|Back in our day . . .||
On Christmas Day of 2013, my husband Jack got sick with the flu. My daughter was getting better, but was still sick herself. We thought it was just the flu and we'd be getting better soon. I caught it too and had it for 3 days but began getting better right away. All except the cough that went with it. Then on the 7th of January my husband told me to call the hospital because he thought he had pneumonia! So I did, and thus began our walk in the darkness of sickness and hospitals and rehab facilities.
If you have ever taken anyone or anything for granted, stop! You never know when someone will be called to end his life here and begin anew in another realm. Don't take anything for granted because everything we have in life is a gift. The way we treat others comes back to us in our times of need. I can't possibly enforce this strongly enough. If you have someone who cares about you, stay on good terms with them. Don't treat people like yesterdays stale lunch and shrug them off with not another thought. My daughter and I walked together in the darkness of hospital corridors and Nursing Facilities. Our beloved husband and Dad was suffering in the ICU of the Kaiser Hospital and was in a very strange bed that saved his life. For 10 days he was not visible to us, because the bed enclosed his body and rotated it from side to side to help his lungs clear up. We asked for prayer and we prayed every morning, and every day with him in his hospital room. We prayed at night before we went to bed. No one thought he'd make it through this. But he did! He is strong and God is able to do to the uttermost the things that we cannot even conceive of!
This site is for things that we experienced in our youth. But this is a subject that will loom in my mind for a long time to come.. I cannot bring myself not to mention this episode of our lives. There were many tears, and worry tried to swamp us. But our faith in God gave us strength and the prayers of so many people were answered. The Nurses who worked with him and the specialists that came in to see him and to discuss different plans of attack on this disease. We had support from others who prayed even though we didn't know them personally. He is very strong as we told them at the hospital. And 2 months after he contracted the diseases, he left the Nursing Facility walking under his own steam to get in the car.
Jack is so important to us. We love him so much and he is everything we could ever ask for in a husband and a Father. We were just beginning to share our Golden Years and he had just published his first book. He wasn't finished with life and we have him back! There is nothing too hard for God. Nothing is impossible with God. Indeed, we have one of God's Miracles sitting right here with us in our living room and the last 2 months seem like a nightmare mow... it has ended and the sun is shining once more. We shall enjoy all our days together and we will cherish the one we almost lost, forever more. So please, if you love someone, tell them. If you need someone in your life, let them know. Don't take life for granted for it can be snatched away in a heart beat and you will regret so much the things you didn't say. I LOVE YOU JACK! There is nothing I wouldn't do for you! I am so thankful you are home because we have a lot of living to do! You are a vital part of all of us and we will always know the value you have in our lives. God Bless You Always and May You Always Walk with God's arm around your shoulders helping and guiding you every step of the way. You are an amazing person and you have much to give to the world!, and to us! But better yet, you have much love to receive and we will be so happy to give you all you need in this life and a view of the life after this one! You are Very Special! And I am so proud to know you and to be your wife! Good Night Sweetheart, and sleep worry free right beside me as you have for almost 40 years! And may we walk into the future unafraid and full of love and peace for all time, for all eternity!
I have mentioned before that I had a disease. I still do. However, the medications they make today are far superior to what they had available when I first was diagnosed. In short, it is a chemical imbalance in the brain and the chemicals I take alleviate that and make my life much easier. There were many times of illness before I met your Grandpa. I had to deal with it alone, as does anyone in my situation. I had a good doctor, and good med's, but the work was up to me. The doctor gave me a place to vent and air my feelings. He gave me good advice, took care of me when I couldn't take care of myself, but the hard work was pretty much up to me. I did a lot of writing, reading books on the subject, and interacting with people in society. I did really well once they got the medications balanced for me. They gave me many different types over the year, but the ones they have today are the best. They have the least side effects of any of them. Now you know a little bit about the disease, but unless you see someone suffer with it, you don't know what your Grandpa had to go through. But he never left me, he dealt with it the best he could, and he gave me new insights and new ideas all the time.
