I served in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1969. The Vietnam war had just escalated when I joined, and would continue to rage long after I left. I began my naval service in minesweepers, serving my first duty aboard USS Fidelity. That's USS Fearless in the picture, Fidelity's twin sister. Last wooden ships in the U.S. Navy. I was there, got the shirt. I was a radioman, served a year and a half at the big communications hub on Guam, and finally returned to 'Nam on an oil tanker. The navy calls them "Oilers," and they're the ships you see in the movies steaming alongside another ship, topping off its fuel tanks.
By and large, I didn't enjoy my naval service. The military tries too hard to pound every peg into a square hole, and I've always been one of those people that doesn't fit neatly into compartments. I made some friends there, had some adventures, and as a radioman was taught to type. That one skill opened the door for the rest of my career, which could be better, I suppose, but I can't complain. I was fortunate not to have been assigned to one of the carriers or battleships, big spit-and-polish showboats where your career hinges on the quality of your shoe shine or whether your neckerchief ends are even. I'd probably still be in a brig somewhere.
But I'm not here to post about the navy. I didn't like them, they didn't like me, and that's about the only thing we ever agreed on. No, I'm here to talk about what happened right after I got out. I parted company with my first real employer on October 3rd, 1969 in Long Beach, CA. I took a Greyhound bus to San Diego, and a Yellow Cab from the bus station to the homestead in Point Loma. With everyone's blessing, I moved back into my room which I paid for by doing chores around the house. Grandma and Great-grandma were advancing into old age by then, and there was a lot they just couldn't do anymore. It was understood that a lot of my day would be spent looking for a job. I had just gotten that process well under way when Great-grandma, up on a midnight potty run, slipped on a rug and broke her hip, changing the course of my life forever.
The sole family income at that time was provided by Grandma, who supervised the cleaning staff at the Mission Valley Hyatt Lodge. I have related before how we lived rent-free in my uncle's house in exchange for keeping it up, and had we had to pay rent, we would have all lived together under a bridge somewhere. There was no question of being able to afford professional in-home care. She was only able to get primary treatment of the injury because her son was a general in the Air Force, which entitled her to care at San Diego's Navy Hospital. How this impacted my life was that I suddenly found myself a nurse. When Grandma was at work, I had to be at home to provide for Great-grandma's every need. A lesser man could have left, I suppose, but this was the woman who had provided years of care for a child who wasn't hers, and saved me from growing up in an orphanage. What would you do? What I did was to put my career launch on hold, and spend the next five years as an in-home nurse.
I adjusted my life to Grandma's hours, and found a job manning the counter at a dry cleaning drop-off shop a block from home, enabling me to be there at the drop of a hat should the worst happen. I walked my neighbor's dog for $10 a week, and put in paid hours doing grounds work at the Little League field a block in the other direction. My best friend Chip, whose father owned a surgical supply house, brought Great-grandma a walker free of charge so she could get around the house, and that was a lifesaver. And somehow, I was able to find time for myself in that strange whirlwind of constantly changing schedules and activity.
Chip and his little brother, Dennis, became my primary companions as I in some ways got back the last three teenage years the navy had taken from me. Dennis, who had been little more than a toddler when I met Chip, became a great guy to hang out with and discuss movies, TV, and world affairs... Especially after we'd put back a couple of joints. Yes, I smoked weed for a little bit, probably around six months, and unlike some famous BSers of the recent past, I did inhale. Back then, grass was just grass, without all the chemicals the dealers add these days to hook you faster and move you up to the expensive stuff, and smoking a joint provided a buzz that was comparable to drinking a beer, only without the violent follow-on tendencies.
There were a few other friends, though none as close as these two, and a girl occasionally passed through my life, though a guy who lives in his grandparents' garage and walks dogs for pocket change was as unattractive to women then as he would be now. I made models (ships, planes, tanks) and played tabletop wargames with whoever I could rope in. I got a kitten from Chip, and named her Lid. She was a hoot, and smarter than Lassie; more on her in a future post.
