Clifford Eugene White Memoriam
"Gene" White - later as an adult he was known as "Cliff" - was my best buddy from the 1st grade through high school, when we both went our separate ways, looking for whatever life held ahead for us.
We were both shy ,cotton headed kids in Bellevue Grade School, thrown together with, I'm sure equally shy & scared 6 year olds. [ There wasn't any kindergarten then. ] Cliff was one of the first children that wore eye glasses, and he took a lot of guff from the other kids, who often called him four eyes. Later on, near the end of 1st grade, his parents moved to Utah for a short while since they were of the Mormon Faith.
They returned when Gene was in the 2nd grade. We would play cowboy and Indians with the other neighborhood children in the canyon back of the school, which extended to a field in back of Gene’s home. In the fourth grade, I moved just up the hill from where Gene lived. Every time we went to the store or to the bus stop, movie etc. we took the short cut past Gene’s home. We often would stop and play for hours on end. My younger brother Don broke his arm riding his bike too fast taking the short cut through Gene’s yard.
In the 6th grade we transferred to the new Mitchell Grade School. We spent many fun summer days playing softball, pitching horse shoes, or just hanging out. We often would play baseball and Gene would play catcher, later in high school the coaches would beg Gene to play football, because of his size and speed. His Mom would not let him play for her fear of him being hurt. In Jr. High our hormones changed and our lives would never be the same!! We had another “ Gene Purcell" that we ran around with so much we were kidded about being the “Three Musketeers”.
When we were about 17 yrs. old we were sitting in the balcony of Princess Theater, flirting with two girls in front of us by throwing popcorn at them to get their attention. A couple of years later one became my wife and is the mother of two of my children. After high school I went to work for my Dad as an apprentice bricklayer and later Dad moved the Family to San Diego, Ca. Gene joined the Navy and saw the world!!
He ended up going to Fresno St. University and became an accountant, and along the way met and married Pat, a schoolteacher. They settled in Clovis, CA and reared two children, Kevin and Mandy. I would usually visit them when we would go to northern CA A couple of week’s ago I called to see if they would be home, I was shocked to hear that Cliff had passed away April 1st. Time just slips away, I had called Gene, when I retired three years ago, we talked and I thought we would be vacationing that way more often. He had been ill for the past two years, and died at home with multiple causes!!