When I first met your Grandpa, it was in the spring of 1975. He came to our office to work, but the first time I saw him I thought he was someone from the Data processing side of the organization. He was dressed very nice, and stood in the back of the office with his arms folded across his chest. Then I went about my business and didn't give it another thought. The people I worked with were not really very understanding of me when I went back to work. I don't know if they were afraid of me, or just plain uncomfortable having me in the office. They gave me project on top of project, and when they came back for the first one and I didn't have it finished, there was always an upheaval and they'd get mad and stomp off. Well, your Grandpa watched them mistreat me for a while, and then one day he approached me and he gave me some good advice. The first thing he told me was to not justify myself to anyone. Then he told me about his religion, The Tao. Later on we gave each other our phone numbers and we would talk on breaks at work, and sometimes have lunch together. The first time we made plans, I got sick and we didn't go out. He didn't ask again. Then I moved to Chula Vista from National City because there were a lot of problems there. Chula Vista was a much safer place.
Most of my time at my apartment I was alone. I'd go to work, and then I'd go shopping if I needed to for food or whatever I needed. But usually I'd just go home and have some dinner and then I'd watch TV or do laundry or clean up the apartment. Sometimes I'd write poetry or work on a picture, but not very often. So one Friday evening after work, I went home as usual, and then I remembered having Jack's number. So I called him and asked him if I could come and visit him. He said yes, gave me instructions on how to find his house, and then I left and went to visit and that was the beginning of our friendship. He lived on Madision Avenue just above Mission Valley, just off of Texas street. He lived in a little studio apartment above a garage, and the first time I went to see him, I could see him through the screen door doing dishes. He answered the door, and I went in and we sat on the floor and listened to music and talked for several hours. Then, when I left, he walked me to his car and then he touched my shoulder and told me, "Sometimes all you need is a friend!" I took it in and then I said goodbye and drove home to my apartment. I saw him again the next day at work. A little bit later, he invited me on a date to see the sights in San Diego. He picked me up in a white truck, similar to the one we have now. His Grandmother had promised him he could use her car, but he had been helping them move and they rented a truck for that. When the day came to actually let him use her car, she changed her mind, so he took the truck and they would have to pay for the mileage! And the mileage was quite a bit because he took me all over the scenic drive and I'd never seen so many places. He drove all over the place and we had great fun! We wrapped it up by going to Balboa Park and we parked and got out and walked around looking at everything. We talked a lot and then we drove back to his place and we had a glass of instant breakfast and talked some more and then he took me home.
The next day was Mother's Day, and he had a little more moving to do. He asked me if I had plans for the next day, and I told him I was going to go see my Mother for Mother's Day. I wish a thousand times I had gone with him because the visit with my Mom was so depressing. My Grandmother was there, and as she was getting senile, she often didn't make much sense. My Mother hadn't forgiven me for having a life of my own, so the whole visit was a real drag. I saw him again on Monday, and a little later on he asked me if I'd like to go to the desert sometime and do some exploring. I said yes, and we went places all the time after that. The morning we went to the desert, he came to my place in his Grandma's car and I had made steak and eggs and toast for breakfast. I put on the Camelot Record I had and waited for him. I decided to look out the window to see if he was there yet, and he was on the walkway just below my apartment. He saw me and waved and I opened the door. We had a great breakfast and then we were on our way. We went to the desert and parked his Grandma's car and got out and went exploring. There was one hill he climbed and he told me to come up there with him and look at the view. I stepped on a huge rock and the ground around it broke loose and I slid down the side of Diablo Mountain on my stomach. I went down it seemed like forever, but he was still able to reach me. I took the knife he had given me and stuck it in the side of the hill, just like he had told me to do, and dug my toes into the dirt and tried to hoist myself back up on top. He laid down on his stomach and reach out for me. I grabbed his hand, and between us I was back on top in no time. My hat never came off and for quite some time, the tale was told to friends and co-workers alike.