The highlight of this period was going cruising with Chip. His dad had financed him in his purchase of a '57 Bel Air. Not the classic then that it is now, but it represented freedom. Sometimes we would go to a specific place for a specific thing, but the best times were had cruising. Chip was going to UC Irvine, a college up the coast where he would achieve his Ph.D. in philosophy, and we would drive up and down the coastline, out into the back country, and through the local mountains while we had the most amazing discussions about anything that came up. Those were great times.
And then, in the summer of '74, my uncle retired from the Air Force and came home to live. His first decision was to sell his house, which sort of put us in a bind, as you might imagine. By that time, my mother had left the gambling arena and had a job at the Civil Service Commission in San Diego, and she was living with us and sharing the nursing duties. It turns out we needn't have worried. He wasn't about to leave his mother in the lurch, and he bought a house out in the east county that had once been a nursing facility, and had about eight rooms around a central living room that was huge. I suffered from hereditary migraine, and announced that I couldn't abide the heat out there.
I had been cut loose from the dry cleaners, having gotten into it with the main office accountant over an issue that I can't even remember now. There was a lesson that I took with me, though. I mean really, how was I to know she was the owner's wife? I was collecting unemployment insurance at the time, and in my naïve belief that I would find a job within a couple of weeks, I rented a studio apartment in North Park. This place was fabulous! Built seventy years ago atop a garage at the back of a driveway, it looked like something out of Follow That Dream. It had a gas heater with no safeties that stood out away from the wall, stained glass paper over the windows, a balcony off the kitchen that no one in his right mind would step onto, and a gas stove with a mind of its own. You turned this thing on, and for ten seconds you would hear the hiss of gas, after which it would blow the tea kettle a foot into the air, and then everything was fine. Brought my cat with me, and got around on a Peugeot mountain bike I got from Jeff Kelly, one of the Point Loma gang, for $5.00. Had to be stolen...
Not long before the move, Mom had signed me up for the Civil Service exam, which after some heated exchanges and blowing one off, I took. I posted a pretty good score, and not long after the move, I started getting calls to interviews. Grandma let me use her car, and I attended several before I was picked up at Naval Air Station, North Island, out in the middle of San Diego Bay. It was in the Maintenance Support Package Branch, and the job was to keep track of the location of small aircraft parts in a huge warehouse. It was the lowest-paying of the jobs I had interviewed for, but the others all told me they wanted to look at more applicants; MSP told me I could start Monday.
That was in 1975. I still work at North Island, though MSP is long gone. I sometimes think I could have done better financially or even in terms of job satisfaction if I had held out for one of those other jobs, especially one at the Naval Supply Center or the one at the VA, but I met Bonnie at MSP, so there are no regrets, and no second-guesses. Bonnie has completed me in a way that I can't compare to anything else. In 38 years of marriage, she has been in my corner, on my side, had my back rain or shine, right or wrong, no matter what, and had I taken one step down a different road, someone else would be with me now, or just as likely, nobody. But that's a story for another post...
For now, get out there and live life like you mean it, and I'll see you in a week or so.
When Jack and I decided to get married and have children, we knew we needed a bigger house. As it happened, the house out front on Madison Avenue was being vacated and would soon be up to be rented. We inquired about the landlord and went to see him about renting the house. He let us rent it, and we moved everything in one day from the studio above the garage, to the 2 bedroom house. It wasn't fancy, it didn't have a tub, just a shower. But I was with the man of my dreams and I couldn't have cared less! On the first night in our new place, we went down to Ceasar's and bought dinner and took it home and sat on the floor and ate our first meal together in our new abode! This house had 2 bedrooms with doors that led to the bathroom and you could go from one bedroom to the next. The living room was long and narrow, and the place smelled of fish when we turned the heater on after we moved in! It seems someone had an aquarium and one of the fish jumped out of the tank and into the furnace which was a floor furnace! Even that didn't dissuade us! We wanted to have room for a baby and the house was a big improvement from the studio. We had many great times in the studio, but if we were going to be serious, we definitely needed a bigger place.
