, administered to determine whether he would be required to take English 28, a remedial class. John, a very good student, had failed the test; I had passed. He did not recover from his disappointment and dropped out soon afterward.
My status at UCLA was precarious in a different way. Mother was the only breadwinner in the family, which included six minor children, a fact that weighed heavily on me, her eldest. Getting from south Los Angeles to Westwood and back also meant that I spent four hours every day riding streetcars and buses...
Full essay at www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2013/10/07/my-time-as-a-damn-average-raiser-at-ucla/chronicles/who-we-were/