Something changed that day. He gave me a necklace to wear that he treasured, called an IDIC and it was from a Star Trek movie. It stood for "Infinite diversity through infinite combination." Somehow I just knew that things would be hard for us to combat, but we were together and that would prove to be our saving grace. I don't want to spend too much time today writing about our various and sundry experiences, but I will cover them in some degree through the rest of the story. We have been together for 38 years and there is much to tell. But for today, I have made my point and am happy with the results, so I will say goodbye because I know that Grandpa is ready to use the computer, and I need to make something for dinner! I hope you have enjoyed this brief excursion into a brand new beginning for me. I hope to cover as much of our lives together as I can, and let you see that everyone has hard times. What matters is what you do with those hard times, and the faith you have in the future. People surprise me still with their endurance and spontaneity and I hope to pass it on through your generation as well. I love all of you so much, and I"ll say goodbye for now. Take care, have fun, and learn new things every 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!
I was born in Charleston General Hospital in Charleston, WV. I was the first baby in my mom's family and I came into her life about ten months after her father passed away. No one knew how great an impact I would have on her life but it turned out that I was her only successful child and brought into her life the things that made her happy. We lived in a very small coal-mining town called Ameagle. It was named after American Eagle Colliery and my grandfather was foreman of the mines. My dad worked there as well when he left the navy after WWII. He had the job of picking slate and filling up railroad cars. He was afraid to go into the mines after my grandfather passed away in his front yard after a shift at the mines. He had heart disease and died of a heart attack. He was my mom's favorite parent and they were very close. After he died, my mom was severely depressed and when I was born, she couldn't stop crying. Every time she would get upset in her hospital room, I would cry in the nursery. Now that I have had 3 children of my own, I can understand the impact that delivering a child can have on your body, especially after a traumatic event like losing a parent. It is extremely stressful. Funny how you understand your parents better when you grow up than you ever could have imagined as a child.
I went home to a little town back in the mountains, and I would grow and develop a sense of freeness that nothing else has compared to. Life would prove to be extremely difficult for me, but not until much later on. As a child, I went where I wanted, and developed a sense of such wildness and freedom and loved the world I knew and the home a child could never forget. My grandmother, my mom's mother, was a huge factor in my life. After my dad married my mom, they moved into my grandmother's house and that's where I lived the first 8 years of my life. She and my dad didn't get along, but she had just lost her husband and my mom would not leave her sitting alone while she and my dad shared time together. It was a mistake, but I can understand it too. So. to prevent further problems, my grandmother went to her mother's house where she only had to cross the street to the hospital in Charleston and she worked as a nurses aide there. She also at one time worked at her brother-in-laws restaurant, and on the weekends she'd come see us and bring us a lot of really wonderful food from the restaurant. Her brother-in-law told her to take what she wanted in order to not waste what would otherwise be thrown out. It was good food but left over the weekend would not be fit to serve, so he gave it to grandmother. She would also bring us clothes and help my mom to do things around the house and shopping. When mom was pregnant with my brother, grandmother would leave her job and move home to help her do the things she couldn't quite manage as she got bigger and bigger.
I was a talkative child and picked up things quickly. My mom's neighbor across the street would come and get me and take me to their house and teach me manners that were unusual for a 2 year old to have. I would ask at dinnertime "Please pass me a loaf of bread". I'd forget I only meant a slice of bread. I talked in sentences by the time I was a year old. My mom was thrilled with me, and when she had my brother, and no longer had time for me, I was devastated and I took my revenge out on my brother when he got older. I wanted to still be the favorite. I was 3 when David was born. I tried to stand on my head, and I did all sorts of tricks in order to regain the attention of my mother. She still loved me of course, but my brother was sort of sickly and had croup and had to have special medicine and so on. As he got older, he developed a mean streak and would throw things at me at the table and would slide down in his chair and kick me under the table. He had to have special shoes and they had steel toes and he left scars that I still have on my shins. He often pinched me and pulled my hair and one day I just got tired of it and I crawled behind the couch and when I got to the end I spied his fat little legs and I bit him to get even. My mom was so surprised and even though I didn't get a spanking for doing it, it gave me little comfort because it didn't change a thing. So, I went about my days playing alone in the backyard or with my cousin Sandra who lived at the end of the road.