We had very little in the way of setting up housekeeping. We had some silverware and the pot's and pan's that we had bought separately. Jack had some odds and ends of his grandmother's things, and that came in handy. We didn't have even a toaster, or a coffee maker, or a can opener! We were going to have to buy things to make it more like home and we were up for the adventure. We had a bed for us of course, but nothing for the new member of the house that hadn't even be conceived yet! Little did we know what was in store for us. But I've already covered that, I just wanted to give a little back story that should have come before. I loved our little house. I had a wonderful man in my life that wanted to be my husband, and I was thrilled to have a little house of our own. I missed it for a long time after we moved. Our son Alex had asthma and the house was rather cold and drafty in the winter. He was sick a lot and needed a dryer climate, so we started looking for a place east of us in Spring Valley where it was warmer and he would fare better. Every time he caught a cold, it turned into pneumonia! They gave him a medication that I don't know how to spell, but it would make him cough and cough and finally cough up the congestion in his lungs. He was a little thing and it was just too hard on him to stay in North Park.
I had mentioned to a friend of mine at the IRS that we were looking for an apartment, and had found one, but didn't have the deposit saved up yet. She was very generous in helping us out and had talked to her husband about loaning us money from their tax return. The only thing he wanted was for us to sign a paper agreeing to pay them back. He was an accountant and liked to keep things up and up. That was no problem for us. We were waiting on our tax return as well. I found an apartment in Spring Valley, and the place was brand new. It had 2 large bedrooms, a really big living room, a nice kitchen and dining room and a bathroom with a tub! They even had a dishwasher and I was thrilled to be living in a new place! It was bright and sunny, but I still missed our old place because it was our beginning of the Tyler Family.
The day we had to move, my friend, Diane and her husband Jim watched all 3 kids for us! We made so many trips back and forth to get things moved, and when we were finished moving, Jack put the bed's together and we went to get the kids. We were dirty and tired and we had 3 little ones to bring home and put to bed for a good night's sleep. When we got to Diane's house, she had bathed the kids, and Jim had gone out to Kentucky Fried Chicken to buy dinner for everyone. They were some of the nicest people I'd ever met, and we all were so grateful to them for helping us out. We ate, and then thanked them profusely for all their help. We gathered the 3 babies together, and went home to our new place. The kids hadn't seen it yet so they wanted to explore. I think they fell asleep on the way there, so the next morning they were full of energy and explored to their heart's content. We moved on a Friday so we had a chance to rest up before we had to go back to work. I had to find a new babysitter, and we found one that lived across the street from the elementary school they would attend when they got older. The boys were toddlers and Sidra was 9 months old. Her name was Delores, but everyone called her Dee Dee. She would be our sitter for quite a while. The boys only had to walk to the corner and cross the street. As Sidra got older, she became "mommy" to the boys and made sure they had their coats and lunches and whatever they needed for school. She was crazy about babies, and helped Dee Dee to potty train the little ones. Don't ask me how...she just did.
We lived in the new place about 1 year, and then one day while we were at work, the apartment managers let themselves into our apartment and finding chalk on the kitchen wall, they got quite upset with us and told us the week of Thanksgiving that they were giving us a month's notice to vacate the premises. So we started looking for a new place and it took all our Christmas money to get us moved to the new apartment. Our daughter kept asking to go home once we were moved. She loved the first place, and had learned to walk there. That was home to her. A friend of our named Mike, knew a pastor that ran an apartment complex and he talked to him and they found a place for us. It had 3 bedrooms, a smaller living room, a kitchen with dishwasher, and 2 bathrooms with 2 tubs. There was a balcony and Jack loved it. It had a storage shed on the balcony and we had a swimming pool and the laundry was at the foot of the steps. The kids were still with their sitter, and even though we had a very small Christmas, we loved the new place too.
We were there for maybe 3 years and the kid's were not allowed to play in the area just outside our apartment. There was a new manager and they were very strict about it. We decided that the kids needed room to grow, so one day, Jack told me to go to work, and he started looking for a house to move us to. Preferably one with a good sized yard so the kids could play outside. They were so little and puny and needed to be out in the fresh air and run and play like normal kids. That evening, he picked me up from work and said he had something to show me. We went to the house, still in Spring Valley, and I was thrilled! It had a big front yard with a good sized tree, and inside the house there were open-beamed ceilings, 3 bedrooms, a bath and 1/2 and a family room with a patio and glass sliding doors. The owner asked me if I liked it, and I certainly did. The kitchen was big and the dinning room as well. There was a back yard and it was so manicured it looked like a park. We settled on a day to move in, and went home and picked up the kids from Dee's house.
