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Jim Miller arrived at Herlong when he was twelve years old. Jim, his brother Davey, mother and new stepfather moved to the high desert town in northern California in the early summer of 1946. It was hot and dry and a place that Jim hated from the moment they arrived in their very old and tired 1934 Ford sedan. Unlike San Francisco, Dayton, Ohio, and other cities Jim had known, Herlong was a small town filled mostly with people who came from all over the United States to work there during and after World War Two. Herlong Elementary with its eight grades soon became the focus of Jim's early life. At his age girls were important competitors but three boys became his best friends. Steve Whiting, Billy Jewel, Howard Soars and Jim, nicknamed "Brain" for his yearly achievement test scores, hung around together through elementary school, high school and summer vacation work, forging tight emotional bonds that would later become a limiting force in Jim's life. Herlong had no high school so students were bused to Susanville to attend Lassen Union High. Jim excelled in his classes at Lassen while his friends accepted mediocre grades and could hardly wait to get out of school and enter the work force at Sierra Ordnance Depot, the reason for Herlong's existence.After a semester at the University of Santa Clara and a wild Christmas vacation Jim realized that he had to leave Herlong so that his life would mean more than a dead-end job in a dead-end town.