I started school at 4 and I turned 5 in December. They didn't have Kinder-garden back in those days and I was put in first grade. I would walk to school with my cousin Sandra who was 3 years older than I was and after I got older I'd walk alone. In the winter months some of the neighbors would pick up a load of children and take us to school. But I often walked home and once I remember not being able to get over the two top steps that lead to the road home and I threw my lunchbox over the top and crawled over the iced and snow encrusted steps and pulled myself over it. I was an independent little cuss and I wasn't afraid of much of anything! Once a couple of girls were threatening to fight me, so I threw my books down, put my hands on my hips and told them to "come on then!". They changed their minds and turned around and left!
But there was a freedom back in the hills between the mountains, and I found it. I loved the changing of the seasons, and I loved exploring around the small town. I would often get money from my mom and I'd go to our "soda-fountain" and buy hot dogs, ready made and delicious! I walked the short trip to our local church and attend summer Bible School where I'd read about Jesus and make things for my mom. My parents took me to church on Sunday and Wednesday night prayer meetings, and I can still remember those experiences. Once they had a foot washing ceremony after the regular sermon one Sunday night and when we got home, my brother threw a fit because he wanted his feet washed! My parents had to do it for him before he'd calm down and go to sleep! I remembered everything that happened and although my parents stopped attending church when we moved to Huntington, I didn't forget what I'd learned. My grandmother was a Christian and loved going to church and even when years passed by and we were in Kodiak, she still attended church every chance she got and I'd go with her. It was there that I gave my life to Jesus. I truly needed a friend that Sunday and when the Pastor asked if there was anyone that wanted to have Jesus for a life-long friend, I went forward in the church and accepted Christ as my Savior. I was 12.
The mountains surrounding us were covered in all sorts of trees. Some of the trees had fruit and daddy would take me exploring. One of the fruits was called a "Paw Paw" and they were like mangoes, but had no huge pit in the middle. They were sweet and juicy and I loved exploring with my dad. On some days, he'd take David and me walking while mom made dinner and we'd walk by the river where there were beech nut trees and all you had to do was run your hand down the stems and you'd have a handful of beech nuts to eat. There was a railroad track there too and there was a hand car and my dad would put us on the car and move the handle up and down and we'd move down the track a bit. There was a sand house for the kids to play in as well, and all the kids would gather there. When we'd go home for dinner, you could smell the good food and mom always laughed when I'd show up for meals no matter where I was playing. The roads were just dirt but it was soft like sand and I went barefoot in the summer. I remember once that dad had been building a screen door for the summer weather so we could leave the heavy door open and let the air in. I was outside playing and got a piece of wire in my foot. Later on that day, grandmother was going to take us to Ohio to get ice-cream cones and they stopped briefly and I ran in to the doctor's office and he took the wire out of my foot. He gave me a band aid and a lollipop and I was quite content. The ice cream that I liked was black walnut ice cream and it was one of about 20 different flavors they made. The trip was fun and often we'd go with grandmother to the river and in the shallows, she'd park her car and we'd get out and wash it, and then ride inner tubes in the river. Summer was fun, but once I got a wasp sting in my back and that was quite painful! My dad took me in the house and took the stinger out of my back and put medicine on it. I was my dad's favorite.
I can remember clearly the day my parents were talking about moving to the city. I was 8 years old and was sitting on the sofa reading the Sunday funnies and I heard what they said. I didn't know if I'd like it or not, having always lived in Ameagle. Little did I know that would be the first of many "moves" and would never feel quite at home. The mines were closing down and a lot of people had to move. Now the place is a forest and no one lives there nowadays. We moved to a little red house that wasn't big enough for us. We weren't there very long and moved into a bigger two story house and we were there for about a year. Then we moved again....several times in 3rd Grade and I was in about 5 different schools that year and ended up in the school I started out in. Then we moved to Washington Street and my brother and I attended Washington Elementary school and we were there for several years. We lived in an old fashioned Victorian 2 story house with a widows walk and a huge yard with an apple tree. My dad put a swing in the tree and a huge swing on the porch for the adults. I can remember sitting in the swing in the summer and on weekends and read and read. I'd sit straddled on the swing and just gently swing from side to side while reading. My brother would be off playing with his friends which I was thankful for. My baby sister was born while we lived there. She had strawberry blonde hair at first, but it turned dark later on. She was a pretty baby and I'd come home for lunch every day when I was at school, just so I could hold her and feed her. Once she wet on me and I had to change clothes before I could go back to school! But I loved her. I was 10 years old when she was born. I regret that we were so far apart that we weren't very close. Years later when we tried to be close to each other, it just never worked out. We were as different as night and day. To this day we never talk or see each other and it is something I regret and wish I could have made it work out. Just too many years between us.