We decided to take the first day and celebrate and we took the kids to Disneyland! We took blankets and pillows, food, and their pajamas, and we had a ball at Disneyland with the 3 of them. When we got through for that day, we went to the car, opened the back up, put the kids in their pajamas, and tucked them in with the pillows and blankets! Before we left the parking lot they were asleep. We had stayed for the fireworks display as well, and it was hard to stay awake on the way home. We opened the windows and turned the radio on and I think we had to stop at Jack-in-the-Box for coffee. But we made it home fine, and we carried the kids in and put them to bed, and we decided to unpack the car in the morning. The next day we all had fun just being free where no one could come in and tell us how to live and the kids had a ball exploring the new neighborhood. The new landlords were moving quite a way away and wouldn't be popping in unexpected at odd hours. We just relished the idea of freedom and we lived there for the next 17 years.
This concludes this session with the Tyler Gang, and we were settled in for a long winter's nap, away from apartments, and managers, and all the rest. We were free at last, and the kids grew 3 sizes that first summer!
Hope you enjoyed this "moving" episode and will stay tuned to Tea With the Tylers for the next page in our book of memories!
The last time I posted, I talked about the birth of the twins. Well, Sidra's birth was rather dramatic as well! When the twins were only 7 months old, we came home from work one day and I just could not keep my eyes open. I laid down on the bed and zzzz'd out for a couple of hours. Finally it dawned on me that I had felt that way once before... when I was pregnant with the boys. So, I told Jack that I thought I was pregnant again, and he said, "I think I'm leaving!" He was kidding however and we were so busy with work and the twins, that the time went by rather quickly. Jack was in radio school too at the time, taking classes after hours to be a D-Jay on KCBQ back in the day. Sometimes he'd stop on the way home and buy us a couple of Hostess Individual pies and I'd get up from bed and we'd sit on the loveseat and chat about the future. It was exciting! During the day after I quit to have our daughter, I'd type up letters for him for the various radio stations across the country. We had an old typewriter, but it still worked in spite of the shenanigans that boys pulled with the ribbon and wrapping themselves up in it! But it was our plan that I'd quit my job when Sidra was due, and I mean quit altogether! We had hoped Jack would be accepted by one of the stations and make lots of money and I wouldn't need to work. But such was not the case. I quit my job before we realized what would happen to us if he didn't get picked up. It looked as though Bankruptcy loomed on the horizon. I had put cards in the Civil Service Commission job site and hoped for the best. There was no way I would be able to stay home now.
While I was pregnant with Sidra, I didn't have morning sickness like I did with the twins. The time flew by and before I knew it, I was having a labor pain on the way home from my parent's house and I was worried and afraid. I remembered the difficulties with the first baby and I just knew it would be the same with this one. I went in on a Tuesday and they did the usual check's. The next morning, after Jack left for work, they called from the Doctor's office and told me I had acetone in my urine and they wanted me to come in and let them induce labor. She was 2 weeks past due anyway and it was bad for her. So, I called Jack, and he got off of work and came flying home. We went to my Mom's house to take the boys to them to watch them and Jack and I headed for the hospital.
Once there, I saw a different doctor, but he did an ultrasound and determined she was in the right position. "Are you ready to get this over with", he asked. "Yes I am!", I answered and he told me to go to Maternity and I was signed in and prepared to deliver our daughter. The labor hadn't started, so they broke my water and then the fun began. Sidra was more than ready to be born. They hooked me up to the monitor and disappeared. The pains started not long afterwards but they were really strong, not mild at all. At one point, I screamed because I thought she was going to be born right there in the labor room and fall on the floor! The nurses came running and asked what was wrong. Then I told them she felt like she was ready to be born and they checked the monitor and sure enough I was dialated to 8 centimeters already and I hadn't even been there for an hour! So different from when the twins were born. They took me to the delivery room and this time Jack was dressed in a gown and cap and gloves and they ushered us both into the room. After they gave me a saddle block, I began to push her out as the nurses helped me to sit up slightly and push. She was 8lb 14 oz and was 22 inches long! She was beautiful! They wrapped her up after they cleaned her up and they handed her to her Daddy. Then they gave her to me, and I began to kiss her face and kiss, and kiss, and kiss! I couldn't get enough. She had darker skin and black hair and I thought at first she was going to take after my Grandmother, who was of Cherokee descent. They took me to the recovery room and disappeared with Sidra & Jack both. He left to go get something to eat and they eventually took me to a room and tucked me in bed and I fell asleep. Around 2:00 in the morning they brought the baby to me and I got to hold her and feed her. Then I put her on my pillow on her tummy and I laid down beside her and put my hand on her tiny back to keep her close to me. Jack came back the next morning and I had showered and put on a gown and robe, and had cleaned the baby up. I didn't go home until the next morning. But I felt fine.
