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A New Year and A New Baby

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Jeff and Suzie in 1962

It is now January and I’m expecting my second baby in a few weeks. I was packed with the outfit to bring baby home in and what I would need in the hospital. The nursery was ready with a crib and bassinet. It was simpler times in the early 60’s; we made do with what we had.

Well..the scheduled time that was calculated for my baby to be born has come and gone! I had only signed up for nine months. Now I’m a week passed the due date. I was anxious to know the gender of the baby. There was no ultrasound so you did a lot of guessing. The baby’s clothes were generic colors. SO BORING!

The last week before my baby was born it rained every day. Susie is a month away from her third birthday. She is constantly asking when her baby brother or sister would be here. Our dog Caesar was pacing the floor and looking out the window but was reluctant to go out in the rain. I searched for his green plaid raincoat and then put it on him. With a little encouragement he slowly went out the door. I wasn’t thrilled about having a wet smelly dog in the house. We both had to deal with it.

Thursday late afternoon I started getting labor pains. John was still working nights at United Airlines as a mechanic and during the day he was in training and studying for his commercial pilot’s license.

John wasn’t known for being on time and he had an hour drive home. I called him at 6:00 pm I wasn’t taking any chances that he would be late. John’s night shift wasn’t over until 12/30 am. To be ready to go

I put our packed suitcases by the door. Susie was awake and patiently sitting on her suitcase ready to go. She will be staying with the neighbor that took care of her when I was working.  

Susie was born in The Children’s San Francisco Hospital and this baby would be born in the San Jose Hospital.

John made it home and after a short time in the hospital my son Jeffrey was born.  He arrived at 1:26 am. He was healthy but he didn’t look pleased about being born. He would stare at me and had his hands on my chest like he was pushing me away. After a few days he relaxed and figured he was stuck with me and he would make the best of it!

Jeff was  an easy baby. He didn’t have colic like Suzie so didn’t have the discomfort of colic.  He especially enjoyed his bottle and being held until he fell back to sleep. Diapers were still cloth with pins and rubber pants but preparing formula was easier. The playtex bottles had arrived with a plastic lining that you threw  away. No more sterilizing bottles!

After being home for two days and up for night feedings I really needed some sleep. I put Susie down for her nap and then  wheeled the sleeping baby and bassinet over by the couch where I had laid down.. I instantly fell asleep. Soon something woke me up with a start.  I looked in the bassinet and Jeff was not in there! I jumped up from the couch in a panic. Then I heard a noise coming from my bedroom. I rushed in to the room to find Jeff on the bed and Susie feeding him cheerios. I was so relieved that he was safe…except for the cheerios. After calming my heart down my  first thought went to how did this three year old pick up a newborn from the bassinet. I’m sure she didn’t support his head. It was more likely by an arm and a leg! He never made a peep and seemed content to be on the bed gazing up at Suzie. I should’ve known she couldn’t wait to get her hands on him.

Until we meet again!

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Through the Eyes and Mind of a Minister’s Child

I was blessed with having a Mother and Father that were both Ministers — oh, good times !  Being an animal lover didn’t fit so well in their organized life.  One Sunday morning my black cat, Inky, had her kittens on a pile of clean clothes.  On top of the pile of clean clothes was my father’s only white shirt.  As I sat down and petted Inky, I noticed there were six kittens laying beside her.  Three of them were black which is my favorite color cat.  I think I’ll keep those three. I sat there imagining the fun I would have playing with my kittens.  All of a sudden I heard heavy footsteps behind me.  I swirled around and there was my father, “WHAT THE HECK !”   Those may not have been his exact words but I was four, so let’s go with that.

The only other memory I have of that day after skedaddling is the fact that I did not end up with three little black kittens.


Until we meet again!

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How I Met My First Husband.

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I was 19 and lived in Marin County, California The only way to get over to Marin County was to cross over the Golden Gate Bridge.  I was missing Vermont and the small town I lived in there reminded me of home. I rented a small cabin on a hill surrounded by trees. The only drawback to this beautiful location was the fact I worked in the next town as a beautician and didn’t own a car. Fortunately it was only two miles to work which I walked each day, rain or shine.