The weather was something I loved there. The cold snowy winters, the balmy breezes of spring, the hot humid summer with it's thunder storms and hail, and then the fall when all the hills and valleys turned colors. Here in California you don't have seasons and if I could change anything that's what it would be. I'd add seasons here and it would be the perfect Camelot of my dreams. I have a wonderful family though and I could not ask for more. I will be quite content with my California sunshine and I am at home once more. I've lived here longer than any place else, and it really has become my home. I'll wrap this up for now and go and make some delicious hamburgers for dinner. It's a quiet evening and some of our favorite TV shows will be on later, so I hope you've enjoyed this little excursion into the past with me and that you'll find enough here to keep up your interest and will come back for more. So Jack, I hand the pen to you and leave you to your memories and experiences of your young life. Best wishes to all and I hope you leave a comment as to whether you have enjoyed your excursion into the past.
It may not sound much different than a normal school, and normal experiences at school, but after 3 years in such a miserable place as Kodiak, being in San Diego itself was a wonderful experience for me. In the years at Kodiak, I did begin a brand new relationship with Jesus Christ, and I did get to spend 2 weeks at Woody Island on a spiritual retreat with the pastor and several of the Bible School staff and about 25 other attendees. We shared our life experiences, and we had Secret Pals that we'd do things for. We had chores to do, but mostly it was reading passages from the Bible and campfires and singing in the evenings before bedtime. When I look back on those years, I see that there was a purpose for me having been there. It was part of the plan for my life. But the weather was terrible, and the school was nothing like what I'd experienced in Virginia Beach. I had attended a huge school, was in the band, and had a future expectation of attending Princess Anne High School and being in the band there as well. When my Dad told us one evening that he had new orders, and we'd be moving again, was bad enough. When he said he had orders to move to Kodiak, Alaska, I was floored. I couldn't believe it! Alaska!? No one could believe it when they heard the news. We had no say in the matter, because we were just kids. I don't know how it affected my brother, who was 9 at the time, but it was awful for me. I made a lot of friends in Kodiak, and they made life somewhat bearable for me, but I was so glad when the 3 years were ending and we would be moving again. I didn't care where, just somewhere off the island. My Dad informed us that we were moving to the San Diego area of Southern California, and I was elated! I'd always heard about California, and now I'd get to see it for myself! The warmest it ever was in Kodiak was around 65 degrees in the summer. There was one TV station and that went off at 9:00. There was one radio station and it played modern music, but it was nothing like it was stateside and there was one movie theatre in town and one on the base. We lived in town because my Dad wasn't an officer. The roads were mud most of the time. There was one paved road through town and out to the Naval Station, but the rest was just dirt. The houses were so poorly made that they called it the Cardboard Kingdom. It was so poorly constructed, that one winter the winds were so strong they ripped an entire garage off of a house in the street below us, and it moved the garage down the street and parked it in someone's yard. The days were gloomy and grey and in the winter, it was dark in the mornings when we were going to school, and dark when we came home. We did get to see the Northern Lights, and that was beautiful. But I was so miserable I had gained a lot of weight, and I went on a diet when it was getting close to time to leave, and I remained on it until I had lost all the weight I'd gained since we'd been there.
In May of 1963 our tickets for the flight to "freedom" were purchased, and we had moved to the barracks while our furniture was being packed and getting ready to be shipped to San Diego. After a couple of days at the barracks, we got ready to go to the airport, which was a little shack beside the runway, and we boarded the plane that would take us to Anchorage, and we made a stop at one of the other islands. Then we got to Anchorage and we boarded a Boeing 707 and began our flight to Seattle, Washington. The flight was uneventful and I was so anxious to see what Washington was like. Soon we were on our flight to San Diego, and we flew low over the San Francisco area and saw the Golden Gate Bridge. Then on to L.A. I've already discussed my initial reaction to the weather when we landed in San Diego, and I was not prepared for the hot summer we would be experiencing, but I loved it.
