|Back in our day . . .||
After I came back to California, leaving Minnesota and family behind, they decided to move back to Chula Vista and my Dad would be stationed aboard the Carrier USS Constellation (CV-64). In August of 1965 they returned and I had my things packed and ready to go home with them. I came down with my life-long disease and spent about a year recuperating at home with the family. I spent a lot of time in my room... my life was very difficult. I didn't know what I had, because the symptoms were not apparent to the rest of the family, but I was miserable inside and so insecure and afraid. This disease would reappear off and on in my life, and the rest of the time, I functioned as near to normal as I possibly could. Deep in my heart was a burden of pain that I thought would never go away. But I was in bed one morning and I felt something lift off of me. I began to cry because I began feeling warm in my heart and I just laid there for a while feeling the warmth spread to other parts of my body. I got up, got dressed, and began to live again. I felt a peace I hadn't known in about a year. I participated in family life that day, and it was the beginning of a new day for me.
After about a week of enjoying my family, I began looking for a job. Just anything would do because I wanted to get out of the house. The last year I'd been trying to take care of things at home while my Mom worked at a motel close to Imperial Beach. I asked her one day if she thought I could do what she was doing. She talked to the manager and she decided to hire me even though she said I was awfully young to be subjected to the things that I'd have to do as a motel maid. But I took the job, worked hard, and my health and mental attitude changed. I still had no friends, but I didn't mind. That part of me just wasn't active after all I"d been through. I got involved in making our yard at home look better and bought some trees to plant. My brother and I worked on the yard together. It was better for us than it had been when he was younger. We became closer than we'd ever been. But that didn't last long, because he got into drugs and hung around with the wrong people. But for a while things went well and I didn't question it. I just absorbed the closeness and felt a healing taking place in my mind and heart.
As time went by, I decided to quit at the motel and I looked for a job babysitting. The first job I had was taking care of 3 little kids. Dawn who was about 5, Jack who was 8, and Penny who was only 18 months. Their Mom worked at a bank and their dad worked at something that they didn't feel inclined to discuss. They were good children, and I'd feed them, play with them, clean up the dishes, vacuum if it needed it. They lived in a double wide trailer and had an extra play room in an enclosed patio for the kids. I did such a good job with then that little Jack told his Mommy that if anything happened to them, I could take care of them. I asked of that meant I was getting my walking papers, and she just laughed and said "No! Of course Not!" Later on they decided to move and wanted me to move with them, but I declined and took a little time off. Then I found another job, but in the meanwhile, my old ex-best friend's Mom offered to get me a job at Ratners Clothiers in DownTown San Diego and I took it. I was a bundle girl in a coat and suit manufacturing company. I had a Jewish boss named Samuel Kessel and he was the greatest. He never cursed in front of me, would come in on the weekends and help me get caught up and gave me a raise for every month for the first 3 months. I had taken a Civil Service Test, and passed, and in November I got a phone call to come in for an interview in December. I had my hair done, bought a new dress and new shoes, and went to the interview. I was hired that day and began working for Uncle Sam on the 3 of January of 1968. I was a clerk typist and did a lot of typing of Naval Messages and things of that nature. I was busy from the time I went in till I was leaving for the day. I made friends with the women I worked with and was feeling really good about having a real job.
I met a friend that lived close to me named Corrine Zacharias. She and I would meet at my house around 4:30 in the morning and walk to the bus stop together. We'd sleep on the bus till we got downtown and then we'd get off and have breakfast at a little shop called Dixie's. Then we'd walk to the ferry landing, long before there was a bridge, and we'd take the ferry across the bay and walk to our building. It was still so early, and we'd sleep in the ladies lounge on the couches until time to start work. Every evening we'd run to catch the bus so we always brought our tennis shoes so we could change out of our heels and run better.
Long after we were promoted, I moved to San Diego to live with my Grandmother because I couldn't get along with my family. I was growing and changing and needed a break from the way things were then. It seemed like every day when I'd get home, there would be problems to solve, and my Dad had deserted us. I was the only one working and I'd pay my bills, pay rent, buy food, and all the rest of the things that you do as an adult. My brother stayed home, laid around the house and was defended by my mother. I couldn't take it so I moved. My Grandma was glad to have the company and we had a quiet and very peaceful life. We'd go to church together on Sundays with her friends, and then out for dinner. When I'd get home on the bus in the evenings, if she was going out, she'd leave my dinner in the oven and would set the table for me. I sat and cried one evening and I began to feel like I was a real human being and being treated with love by someone I looked up to. My Grandmother was self-sufficient and independent and I thought the world of her.
My Mom needed help financially and eventually I moved back. It was a big mistake. But I did it to help her, because I loved her in spite of the way she favored my brother and little sister. She felt like she couldn't control me and she didn't know how to act with me. We had been close at one time. But I'd been through so much and I just had changed into someone she didn't really know how to deal with. I was an adult. I was still working for the Government and had been promoted several times. My Dad was still gone from the family, and things at home were chaotic as ever. My brother had met a young girl and had been employed at General Dynamics as a machinist. He got engaged and everything, and then at the last minute, decided that Frances was just not his style, and dumped her. She was heart broken and he quit his job. I had foolishly cosigned for a car for him, but when he quit his job, I had to make the payments. One day we were in a wreck, and I had a bad whip lash. I took the money we got from the settlement, gave him half, and I took my half and made a down payment on a car for myself. It was a new Chevy Nova and I loved it. I then had a way to work without taking the bus, and not much longer afterwards, I moved out again to Imperial Beach with a friend of mine. That lasted for a while. We had a lot of fun, and it was good to be out of the house. My Mom had called me the night I moved out and told me that "One day you'll wish you had a home to come to!" I don't know why she couldn't let go of me, but the disease was still there.... Eventually I fell out with my friend, and I once more moved home. I could tell there was something brewing under the surface for me, and one day I just couldn't think anymore. I went to work, but I couldn't think... couldn't concentrate. I went to the ladies room and laid down... My boss came finally and opened the door and asked me if I was ok. I told him no, and that I needed to go home. That afternoon I finally got home and I told my Mom that they were painting the office and putting down new carpet and fixing all the pot holes on the base and that I would be home for a while. She didn't question me. I went to my room and laid down on the bed. She came in later and asked me if I was sick. I just shook my head and looked away. She disappeared and started making dinner. After 3 days, my boss called to see why I hadn't been at work and hadn't called in. She told him what I said, and he told her that wasn't so. He told her I'd been acting odd at work, and they thought I should see a doctor.
They made up a plan to get me to a doctor to see what he thought. That's when the diagnosis was made and the day I became aware of what the sickness was that would rule me for many years. I read the slip the doctor had written for my boss. I couldn't believe what I read... I was Schizophrenic. I was given medication, which I took without a fight, but it would be horrible as it built up in my system. The years would be long until I was free... Life would be more difficult than you can imagine, but the years would improve and life became a challenge, but at least a manageable one for me. I'll close for now because the rest of my life took a turn for the better and I don't want to spoil the fun and combine it with all the darkness of the days of my past. So for now, I will say so long, but turn the page and give the pen to Jack. As always, I'll be back with more of this saga and the rest will be full of wonderful things, including overcoming my disease to the degree that I will discuss next time!
This is for the grandkids, the family, close friends, and anyone else who can keep a civil tongue in their heads! It amounts to an interactive book of memoirs, but only if you interact... so get to it!
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California has been my home since 1965. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I'm home to stay!
What is there to say about a ten-year old turning 65, besides, what the hell happened?!??