One day I decided to take a bus trip to San Francisco and take in a movie. Halfway there I spotted a big sign that read “Commodore Aviation view San Francisco in one of our seaplanes. ”  My mind was racing, should I take a chance, I’ve never flown before, but I always wanted to. I stood up and pulled the cord, the bus came to a stop and I stepped out along the highway.

I could see the little planes on the water across the road bouncing around and splashing into the dock where it was tried. The pilot and a plane were ready for a passenger, so I walked down the dock to the sea plane. That was the easy part! The wind was tossing the plane around. Now I’m trying to step gracefully into a moving plane and hold my skirt down at the same time.

Finally i’m settled into the passenger seat. The pilot started the engine and.the next thing I remember is skimming across that choppy water, bouncing against the waves, picking up speed, and then a slow climb into the air. The first place we flew over was Alcatraz Prison which was still operating,  If the plane dipped down below 1,000 feet the guards at the prison were authorized to fire a warning shot.  Later I learned the prisoners would pay the pilots to pick them up. Which they never did.

Before landing I learned  that you could  also take flying lessons at Commodore Aviation. That sparked an interest in me so I asked the pilot how I could obtain more information. After landing and on ground again I was introduced to another pilot who taught the lessons. On the same day I ended up in the air again with John, who told me some of the fundamental parts of flying. The aircraft was a CB which was bigger than the Cessna I flew in earlier.

Before my lesson was over I tried my hand at flying the plane which wasn’t as easy as it looked. There were two control sticks that were used to keep the plane straight.; I guess I had a heavy hand, because when I took the controls the plane dipped to the left then to the right I never could keep it straight. I need more lessons!   By this time it was getting late. I had no idea of the bus schedule so John offered me a ride home which I accepted. By the time we drove up to the cabin where I lived we had a dinner date for the next night.

I remember choosing a green dress with a black jacket to throw over my shoulders as it was always chilly in San Francisco, even though it was the middle of August.

The time had passed when John was to pick me up.  I was feeling a little anxious then became furious when he arrived an hour later. I was going to call it quits. He apologized explaining that he had to accommodate a group of college students that wanted to fly over San Francisco after dark to see the city lights.

Being young and naive I alway believed his story. We dated for four months. We spent quite a bit of time at Commodore. Many of our dates were spent teaching me how to fly.  It was difficult landing the plane on choppy waters, but I did it.  I had a good time hanging with our friends and flying whenever I could. I never did solo,that scared me flying around up there by myself I had enough problems finding my way around on the ground!

Four months later we were married and moved to an apartment in South San Francisco. Three months after that move I was expecting our first child. That was the end of my flying lessons.  I had morning sickness that lasted all day and spent a good deal of time in the bathroom hanging my head over the toilet. John was habitually late, and being new to the city I hadn’t made any friends. I spent most of my time alone.

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Until we meet again!

 

 

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Celebrating a California Christmas in the 60’s

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Mother’s California Christmas Tree Photo from the Kansas Historical Society

Christmas morning I was laying in bed listening to the rain. John was snoring beside me and Susie was still asleep in her bedroom next to ours. I quietly slip out of bed and slowly head for the kitchen to make the coffee:The smell of coffee perking in the electric percolator was welcomed on this dreary morning. I was expecting my second child the end of January and Susie will be three the fifth of March.This pregnancy was easier than the first, I was able to work in the beauty salon up to the week before Christmas.

As I sat by the window and watched the rain splatter on the cement driveway, I was overcome with sadness. I’m missing Vermont this morning, and I would of been watching the snow drift softly to the ground instead of hearing the rain hitting against the window pane.  

I snap back to the present as Susie shuffles into the room in her sleepers snuggling her favorite blanket. She ran to the tree for her presents that John and I had stayed up the night before to get ready for her. Okay, it’s time to wake John up. Susie – go jump on Daddy! That got him up.