Now, knowing how Kodiak was for me, you can see why I loved San Diego as I did. It seemed like our parent's didn't know how we felt about anything. The year at C.P.H.S was like a dream come true. Take it from me, there was no comparison between the two states. We had so much fun that year. Then my Dad came home from the 9 month deployment he'd been on. But even that wasn't as great as it could have been, because he said we were moving AGAIN, and this time to Minnesota! Another cold place and I was sure it was covered in pine trees. I'd grown to hate them in Kodiak....I preferred the palm trees of San Diego! I could not believe it. I had to tell my boyfriend we were leaving again, and my friends, and even though I had plans to attend Southwestern Junior College, my plans were smashed yet again and there was no convincing my Dad to let me stay in San Diego with my best friend's family. The moving van showed up about 2 weeks later, after graduation from C.P.H.S. and loaded up our things. We again slept on air mattresses the last night in our home, and the next afternoon, we left the house, locked it up, and went to say goodbye to our friends. I said goodbye to my best friend, and she had bought me a C.P.H.S. pin that had our graduation year attached with a chain. It was beautiful, and I cried. We both were crying, my brother and I, and I cried through 3 states I think. When we stopped in New Mexico, to spend a night, I had the worst headache ever. We had gotten in the pool at the motel, but soon afterward it began to thunder and lighting flashed through the skies. We got out of the pool and showered and dressed, and we went to a little restaurant and had dinner. I had coffee, and it helped to soothe my aching head. That night I couldn't sleep because the headache got so bad. As we had left California, the radio station we always listened to faded away in the distance. My boyfriend and I had exchanged Senior keys and the one he gave me began to fade in the hot weather. I hated the Navy for all the moving around. I didn't understand why they had to move us so many times and to such far away places. I missed my home and my friends and my boy friend, and my life. I had just begun to get a feel for being grown up and even though I was only 17 and a half, I had feelings and thoughts and hopes like anyone else. It didn't seem to matter to my Dad. He said we would do things his way, the NAVY WAY, and there was no discussion. I felt like he was so unfair. I secretly began to hate him. I thought he should have spent the time in Alaska on his own and left us state-side. Then, just as we were getting settled in really good in San Diego, we had to move again. It left me with a lot of sorrow and emptiness. I began to become acquainted with depression. It would haunt me for years afterward. Even though we move on and continue with our lives, we aren't necessarily a willing participant in the things that happen to us. Depression was a very ugly feeling. Nothing about it was good. But leaving California was a traumatic experience for me, and it didn't even occur to me that in a few short months I'd be 18 and could do whatever I wanted. I just felt like I'd been locked up in a prison and there was no way out. But that wasn't to be the case at all. In the next post, I will tell you about my life in Minnesota, and then my flight back home. I've been here now since 1965 and I am here to stay.
Stay tuned for the next unfolding layer of my life.
Before school started, my Mom and siblings and I, drove over to the school to have a look. It was brand new back in 1963.. No one had ever darkened it's doorways, and no one had a clue just how fantastic that year was going to be! I was going to be a member of the first graduating class in the history of CPHS.
Getting ready for school meant shopping for clothes, and we drove down to National City to the huge Montgomery Wards store. I found several outfits I liked, and then we drove over to Kenny's Shoe Store where I bought 2 pair of shoes. One pair was for dresses, and one pair for P.E. and just generally running around. I loved Chula Vista, and our home, and now a brand new school. It looked as though my life was going to turn around and have some good components mixed in with the bad luck I considered my lot in life. The days of living on Kodiak Island were over, and not even a fond memory. I had hated every bit of it, every day, for 3 years. Now I had a brand new beginning and I was so excited. The first couple of days I went to school with a neighbor, Shirley. Her Mother drove us over and I walked home after school the first day.
