My dad got a job at Indio Community Hospital and we moved to a small house in a retirement community in Palm Desert, California. This is a suburb, believe it or not, of Palm Springs. This photo is of my house, although when I lived there, it was off white stucco and we didn't dare try to grow grass or giant shrubs. Doesn't the house look like it's all garage? I look at that now and it's just bizarre. But all the houses had private courtyards right next to the garages--sort of a backyard in the front yard.
I started kindergarten there, at a school with open breezeways instead of halls. I was in the English speaking class; the Spanish ESL class was in the afternoon. Since I already knew how to read, I spent part of my day in the first grade classroom (the beginning of my complete social development breakdown, frankly). Mrs. Gretch was my teacher. A kindergarten teacher named Mrs. Gretch. Seriously.
I learned to ride a bike in Palm Desert, and I went over the handlebars for the first and last time. Had gravel in my chin from the accident for several years of panic on my mother's part. That year I also got bullous myringitis (middle ear infection involving blisters that form on the eardrums--I remember this clearly) and the chicken pox. Thank goodness that was in the era before schools would fail you based simply on absences.
We lived down the street from Ed and Virginia, who had a pool. They were retirees and later became my sister Bevin's godparents. I spent a lot of time in the pool. Probably the first place I lived where I got nicely tanned, which was to be repeated only twice more in 30 years. Ah well.