Then things returned to normal with me being home with the kids and Jack going to work. But I knew that I needed, we needed as a family, for me to go back to work. I started looking for work with Civil Service again as that was the majority of my work experience.
One day when the kids were playing and whooping it up, the phone rang. I answered and a man said to me, "This is Dennis Godfrey with the IRS." My heart fell to the floor. What now I pondered and waited for the axe to fall. "Are you still looking for work?", he asked. "Yes" I replied and he told me if I could find a sitter and come down to the Federal Building, that we could do an interview that very day. I got on the phone and called Jack's Grandmother Helen and she was willing to come and babysit and let me use her Duster to go down for the interview. I found some money for parking and changed my clothes and fixed my make up and hair the best I could. After all day with 3 little kids, I looked a fright! But soon Grandma Helen showed up and I got the keys from her and drove down to the Federal Building. I parked and crossed the street and took the elevator up to the 3rd floor. I went in to the office and was greeted by an empty desk with a phone on it. Then a man came walking from the right side behind some partitions. "Are you Bonnie?" he said. "Yes, I replied and
he indicated for me to follow him back behind the cubicles. He did the interview, told me he liked the fact I had used all four of my names, and he had pulled every card he could find from the files downstairs and was impressed. After the interview, he told me what my duties would be. I'd be working for Revenue Officer Group 15 as a secretary, and doing work for him as well. There were about eight of them and they would also be getting in trainees to learn the ropes. Finally, he said, "Well, when can you start?" I told him Monday, and he liked that response as well and I had a job! When I got home Helen was delighted that I'd found work. I let her go home and paid her for watching the kids..
Sidra was such a good baby and rarely cried and that made life a lot easier. The twins didn't sleep all night till they were 3! It was awful! But we made things work out like we always did, and I rejoined the work force the following Monday and we were going to be OK. Not that I wanted to work, but we had to have the money and the kids were so little that if their needs were met, they should be ok. My parent's were out of the question as possible care givers for the boys. They had done a lot to separate us and I wasn't in a hurry to get started back in the same rut. We found a friend's wife that we worked with and she watched the boys and Sidra as well. She was a plump and jolly sort and loved babies. Many evenings I'd get there and she would be in her rocking chair holding both of them!
Life as we had known it changed dramatically after we had children. It did get easier the older they got. They loved playing with their Dad and Sid always wanted her Dad to hold her if she was sick. The house was full and the kids seemed to be none the worse for wear. We eventually moved on to live in Spring Valley because of Alex''s asthma and I'll go into that more next time. The memories are sweet and it is so great to be able to recall so much of it. It's rolling up to 6:00 in the evening and I hear the pots and pans trying to get out of the cupboard, so I think it's time to cook once more! I'll leave this for you to read, and I hope you get a little insight into the workings of the Tyler Clock! Enjoy!
. . . she wasn't, but there was a fun side to her for all of that. Kay Frances, her name was, and in her high school days of the mid-1940s, she was wired to be a mathematician. If women had been allowed to do anything in that era, she would have been one of the pioneers of the space program, but they weren't, so she turned her faculty with numbers to a trade where she was welcome. She was a gambler.