After opening presents and finishing putting the tricycle together (which was too much of a challenge on Christmas Eve), it was time to get ready to go to my mother’s house for Christmas dinner. My mother was now married to Joey, who was an accountant. They lived in Redwood City.  My sister Peggy, her husband, and baby Sharon would be there also.

Sharon was two years old and Susie was almost three. They could be a little rambunctious at times which didn’t set well with Joey. After a few cocktails he would mellow some. The turkey was in the oven cooking and It was getting warm in the house, so we opened some windows and a door. The rain had stopped, and the sun was shining. Temperatures were now in the high 50’s. Some of the neighborhood kids were out on the sidewalk riding their new bicycles.

Dinner is ready and as the tradition goes Joey carved the turkey.  During the meal he would get weepy and tell us that he won’t be around next year. But yet– when the next Christmas rolled around–there he was!

After dinner, we would all sit around Mother’s aluminum Christmas tree to open the presents with Joey continuing to be his difficult self.

Vermont Christmas is just a memory in my mind!

Until we meet again!

 

 

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A Creepy Rainy Night!

Much to my relief my work day at the beauty salon  was almost over. There was chaos from the moment I stepped through the door that morning. The phone was ringing and a lady was sitting in the waiting room that said she had an appointment at 9:00 AM. She was not in the book.   

My 9:00 o’clock was late so I said I would take her. All the operators were busy working on their patrons. I shampooed and started to set her hair when my regular patron showed up. clearly dissatisfied that she had to wait. That was the beginning of a stressful day.

I drove home and parked the car in the driveway.  I walked over to the neighbor that was taking care of Susie,who just had her second birthday. we walked back to our house together.  As we approached the house I could hear Caesar barking in the backyard, he was happy we were home. I fixed his food and took it out to him, and for once he didn’t pee on my shoes, which he always did when he was happy to see you.

Now it was time to cook dinner. Mac and cheese and a side dish of peas were Susie’s favorite; that was a quick meal and I went with it!  After we ate dinner it was bath time for Susie which she loved and then into pajamas. I laid her down in her crib kissed her good night and closed her door ever so gently.

A 50’s movie was on at 8:00 PM. that I wanted to watch “The Father of the Bride” with Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. I had enough time to take the ice cream out of the freezer and scoop it into a large bowl, then I poured hot chocolate over it and topped it off with whipped cream. I set my bowl of ice cream on the coffee table while I adjusted the rabbit ears to get a halfway decent picture. It’s was a little snowy, but that was the best we could get until cable came along.

In California we had a rainy season instead of snow in the winter. It had rained off and on all day. Now the wind was blowing and the rain was beating against the window pane. The movie was just starting as I got comfortable on the couch. Time for my delicious sundae I scooped up a big spoon full of ice cream when the phone rang.  I said hello and on the other end came a man’s deep voice that I didn’t recognize. He quickly went on to say he was a television repairman and had made an appointment with my husband earlier in the day. He was to come over that evening to fix a problem we were having with our television, The set was on and it was working fine.

He was very persistent that he was to come over at 8:30. He went on to say my husband had given him our address. He knew my baby would be asleep and it would be a convenient time.  I was really getting scared! John worked nights at United Airlines as a mechanic in South San Francisco and wouldn’t be home until 1:30 AM.  During the day  he studied and took lessons on a Flight Simulator to eventually obtain a commercial pilots license.

In the early 60’s there was no caller ID. I hung up the phone and proceed to dial my neighbor Ben one digit at a time, I was nervous and messed up the  number and had to start all over again! After what seemed a long time, Ben answered the phone. Ben and his wife Barbara Jean were the first couple we had met when we moved into our new house. I managed to blurt out my episode of the disturbing phone call to him, with the impending worry of the unsuspecting “anonymous electrician” arriving at any time. Ben and Barbara Jean’s house was next to ours, so he could see if a car pulled up in front, he said he would keep an eye out if anyone should stop.

