|Back in our day . . .||
Well, when I first saw the new residence I was elated! Plenty of room, open-beamed ceilings, clean carpet, newly painted, a yard for the kids and so on. Then the fun began. After we'd been there for about 3 months, we discovered that the plumbing was a mess. The toilet overflowed constantly, the new bathroom cabinet filled up with water and ruined both drawers, the flooring was uneven in several rooms, they literally dropped down about 3 inches by the windows. But that was just the beginning. As time went by, we noticed cockroaches in the kitchen. A few at first, then we found that the place was infested. We contacted the owners, they came down and sprayed, which we had been doing ourselves, to no avail. The problem continued off and on and was added to by the mice that came up through the stove and ran along the back of the counters finally sliding down the electric cord that ran from the refrigerator! But we were not convinced. We stuck it out and made things work for years. The owners came down off and on, and one fine day the lady that rented to us, asked us to their place for dinner. We accepted and drove up one Saturday afternoon. They had a brand new home, and were busy fixing it up to their liking. They had a family of ducks in the back yard and a small garden. But they were having difficulty adjusting to the new neighborhood. It was an exclusive neighborhood and they had an old van parked in their driveway which the neighbors found offensive and wasted no time in telling them so. They were unwelcome, because they lived as they had in Spring Valley, and this place was quite a cut above that.
She was busy with her kids, but began fixing the evening meal. When we all sat down to eat, she made the mistake of asking us if the roach problem had gone away or were we still having problems. Jack, being who he is, said politely, oh no! The rats eat them! She got to laughing so hard that she had to excuse herself from the table and make a bathroom call. We had dinner, and then she made cupcakes. I remember this all this time later, because she asked me how to make the icing thicker than she had. I asked if she had Cream of Tartar and she did, and that added in small amounts worked for her icing problem. They were just folks after all, even though both had college degrees. They had good jobs, but they weren't happy where they were. You can't fit a square peg into a round hole, and they just didn't fit in. She told me herself she wasn't happy there. They wanted to move in the worst way, but had nothing left to move with.
We thought the neighborhood we had moved into was a safe, homebody existence and we felt at ease for quite some time. Then the area started being infested with gangs and hoodlums of all sorts. Our kids were not the type to fit in there. We had protected our kids from such circumstances and Jack had talked to the boys about such things. But in that neighborhood, it was join in or get beat up. We ran into problems needlessly to say. Before things got better, they got worse. We put up a fence later on to keep the hoodlums out of our yard. We put a lock on the gate every night. We both had to work, and as the kids grew, the problems got worse. We had to deal with them, and we did. Jack began using "tough-love" to deal with things, and it was really difficult. The years rolled by quickly. I was working at Naval Air Station North Island and Jack did as well. He worked in a separate facility on the far side of the base. I had worked at the Internal Revenue Service in the Federal Building after our daughter was born, but after I saw that I would never get anywhere there, I left to return to the Navy. It was still Civil Service and I felt at home as I was hired back in the same area I had worked in when I met Jack. One thing I learned from it was that you never should go backwards. They were difficult to work for because of problems I had had before. They couldn't make the switch in their heads that I wasn't the same person they knew then, and I was miserable. So I started putting in for other jobs.
I finally found a job working with the aircraft carriers stationed at the Island. The work was an enormous responsibility and I was doing the work of 3 people. There were problems, as my sister had worked there before me, and the people that she thought were her friends talked about her to me. The officer in the group and my sister hadn't gotten along. He thought I'd be just like her and he had an attitude problem with me. No matter how hard I worked, he wasn't satisfied. The problems there and the problems at home, took their toll on me and I had a heart attack at 43. I was in the ICU for 12 days, and then moved to the Direct Observation Unit for 4 more days. They transported me to Scripps in La Jolla and did an angiogram. They found 7 blockages and decided that part of my heart was dead. I was released to go home with a new diet and medication to ease the angina pains. The family took care of me, and I think this was the beginning of the boys making a change in their lives and the problems starting to get smaller. I was off work for 30 days to recuperate and then I was released to go back to work. I had transferred to the Naval Station at 32nd street and the job was somewhat easier for me to do than the one at the Naval Air Station.
