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Friday, July 9, 2010

Christian School memories

When we lived in Modesto our children attended Modesto Christian School. It was run by a local Assembly of God church. They had great teachers for the grammar school section of the school, but they tried to expand too rapidly, and I think they acquired incompetent teachers for the older grades. Apparently the Gallo family thought something similar to this. Yes, these are the famous Gallo wine people. They were staunch Roman Catholics, but they valued education for the grandchildren enough to send them to this charismatic, fundamentalist school through the 8th grade, only to transfer them to a local Catholic school to finish up their high school education. So even though the people of "Assemblies" church controlled the school, the Gallo family did much to sustain it financially.

School policy was strict about dress code, forbidding suggestive or foul language on printed tee shirts. I found it rather humorous that the Gallo boys got away with wearing shirts to this "dry" institution which promoted: "Drink wine all the time" and sported the Gallo logo.

I know our son, Calvin, was friends with the Gallo boy who recently died. At that time our Bobby was classmates with another of the Gallo grandsons, and Bobby was invited to the mansion for his birthday party. At the party they raced ATVs all around the property.

Later the school moved to a more spacious property, acquired from a Christian peach grower. The school then became located in the middle of an orchard, which left the children who were outside at given times of the day, sprayed with chemicals dropped by the low flying crop duster. Philip was wondering how this may have prompted his bout with lymphoma.

The family from whom the school obtained this property (I don't remember if it was donated, or if it was just a "friendly" price) were also friends of ours. They let us come and glean huge, wonderful peaches after the pickers had finished. Our whole family was there picking boxes of fruit which we dried on our roof at home. In fact we discovered some of these dried peaches in the bottom of our antique freezer which we recently disposed of for an energy saver. They are still good! Boil them a little and let them stand, and they are as good (or better) than peaches out of the can. While we were picking, our son, Bobby, decided to throw one at his friend (the son of the orchard owner) as he drove through the orchard on his ATV. One of his pitches was more accurate than he intended, and we were embarrassed to apologize to our friend for hitting his son in the head with a peach.

This friend, by the way, was an "elder" in the Church in the Park, which was a thriving unit of the "Jesus People" in the 70s. Another elder of the Church in the Park was also a member of our congregation, Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Modesto. At first they were just a group who met on Friday nights at a local park, sang the Scripture choruses with guitar accompaniment, and then hit the street to witness to young people who were "cruising" McHenry Ave. In the movie, "American Graffiti" it was another street they used to cruise when George Lucas grew up in Modesto.

I learned many Scripture songs from this group, and I went out witnessing with them. They had a location to house street people who came to know the Lord. There was a "Lydia House" for girls who had become Christians and needed a home off the streets. A local Christian doctor provided room in the basement of his office for boys to stay. It was called the "catacombs" because it was a labyrinth of halls and "rooms" that resembled spelunking. They were good people. Then they decided to become a church, and of course, that meant they met on Sundays instead of recommending their people to attend a local church.

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