Mom played every card game you could toss down a nickel on, and played it well. In fact, I hesitate to call what she did gambling. There are 52 cards in a standard deck, four suits of 13 each. To calculate the combinations that are possible during a game, multiply 52 by itself 52 times. When I lived with her in Monterey, her specialty was panguingue, a game of Filipino origin played with 320 cards, and that makes for a calculation your pocket calculator won't help you with. The thing with mom was that every time a card was exposed as a discard or a play, she would recalculate in her head the odds of what would likely happen next, and bet accordingly. The Christmas I was with her, 1963 if memory serves, we had spent all of our money on food. I had about $5 in my piggy bank. Mom took that and disappeared for three days. When she returned home, she had $850! We drove down to San Diego with the car packed with gifts, and had one of the great Christmas reunions ever.
Sometimes mom worked for the house, either salaried or for a percentage of the take, sometimes as a shill, and sometimes she freelanced. A shill is someone the house pays to pad out the game in order to attract more players. She would be given a stake which had to be paid back, and she kept whatever she won beyond that. When she freelanced, she almost never lost, as witnessed by the fact that this was her career for decades. She paid rent, owned cars, had a social life, and moved from town to town all without ever seeing a guaranteed payday. The card rooms, licensed and otherwise, must have quaked in their boots when she sat down at the table, but they didn't dare refuse her, or she wouldn't work for them in the future.
It sounds carefree the way I write about it, but it couldn't have been easy. At sixteen, she was pregnant with me, dealing cards in the back room of a waterfront bar and doing her own bouncing. That's the family story, anyway. It seems harsh to modern ears, child labor laws being what they are, but she gave birth to me a month after her 17th birthday, and I'm pretty sure she didn't meet the sailor who was my father in her high school home-ec class. With her as my escort, I spent some time in that world, and it was a subculture that lived by its own rules even back in the 50s and 60s.
I have always held it against my mom that in the age of Leave it to Beaver, I didn't even have one parent, but whenever she was around, at least when she was younger, we always had fun; my friends always thought she was my sister. I think it was her lifestyle that gave her a devil-may-care, get through today attitude toward living, and it rubbed off on me when I was around her. Later in life, she got a civil service job. Card rooms were in decline, run off by the Indian Casinos, and if you were going to deal for them you had to look like a runway model. Besides that, she may have been thinking about laying up a retirement fund. She worked in the main personnel office in the San Diego Federal Building, and put my name on the list for the test that got me my first Federal job, but something about the 9 to 5 turned her sour and cynical. Something about being a rat in a maze killed that free spirit, and in her old age, she became such an emotional black hole to be around that we finally stopped seeing each other. It's hard to say whose fault that ultimately was, but when she started dumping her emotional baggage on my 5-year old daughter, I told her to knock it off or take a hike; she never called again. You know, maybe she didn't have the nose-to-the-grindstone temperament to be a rocket scientist, even if they'd let her in.
So that's the story of Kay F. Davidson, September 19th, 1931 - May 23rd, 1998. There are many things that can be said about her, pro and con, but this must be included: She molded life into what she needed it to be...
Now take your cue from her, and get out there and live life like you mean it!
Hello again! My turn and this time I will describe the surprising events leading to the forming of the Tyler Gang! Jack and I were married on December 24, 1975, and by Nov 17 of 1976 we were parents! But much to our surprise, we were not parents of one baby... but 2! Twin sons were born to us that day but the surprise came just the afternoon before they were born. I had a doctor's appointment that day, and as I had gained 10 lbs. in one week, the doctor decided to take some pictures... It was a shock to say the least! The pictures showed 2 babies, sex not quite visible, and they were in the breech position. Both of them! Jack's first thought was "Bankruptcy"! The doctor informed us then that they would do a C-Section because they were my first and he said it would be too hard to have them naturally. That was a disappointment as I had prepared myself for a natural birth, but with two babies, I figured he knew best. We left the clinic and attempted to go to his grandma's house to tell them the news. Jack's Grandma Helen and his Mother Kay lived together and we wanted to break the news. No one was home. So, rather than drive all the way to Chula Vista to my parent's house, we went to the store and bought our dinner and went home. I was so excited I couldn't eat much, and I decided to walk to the corner market and use the pay phone to call my parents. My brother David was there, and I told him the news. All the time I was pregnant he had teased me about having twins. When I told him I really was having twins, he was not too surprised, and said he would tell our Mother and Sister when they got back from the store.
