As I said (See blog of August 19), I liked Friends’ Central.
Lea School (Grades K – 8) was in a grim grey building. Friends’ Central’s Lower School (Grades K – 6) was in an unimposing one that may have been an estate’s stable or barn. (The Upper School, grades 7 – 12) , elsewhere on the grounds, had been the estate owner’s much grander home.) Lea divided each grade by September and January admissions of 30 0r 40 students per class. FCS’s classes had two 20-student sections. (By the Upper School, there would be an additional section.) Lea School had a macadam playground, where we played softball and varieties of stickball against each other. FCS had fields for soccer, football and baseball, and we competed against other schools. It had two gyms and Lea School none.
My Lea School classes had been predominantly Jewish, maybe a half-dozen gentiles, of whom three or four were black. My FCS class had no blacks and six or seven Jews. (My graduation class of 69 had one black and 15 Jews, which was more than enough for it to be known as “the Jewish Quaker school” among its competitors.) Unlike most private schools in the area, it was co-ed. In my fourth grade class photo, I am the tallest child and the only one with glasses.
Initially, FCS had rejected me. (My father has suspected anti-Semitism.) But just before classes began, a slot opened, and after the intervention of a prominent Quaker – the father of my blonde friend across the street (See blog of August 17), it was offered to me. I was delighted. I had loved those fields. (There was even a patch of woods, with a creek through it.) I liked my classmates and felt comfortable with them. I read the same books – the Hardy Boys and the Landmark Series. I wore the same Davy Crockett and Civil War caps. I was sent from the room to stand in the hall for disruptive behavior enough times to prove myself a regular guy. I could smack an underhand toss over the fence. (Trouble would develop when we switched to hard balls fired overhand.)
I knew from movies and comic books that private schools were not looked upon favorably in some circles. Nor, for that matter, were kids in glasses. These downsides had not yet manifested. The Jewish part had even scantier relevance.