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Sal Sanders' Story

 Interested in the CHS as I lived in Cowell in 1941-42, attended the one-room school house in 2d grade. My father, Jack Sanders, was the electrician at the Cement Plant. Our house, as I recall it, was across the street from the plant. Tried to find Cowell years ago driving through the area but no one had even heard of it, but I heard that the Plant closed. Am now 76 years old, a semi-retired attorney in Long Beach and don't mind digging up memories.

Recall the one-room school house in Cowell, grades 1 thru 8, I believe.

One story I recall, sort of apropos for these times when bullying is such a big deal concern of parents. We just took it in stride and dealt with it.

During the 1941-42 school year in Cowell I was in second grade, basically, a nice easy going kid. Walking home from school one late fall day it was rather cool.

My mother gave me a new wool skull cap to keep my ears warm. Always small for my age, this runt looked like easy picking to four fourth grade boys itching to torment someone. They surrounded me, took my cap and knocked me down. Got up and tried to get my hat but they began playing keep-away, tossing it back and forth with me in the middle and pushing me back and forth in the process, Great sport for them.

I ran home. First thing mom said, angrily: "Where is that new cap I just bought you. You better not lose it. Tearfully, I explained what had happened, fully expecting sympathy and to have her march back to school to deal with those killers and retrieve my hat. Bad assumption on my part. "You go back there and take your cap back from those bullies." "But there are four of them, big fourth graders," I pleaded, "they will beat me up." "I don't care who they are or how many. You march right back there and get your hat or I'll beat you up if you come home without it." My fear of an angry feisty mother (she was all of 4'10" in heels) was worse than being beat to death by bullying fourth graders. Running back to where the bullies were still hanging out, one of them was wearing my cap.

Just for an instant I thought of retreating home, but the vision of a mad mama steeled me to forge on beyond logic. Walked right up to the guy who had my hat and demanded he give it back. He laughed, pushed me away and tossed it to one of his buddies. The stress was more than I could handle. Postal anger, caution to the winds, I socked him in the eye hard as I could. Must have hurt him. He began to cry. l Turned to the guy who had my hat. He quickly tossed it back to me saying, "here, keep your darn hat."

Proudly running back home, wearing my rescued treasure, fully expecting my hero's welcome, mom only said: "You better have that hat. Don't lose it again." My first clear dose of the real world. Looking back, that little experience in Cowell sort of helped shape my character.

Never had fear of bullies or hardly anything again. In fact, developed a reputation as a "little scrapper" from then on, and protector of other kids from bullies. Still basically a nice easy going guy, retired as a Federal Cop for the Bureau of Prisons, Federal prosecutor, life member in the 82d Airborne Association and the U.S. Army Special Forces Association, retired as a Counterintelligence Special Agent from the Army of the United States, and now spend a good deal of my semi-retirement mediating litigated cases and coaching amateur boxers, at risk youth, in the Police Athletic League and Police Foundation program, having 11 years of good ring experience myself in the process of growing up, which is still going on.

So I would really be interested in anyone still surviving the Cowell of that era. One might even recall the above incident. No scores to even. Only laughs and good memories. Regardless, fondly recall the total experience in Cowell that one year branded into my character.

Memories.

Sal Sanders

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