I went back home, took a shower, and got ready for bed. I attempted to go to sleep, but sleep would not come. I was excited and amazed at the same time and wondered what it would be like having two babies to care for. My parent's hadn't believed me when I told them I was pregnant. They said they'd believe it when my doctor confirmed it. So it was no surprise that they didn't believe there would be twins either. I didn't care. I was going to be a Mother and that too was a part of my fondest wishes. Jack was amazing. He had taken care of me all through the pregnancy, including making our dinner when I was napping and waking me at 7:00 to have dinner. I was working with him in the same office, and when we'd get home, I was so tired I had to lie down. This was during the last trimester of my pregnancy. We took a walk almost every night and I think this helped me a lot when the big day finally arrived. I glanced at the clock occasionally that night trying to fall asleep, and finally the last time I checked it was 4:15. I finally dozed off, but at 5:15 I felt a jolt so strong I thought we'd had an earthquake! I woke Jack up and asked him to turn on the light. My water had broken and he was so relieved! He said, "at last!" and jumped out of bed to get ready to take me to the hospital. I put on his bathrobe after I changed clothes, and put on his shower shoes because my feet were too swollen for my own. I had packed my bag about 2 days before then, thinking I had a month to go. We were taken by surprise to be heading to the hospital the day after the clinic, and we weren't prepared at all! Not even a bed! My Mom had brought down a bassinet about a month before, but 2 babies were not going to fit in the bassinet! Too late now...!
Once we were at the hospital, we were admitted and taken to the Maternity Ward. I was dressed in a hospital gown and waited for the second pain. The first one had come as we were driving to the hospital. My Doctor came in and I had mentioned I had wanted to have a natural birth, so he brought in a specialist who was going to examine me and see if it were feasible to try it. He proceeded, and to my amazement, he said that my hips were wide enough to have them naturally, even in the breech position. I didn't know what I was in for. They took me to a labor room, and Jack came with me to wait it out. The pains were not so bad at first. But before the day passed, I spent about 8 hours in hell! The pains were terrible, and Jack tried to joke once saying that the other mother's were taking their blankets and babies and going home because of my screaming! He developed a migraine as we hadn't eaten or anything before we left. The nurses were bringing him pain relievers and water and were rubbing his shoulders... He was in worse shape than I was! He had terrible headaches, and as I've had 3 of them in my life time, all stress related, I now can sympathize with him. They are horrible, and no one should have to bear such pain. It's excruciating to say the least! The nurses ran him out of the labor room and did the things they had to do to prepare me for delivery. One of the nurses came in after about seven and a half hours, and checked the heart beat of the babies. The first baby to be born was having a slowed heart rhythm and she went immediately to tell the doctor and they prepared to deliver the babies sooner than they had planned.
Once I was in the delivery room, they had me roll to my side and they did a spinal-block. It went very quickly. Jack had wanted to be present, but they told him that if something went wrong they didn't want him to panic and they wouldn't let him in. There were 2 doctors and 2 teams of nurses for the babies. They used forceps to deliver the first baby. He was born bottom first. One team of nurses took him quickly and disappeared with him. Then they proceeded to deliver the second baby... also a boy! I was so elated! Two sons at once! The second baby was delivered feet first and they used 2 sets of forceps for him... one for me and one for him. Then they turned their attention to me. After they did the stitches, they left me in the care of the nurses who disappeared for a minute or two. When they came back, I told them I didn't feel well and they ran for the doctor. I think my body was going into shock. I felt so queasy and like I was going to pass out. I was nauseated too and nothing came up but water! The doctor came back in and put something in my IV and when it went in I started feeling better. Warmer and not light headed anymore. The nurses then put another gurney beside me and they put a binding garment on the gurney. Then they helped me to turn over from the gurney I was on, onto the binding garment on the other gurney. They wrapped it very tight and covered me up and headed to a room where I'd spend a couple of days. When they brought me into the visiting area, my family was there. I wanted to cry, but I turned my head quickly as I didn't want to upset my mother. Once in bed, they let the family come in. Jack was on one side and my family on the other. One of the nurses came bouncing in with a huge bowl of ice cream with crushed pineapple and a cherry on top. My sister tried to feed me some of it, but she got light headed herself and they had to help her to a chair so she wouldn't faint.