We signed in and found our names on the roster posted outside the office. We found our homeroom that way and went to our first class. Mr. Mueller was my teacher's name. He was very low keyed and didn't mind us chatting as long as we weren't disturbing anyone else who was trying to study. The first day though, we all just chatted while waiting for him to show up. He came in finally and passed out papers to tell us which classes we would be attending and the room numbers. Some of the students knew each other from previous years, but the majority were new to each other. There were students from 3 different schools that made up the student body. It would be a fun year, getting to know each other and to be Seniors was going to be a trip!
As a senior, we had privileges that the under classmen didn't. We had a Senior Lawn, and only Seniors could sit there. A group of my friends and I sat on the lawn and had lunch almost every day. The punishment for an underclassman for trespassing on our lawn, was to be picked up and stuffed in the nearest trash can! Everyone took it in good spirit though and we all soon began to feel connected and to enjoy every moment of school. I remember when the Beatles came out, and I'd save my lunch money to buy the latest record. One day in Civics class, I had a magazine in my lap and was thumbing through it as the teacher talked about current events. One day, he caught me and walked up behind me while I was looking at pictures of my favorite Beatle, Paul McCartney! He asked me if I ever had nightmares about them, and I put the book away as my face turned crimson. We had a test that day and after he graded the papers, he apologized to me in front of the class because I made the best score on the test! Yes, I was a Beatle Maniac! I watched them on the Ed Sullivan show and was so excited! I bought every record they put out, and magazines and anything else I could get my hands on that was Beatle oriented. I did sketches of the individual Beatles and papered my bedroom walls with them. I ate less, slept less, and had more fun that year than anyone can imagine! I'm sure a lot of it was because I didn't have to traverse mounds of ice and snow to do anything, or go anywhere. The weather was perfect and I just loved California.!
One day, when I was home sick, I was doing something in my room and listening to the radio, and suddenly the station broke for an announcement. President Kennedy had been shot! I yelled to my Mom to turn on the TV and we both found seats on the sofa and watched the unfolding news. President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas Texas and was in route to the hospital. About half an hour later, they announced that the President was dead. I couldn't believe it. I was so shocked. We sat there and stared at each other. How could it be that he was dead? The best President we had ever had, was dead. People all over were crying, even some of the teachers, or so I was told when I went back to school. I couldn't imagine my Civics Teacher, Mr. Persutti,, ever crying about anything, but he did. That night as we watched them bringing his coffin in the Motor Cade to be placed for the public to pay their respects to the fallen leader, I could contain my tears no longer. I went to my room and threw myself on the bed and cried my eyes out. My Dad came in and asked me if I needed anything, and he got me some aspirin and a cup of coffee. My head was splitting. My Dad sat on the bed for a few minutes, talking to me. I didn't focus on anything he said...I was lost in grief. It was heart-breaking and to tell the truth, it was many a year that went by with that grief gripping my memories in a tight fist. He would never be forgotten.
Back to school, and resume living. The year would be full of wonderful memories, saddened by some, but the goodness of life soon brought all of us back to reality and we carried on. Another privilege of the Senior Class, was having a vault in the ground where we put our predictions of our lives in 10 years, and then buried it. On our 10th anniversary, we would all find out what part of our predictions came true! I didn't go to the 10th reunion, but I did hear about it. I had no idea what I had put down for myself, but it wasn't what I had hoped for! I'll leave that for the next session and say good bye for now. There are so many memories that I must refresh myself and try to recall all the fun we had that year. I am getting old and forgetful, so bear with me, and I'll see you around!
Have you ever lived someplace that was close to paradise? Well that's what San Diego was like for me! In Kodiak we had such bad weather and I was not the greatest on sheets of ice and glistening snow piled so high you had to dig your way out of the house. So, in the balmy summer we experienced in our first year here, it truly was paradise to me. Once we had moved into the house and retrieved our furniture from storage, my parents went out to find a car next. They came home with a Mercury Monterey with a push button starter on the dashboard. It had 4 doors, and compared to what we had in Kodiak, it was a limousine! It was turquoise blue and white and very suitable for our short Mom to drive. Dad would soon be going out to sea for 9 months, and Mom needed a reliable source of transportation. My Grandmother Elsie lived with us, and she had driven for many years. Often she would be the one driving me to school and picking me up in the afternoons. She had always lived with us, and she helped Mom out a lot with things.
