Too embarrassed to ask for Eva’s help, that night I asked my father to assist me in finding information about Montana in our Encyclopedia Britannica books. There wasn’t much there, just a picture or two with about two and a half pages of text written on the history of the state pointing out its importance and attributes. If I wanted more to go on, more to copy basically, I’d have to hit the library, my least favorite place on earth.
Culver City wasn’t exactly the Mecca of intellectual wealth. Our town focused more on making movies and television shows, glamour, great restaurants fast cars and drives along Pacific Coast Highway which always ended at our beach, Toes Beach, at the west end of Culver Boulevard. There were only two small libraries in my town one so small on Port Road at El Marino Elementary School it could only fit a few kids in it at a time. Although in walking distance to our home studying at El Marino was equal to reading in a broom closet. I asked my big sister to drive me to the Mar Vista Library on Venice and Inglewood, which was located on the outskirts of Culver City in the sleepy town of Mar Vista. It was a full size neighborhood library, friendly with a large variety of scholastic books.
I sat for hours combing the pages of any book written about Montana. I copied pictures in the book by taking tracing paper over the photographs and drawing my own version on art paper. I cut them out and pasted them to a large poster board. I created a map on the board of the entire state of Montana with rivers lakes wheat fields and farms, the forest areas of West Yellowstone, Glacier Park and the big Big Sky. In addition to the poster board art work I turned in a ten page written report. Cramming while jamming to my favorite top 40 radio station, KHJ, helped make the task a little more enjoyable. I made the assignment deadline with barely a moment to spare when Sister Carmel Mary announced that we were to hand in the projects two days after I completed my work. It was a Wednesday. The work was due on Friday. I asked my father if he could give me a ride to school so that I didn’t have to walk two miles from our home with my books my lunch bag and a poster board flopping around while I struggled trying to hold onto it. My father went into work late that day and drove me to the school yard then helped carry my project into the classroom. It was done. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I had completed the task. But it was difficult exhaling, while waiting for my grade.