When we'd get home at night, Jack would be as tired as I was, but he'd stand in the kitchen making spaghetti sauce from scratch that I could have. We bought Healthy Choice Dinners for me and it brought my cholesterol down dramatically. I dropped some weight and got healthier. The doctor asked how I had reduced my cholesterol so quickly, and we told him about the healthy meals we had been buying and making. Things began to settle down at home, and I learned to tolerate the people at the job, so I began getting better in many ways.
One day, Jack called me at work, and said that his new job paid enough money for me to retire! I couldn't believe it! I was actually going to be free! I put in for an early out and submitted the paperwork. For taking an "early-out'", I received $25,000.00 and after Uncle Sam took his cut, we were left with about $17,000.00. We were able to pay off some big bills, and buy some much needed furniture for the house. Alex had found a job making pizza at a place called Pizza Junction. I would get up early and take him to work. Then I'd take our daughter Sidra to college, and Jack would go to work.. It was a busy schedule. But I was free and the first day of my freedom, after I'd signed the final paperwork, Jack took me up to Grossmont Center and bought me a comfortable pair of shoes. It was heaven to walk in something that didn't hurt my feet. It was a brand new beginning for me.
Brian met a girl after I'd retired, and things began taking on some normalcy. Alex was still working, and Sidra was still in college. The good job that Jack had enabled us to live normal lives and buy things we liked and had done without for a long time. Life was beginning to show us some mercy for the first time in a long time. Life was good.
Then, Brian and his girlfriend announced one day that she was pregnant. We let her move in with us and live in the extra room that the landlords had built themselves. It was large and carpeted and just right for them and a baby bed. The baby was born in October of 1998 and it was a beautiful baby boy. They named him Brian Jr., and we all fell in love with him. Her Mother was very possessive of the baby and we saw them at the end of the day after she spent the day with her parents. That became the norm. We were second best. We got pictures now and then and were invited to birthday parties, but were never quite good enough. At least that's how it felt. It wasn't long until she was pregnant again, and before they were through, there were four grandchildren to love.
One day the landlords dropped in, and the landlady saw the baby bed in the extra room. She decided to raise our rent because they were living with us, and we decided for the amount of money they wanted for a house in ill repair, we could afford our own home. I had looked in the papers for a place to move to, but the places were expensive and offered little in return. Then I found Manufactured Home adds and they offered a brand new home, with washer and dryer installed. The price was only a couple of hundred more than what we were already paying. Jack went with me to see one after I had made a trip to see one with my daughter and daughter in-law. He loved it. He said, "wouldn't it be nice to live in one of these?" There were no roaches, no bad plumbing, no rats, and it was brand new. We signed the paperwork, and after much hassling with the agency we were buying from, we finally got the keys from them, and did the walk-thru and looked at our new abode. We had signed a 10 year lease, and the old landlord gave us only 2 days to move 17 years worth of "things". We managed to do it, and when we offered to help with the clean up, they said "no-thanks" and shut the door in our faces so to speak.
Our son and his wife lived with us for a bit, but eventually she wanted to move back home with her parents, and our son of course went with her. We had planned to give them the house when Jack retired, but it wasn't good enough for our daughter-in-law. Her parents had plenty of money, and I suppose she wanted in on it. So we had an extra room. We had given them the master bedroom with attached bathroom, and that became mine and Jack's room. That left Sidra with 2 bedrooms, and our other son had the other room.
We had left the old days behind us and made a brand new start. It was super quiet where we were, and nobody bothered us. Jack had his good job, we paid our bills and lived comfortably. The days of gangs and problems were behind us. The things we had taught our kids had kicked in when they were needed, and both sons made a change in their lifestyle. Not long afterwards, our other son Alex met a girl, fell in love, and they got engaged. They were married soon after by the justice of the peace and found a place to live where they could have their own lives and begin their own family.
Sometimes things have a way of working out and it did for us. We were starting a brand new life, a brand new beginning, and for a time we were accepted.
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?!??