Once we all settled in, there was much to do on the house and the yard. My brother David was 13 at the time, I was 16, and my baby sister was 6. Mom would round us all up on any given weekend, and we'd all make the trip to a place in National City and we'd buy plants for the yard, grass seed, fertilizer, and the like. David liked working in the yard and he'd spend his days in the balmy breezes watering the newly planted grass and sweep down the driveway and the walkway in front of the house. We had a huge backyard and a patio and that too was swept down along with the garage. Grandmother and Mom took care of the storing, and I took care of the making of beds, and general clean up of the house. We all worked together while Dad was at sea. He and Grandma Elsie were not the best of friends and it was a lot easier on the nerves when one of they was away. I think Grandmother loved the weather as well. I fell in love with the palm trees swaying in the breeze, and the Santa Ana Winds of late summer days. The Taco Bell and Jack In the Box were new to us, and we thought it was some of the best fast food ever. We found Cost Less Imports down in San Diego, and we'd browse on lazy Saturday afternoons, buying some incense, jams and jellies, teas like Oolong, and candles, and such. They had everything you could imagine, but the place caught fire one day and burned to the ground. There was so much to see and do that we were never bored. It was paradise to me and I loved San Diego with a passion.
Soon school would be starting, and we drove over to the school one day to check it out. It was a brand new school, and I would be a Senior and a member of the first graduating class of Castle Park High School. It was beautiful, and I didn't know it at the time, but this would be the best year I'd ever had in school! There were many classrooms, a huge campus, a Senior Lawn, a cafeteria and a place to buy burgers and things of that nature if you didn't want a full lunch. The P.E. field and building were up above the school on a hill that overlooked the whole campus. I'd met some kids in Kodiak that were from California and they too made it seem like a paradise. I was so excited about going there to live. At first I thought we were moving to the San Francisco area, but at the last minute it was changed to San Diego, and now that I've seen San Francisco, I am doubly glad we live in San Diego! It really doesn't compare.
There is so much to tell about my life here in California, and I don't want to diminish your time with us here, with prolonged descriptions of the weather, and the things we were finding so attractive, so I will bring this session to a close for now and give my co-author the platform for a bit. I will be back with more of the reasons I fell in love with my life here, and prepare the background for just how it affected me when I was told we were moving away, yet again, to a cold, dismal place, leaving California far behind me. Thank you for joining us for another cup of tea. Hope it was entertaining and gave you a somewhat clearer picture of my love for this place.
Drop in again and pay us a visit!
I arrived in San Diego the first time in 1963. I was arriving from Kodiak, Alaska after 3 years of freezing to death, and San Diego was in the middle of a heat wave. I wandered out of the airport terminal and sat down on the curb while waiting for my family to get the luggage. I'd never felt such heat, and it was in the evening hours. My family joined me at last and we caught a cab to a Motel where we were able to clean up and go find something to eat. My brother and I sort of passed out on the beds, so the rest of them went to eat and said they'd bring us something back. That was my first day in a place that I would soon come to love and to make my home.
There wasn't much to San Diego back then. It was compact and there were many outlying areas where we would eventually find a home. My Father was in the Navy and he would be going out to sea after we got settled in. For the first month or so we lived in Navy housing and my parents got busy looking for a home. It was overcast most days and fooled me into thinking I could sleep in the yard and not pay for it. I suffered a bad sunburn that day and by evening I was all but blistered. I could hardly move. The San Diego sun was relentless and the cloudy days would fool me no more.
My parents were driven to various housing locations, and settled on a house in Chula Vista. The house was nice, big enough for all of us, and the yard needed work. They signed all the papers and we moved in, sleeping on air mattresses the first night, until our furniture could be delivered. I would come to love San Diego in the next year we were fortunate enough to be here. I was so happy to be in a sunny place, far away from snow and mud and gloom. I was ready for a new beginning, and before I get into that, I will bow out and let my husband have a say. There is no rush, and I don't want to miss anything by hurrying along, so I'll say bye for now and make dinner for a hungry crew! Enjoy yourselves, and leave comments if you wish.
All the best,
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?!??