The nurse told me I had to lay flat for the next 12 hours to avoid a really bad headache from the spinal they had given me. After everyone left, I fell asleep and later in the evening Jack's Mother Kay came to see me. Jack was there too. He had left while I was sleeping and got something to eat. He had been out earlier and had called my family to let them know the babies were delivered, and that I was not doing so great. The next morning, I sat up slowly and swung my feet over the side of the bed. They had disconnected the IV and I was free to get up and use the rest room. I made my way slowly to get my gown and robe and head for the shower. They also did a sitz bath which really helped. My legs were shaking but I made it and it felt so good to wash my hair! When I got back to my bed, it was fresh and tidy and they brought me my first son, Brian, to feed. He was amazing! He was so perfect, and wasn't wrinkled or red or anything! I unwrapped him to look at his little tiny feet and when I heard the nurses coming for him, I wrapped him back up quickly as though he weren't mine!! The feeling cannot be explained, holding your first baby for the first time. I looked at his long eye lashes and beautiful green eyes. They came back about half an hour later and took him back to the nursery. They said I needed to rest and they took care of them until the day I left. All except when Alexis had his circumcision. They brought him to me to comfort, so I got to see the second baby too. He looked just like my family and Brian looked like Jack's family! He came in to tell me we should switch the middle names for that very reason. So we named Brian, Brian Holt Tyler, Holt was Jack's middle name also, and we named Alex, Alexis Jordan Tyler for my maiden name.
The next day, the second day after they had been born, I was released to go home with my bundles of love. Our office wouldn't let Jack come and pick me up because he had been off with me when I delivered the twins. That was how they were about me, and it was me they objected to, not Jack. So I called my brother and Mother and asked them to come and get us. We had planned to spend a week or so at their house anyway, so I could rest. They came and got us, and unknown to me, David and Jack had been shopping the day the boys were born, and they had bought a bed, sheets, blankets, T-shirts, and some clothes and bottles and things for the babies. It was all set up by the couch when I went in. When I saw the bed, I started crying and my Mom came and hugged me really tight. I went to the bathroom, and David and Jan had the babies. When I came out, they were both in tears because it was a beautiful miracle and it was so beautiful and special. My brother had bought me a beautiful white robe with a hood and the inside of the hood was multi-colored and I loved it. The boys had been in blue knit suits and wrapped up in blankets. All the way home I had held one baby in each arm as the nurses had placed them. My Mom had wanted to hold one of them, but the nurses told her, "NO. This is her special day".
Later in the evening my Dad came home from work, and I guess he didn't know we'd be there. He stood in the doorway and said, "Well, I'll be damned!" He smiled as he looked at the babies. I was sitting in my Mom's red chaise lounge chair as it was the easiest for me to sit down on. Jack came home from work, and a friend of ours from work, "Big Ski," had followed him in his car so he could see me and the babies. Jack held one, and Ski held the other. He had tears in his eyes. He missed his own sons as he was separated from his wife and hadn't seen them in a bit. Before he left he kissed me on the cheek and said "Good Job, Mom!"
A miracle had happened in our lives. Two wonderful bundles of love in two perfect little boys all our own. They were perfect and beautiful, and loved. Jack and I were so tired, and I went to lay down and he followed me not too long after. The babies were sleeping peacefully, and I cried in Jack's arms that night, from happiness and exhaustion both. It had been so traumatic for me and at the time, I did not handle stress as well as I can today. But he just held me and he said, "I thought we were close before..." I fell asleep, and the first night, the family took care of the babies for us and let us get some rest. The next morning, I got up with Jack as he had to go to work. I made him some food and a mug of tea in the microwave. After he left, I resumed my sitting on the chaise, and my Dad offered to fix me breakfast! It was amazing. The love in those two precious little boys filled me with so much joy and peace. They were our own special miracles and our lives were blessed beyond measure.
I have talked quite at length about our sons. But only 7 months later, I was once again pregnant, and I will cover that story in my next session. With love and admiration for all this man has done for me and our children, I return this site to his loving care. There is so much to tell about us... As you can see, I am somewhat wordy. This was the beginning of the family to be known in the future as "The Tyler Gang." All my love Jackson. I love you more than you can imagine honey! God Bless! Mom
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?!??