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Grades K-5: enrolled as DAVID H. MEYER


1st grade

1936 - 37

Central School

Goodland, KS

Just relocated from his native Nebraska due to his mother's new dress shop job, David begins school in Kansas. The Kindergarten class has been recently started by Flossye Gulich, who may have been David's first teacher. He is here through early March.

Alma, NE

David completes the school year in Alma where he is enrolled in First Grade.

1st grade
2nd grade
1937 - 38
1938 - 39


Casper, WY

Los Angeles, CA

Exact dates unknown.

David's mother Berniece moved around a great deal over these 2 years and David alternated between time with her as she transitioned to a life in Los Angeles, and time in Wyoming where there was extended family able to provide some stability.

In 1938, when he came to California, he may have first attended a 7th Day Adventist Church School near downtown.

He is also believed to have attended L.A.'s 10th Street Elementary School.

It seems likely though not confirmed that he would have attended Alexandria Avenue Elementary which was 1 block from a 328 1/2 N. Alexandria address he lived in and 2 blocks from his next address of 629 N. Alexandria. 

His mother's late-in-life recollection of Rosemont Avenue Elementary is also a possibility.

3rd grade 9/39-5/40

Park Elementary School
Casper, WY

Janssen spent the majority of this school year with family in Wyoming, though he was absent from his school there for several weeks in the 2nd of the 6 school periods and presumably back with his mother in Los Angeles.

Also not comfirmed comes the information that Berniece attempted to enroll him in the Black-Foxe Military Institute in Los Angeles. This may have been in fall 1939 before deciding to send him to Casper. David, according to his Aunt Dorothy, was very unhappy and his mother withdrew him.

4th grade 9/15/40 - 6/41

McKinley Home for Boys (boarding school)
13840 Riverside Drive
Sherman Oaks, CA

This was a 200 acre facility in the heart of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. David's time here would later be the subject of some heated family controversy. Berniece tried to downplay the length of time enrolled ("it couldn't have been even a year") and was triggered by her appendectomy hospitalization.

David's memory added to the timeline. He stated on a Mike Douglas show appearance that he was there for 3 years as a ward of the court--that authorities had picked him up and it was determined he was not being taken care of properly.

Neither seems to be accurate. In truth, David started McKinley 2 weeks before his mother married Eugene Janssen. The appendectomy, in late 1938, seems unrelated to the placement.

McKinley was not a reform school but a Kiwanis-sponsored facility which cared for some orphaned children and, more often, as a temporary solution for single guardian parents who faced difficulty caring for their children. The parent needed to apply and the child was evaluated in terms of prior grades and citizenship.

It would seem in David's case that he was placed there as a convenience to his mother and her new husband while they adjusted as newlyweds. Berniece did work full-time. If 10-year old David had lived with them they would have had to hire help, offsetting some of the financial advantange of her working. But the absolute necessity of boarding school could be debated.

David, in adult years, would carry a resentment towards his mother for her decision to send him away. 

5th grade 9/41 - 6/42

McKinley Home for Boys (boarding school)
13840 Riverside Drive
Sherman Oaks, CA

Grades 6 onward: enrolled as DAVID M. JANSSEN
6th grade 9/10/42 - 6/25/43 Santa Barbara Avenue School
Los Angeles, CA

In April 1943, Berniece went to McKinley to see about David going there for the rest of the year as she left to be with husband Gene, who was in military service in Oregon, from 5/43 - 7/43. David had a medical exam for McKinley on 4/21/43, but it appears he finished the year at Santa Barbara Avenue School while living at his grandparent's house.
7th grade

9/13/43 - 1/7/44

1/9/44 - 6/44

Edison Junior High School
Los Angeles, CA
while living at his grandparent's house.

John Burroughs Junior High School
Los Angeles, CA
when his family moved to Park La Brea.

8th grade 9/44 - 6/45 John Burroughs Junior High School
Los Angeles, CA
9th grade 9/45 - 6/21/46 John Burroughs Junior High School
Los Angeles, CA
10th grade 9/16/46 - 6/47

Fairfax High School
Los Angeles, CA

11th grade 9/47 - 6/48

Fairfax High School
Los Angeles, CA

David may have attended summer school after his Junior Year. Friend Jerry Evans recalls attending a class at L.A. High School with David and fellow Fairfax classmates Dale Lillard, and Tom Mcintyre. It was needed to take care of a graduation requirement in music, however none of the group were musical. They took a singing class and tried to learn songs like "Ol' Man River,""Summertime," etc.

When school started up again at Fairfax, the group volunteered to sing for some senior program, but could not do a song with any semblance of music. As a result, they came up with "Hold That Tiger" and its simple melody as their performance piece.

According to Evans, "our presentation was a big disappointment to all who listened to us."
12th grade 9/48 - 6/16/49

Fairfax High School
Los Angeles, CA

Janssen bios hint at his having attended a semester of college and sometimes UCLA is mentioned. It appears that may have gone a short time to LA City College as this is listed on his 1952 Universal Studios questionaire, but his dates of attendance are not known.



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