I bought Caesar in from the back yard for protection. This disturbing night also brought back memories of living in San Francisco and being eight months pregnant with my daughter. I was home alone that night. Caesar was laying beside me on the couch when he heard a noise and jumped off the couch… I looked around and saw a big brown work boot coming through the window. Before worry would set in, Caesar tore the venetian blinds off the window and grabbed the man’s pant leg. Surely, the perpetrator took off running. That was the night that Caesar saved me and my unborn child from potential great harm.

Back to my movie, well, my ice cream was melted and my movie was almost over. The show that was on next was the “Twilight Zone”, and I too felt like I was in it. I got up and turned the television off. (Yes, in the good old days you actually had to get up and walk to the TV to shut it off or change channels!)

I was sitting in the dark and was startled every time a branch brushed up against the house. I was waiting for John to come home when the phone rang it was going on mid-night. I finally gathered up enough courage to answer it. Ben came on the phone and was laughing all the while he explained that the previous caller was him, and that he was just having some fun and knew I would call him.

To say the least I was furious with him!

I thought I’d moved to a safe neighborhood, Now I had a creepy neighbor, When John home from work he got an earful about his friend Ben. John thought it was funny and that Ben was just playing a harmless prank.
I didn’t see it that way I was frightened.  I didn’t like either one of them that night. I didn’t feel safe being alone at nights with just my daughter. John had two guns and I was thinking I should learn how to use one. I didn’t  like feeling so vulnerable

Until we meet again!

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Back Home and Safe on the Ground!

After the horrific plane trip with my 14 month old baby back from Vermont to California, I was grateful that we were safe and settled in our San Jose home.

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Flight Simulator similar to what John used.

John is furthering his education to become a pilot for a commercial airline. He was taking lessons on a Flight Simulator. I remember it was very expensive for the half hour the simulator was in use. I don’t remember the total amount but I did realize it was time for me to look for a job .

There was a modern  beauty salon a couple miles from where I lived. One afternoon I stopped in and spoke to the owner about the possibility of an job for a hair dresser. We spoke for a while and then I was introduced to the other employees. They were friendly and the beauty salon was bright and cheery.

The job was mine if I wanted it! Now I needed to make arrangements for someone to take care of Susie while I worked. My schedule would be three days a week Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. That was the busiest days for the salon.

We had made friends with a neighbor couple that had teenage kids. Fortunately Lee, my new neighbor and friend, said she would take care of Susie who was now a year and half. I was happy to be styling hair again and enjoying the chance to be with people close to my age.

John had some friends from work that lived in San Jose. They were young couples with children and we often got together to play cards, charades, and other games. We would take turns having these gathering at each other’s house. This was a time before electronics and cable television. I remember spending an evening with rabbit ears trying to get a decent picture to watch a show. At that time we had three snowy channels. Not always worth the trouble!

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Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

Our entertainment  was enjoying other people’s company. As we became acquainted with other couples they were include in our get together. The ones hosting the party would provide appetizers and highballs which now we call cocktailsThat was the early 60’s when chips and dips were popular and one of the favorite appetizers served. I remember in the late 50 s my first experience with dipping a Utz potato chip into a sour cream onion dip it was surprisingly good. A new concept at that time and still a favorite snack today.

There were a few happy years with many friends and companionship. But circumstances change and life takes you on another path not always a happy one.

Until we meet again!

 

 

 

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Fun Times at Lake Tahoe

The year 1955, I moved in with my two new roommates, Carole and Phyllis. The apartment was only a few blocks from San Jose State college where Carole and Phyllis attended. My mother decided to move to a YWCA downtown, which was close to the library where she worked. It also relieved her of cooking and cleaning, she never did like ether one for that matter. She liked having a career,this move gives her more time to study.  We visited every week, I was her main hairdr

Mainly I lived in Vermont until I turned 18 teen then my mother and I headed for California. That was her idea to make a career change, I didn’t want to leave Vermont and my friends. The young people I met from here were very friendly and soon I made friends. I never did reveal that my mother and father had been ministers, that was a deterrent in making friends.

It wasn’t long before I adjusted to the many different cultures that lived in California. I quickly adapted to eating ethnic foods.To this day Mexican  cuisine is my favorite.