Posts Tagged ‘California’

About My Dad

September 7, 2014

I was watching Sunday Morning on CBS earlier and they were talking about the anniversary of the death of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria as the beginning of WWI in 1914.  That made me think of Dad, he would have been 100 last march.  I realized I have a list of things to write about him, especially since my sister wanted to hear things about him she didn’t know.

I remember when his parents came up to visit from California – Grandmother slept in my bed and Grandfather in Candy’s room.  Ellen had her room downstairs in the basement and Candy & I slept in the rec room.  I remember going upstairs to kitchen early in the morning and sharing tea with Grandmother while she told me stories about Dad.   I’ve always wished I could have known her better, but she died when I was 14 – those early mornings were special to me.  I wish I had written down the stories at the time, I’m having trouble remembering them.  I know she talked about the time  the kitchen porch roof caught fire, not sure what started it.

She had a very nice apartment in Buffalo when she and grandfather were married.  Shortly after she had her first baby, Grandfather and her sister Elizabeth went out and bought a farm in Orchard Park – then present it to Grandmother.  The problem was that it has no electricity, running water or any amenities – not the best place to have a new baby.  She was left alone with the handyman during day while my Grandfather went into Buffalo to his Interior Decorating studio.  Eventually they had running water and electricity – by then my Dad’s other sister Emmie was born and then Dad.

In 1926 Grandmother went out to visit her brother in Southern California – he was building houses in Palos Verdes at the time.  There weren’t too many but there was a committee that had to approve the plans.  They wanted only old style Spanish houses, red tile and stucco.   So her brother was building them and Grandmother decided she wanted to move there.  So she wrote Grandfather to come out and see what it was like.  Unfortunately, the day he arrived on the train, it was pouring rain.  However, he agreed to move there and he would help with the interior decoding of the new houses.  He used fine draperies, oriental rugs and antiques in his designs.  He would have his studio in Malaga Cove Center.

So back they went to Buffalo and packed up three kids, Gertie and all they could carry in two cars and drove across country to California.  My Dad was about 12 or 14 at the time, the youngest child.  He remember he was in the car with his dad and sisters and they stopped somewhere. There was a river and one of sisters nearly drown – I doubt they said anything to Grandmother.

They made it to California all in ne piece and Grandfather bought an old Spanish style house near the golf course in Palos Verdes.  My Dad and his sisters went to Palos Verdes High School and Dad had made a lot of friends.  Some were a little shady but Dad was not about to be talked into anything he didn’t want to do.  He couldn’t be shady or do illegal stuff if his life depended on it.  He used to work at the swim club as a lifeguard and in his high school annual, several girls wrote “To the Dancing Sheik” – he had a slow easy way of dancing the girls loved.  How odd he and my Mom were never able to dance together – haven’t figured that out or thought it smart to ask.

He loved cars and dance music, his mother  wondered if he would ever share her love of classical music.  He told me one day that he heard a piece and it clicked with him and he was a classical music lover forever after.   He still enjoyed dance bands and other kinds of music – I’ sure his mom was delighted to see how much he enjoyed classical music.  He used to say that when Grandmother bought a gift for Grandfather, she would buy a piece she loved.

He spent a lot of time with his guy friends and working on cars, he did know a rum runner in those days but I don’t know if he ever went out with Dick or not.  In the late 30’s before he went into the aircraft industry, he worked for Dick building boats in Wilmington, Calif.  It was by the water and one day he dropped a tool into the water.  He didn’t really want to tell Dick he had lost a tool, but he knew he had to anyway.  When told Dick and apologized, Dick told him”I’m so glad you told me, none of the other guys ever tell me”.    That has always stuck with me.

In 1941, Dad went back east to visit with an uncle and ended up getting a job at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Conn.   He rented a room from a woman who lived in Glastonbury and she just happened to live next door to my Mom’s grandmother.  Mom had seen him but hadn’t been introduced, but the families arranged a blind date for them.  Dad once told me neither of them asked the other marry, they just assumed they were getting married.  Three months later, Dad went to her father and said he wanted to marry his daughter.  Grandfather Sherman told him  “Go back to California and establish yourself.  If in three months you still feel the same, I will give my permission.

In Late December of 1941, just after Pearl Harbor, Mom went to California.  her family thought she was crazy, the Japanese were going to invade California.  Only one aunt supported her and Mom often said it took all her courage to fly  to California by herself.

 

To be continued  . . . . . . . . . . .

 

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Today Is Dad’s 100th birthday

March 24, 2014

My Dad was born on March 24th, 1914 in Buffalo, New York.  His father was an interior decorator in Buffalo, using fine drapery, antiques and oriental carpet.  He had a fairly wealthy clientele and after my Dad’s oldest sister was born, he and Aunt Elizabeth – Grandmother’s sister – bought a farm out in Orchard Park without telling my grandmother until it was a done deal.  She was not happy  moving out to a place with no electricity and running water while my grandfather went into the city every day.  She had a lovely apartment in Buffalo and a new baby; not the best time to go to a farm with no mod cons.

However, she moved and  eventually they finally had running water and electricity, but I don’t think it was easy for her.  She had another daughter, then three miscarriages before my father made his appearance.  From the stories I have heard over the years, Dad was Grandmother’s favorite and Emmie was Grandfather’s favorite – didn’t leave anyone to favor Ibbie, the oldest.  They always said she was everyone’s favorite – didn’t quite compute for her.

Around 1926 my grandmother went to Southern California to visit her brother Frank.  He was living in Palos Verdes, a very wealthy community, building houses.  She loved it out there – who wouldn’t with Buffalo weather – and  wired Grandfather to come out to visit.  Unfortunately he arrived on a very rainy day; when it rains, it pours and doesn’t kid around about it.  Not an auspicious start but he began to like it, so they decided to move there – Uncle Frank would build the houses and Grandfather would furnish them.

They went back to Orchard Park, packed up the kids and Gertie who helped with the kids and set out in two cars to drive across the country.  I wish I could remember the stories Dad told about that – he was about 12 or 13 – especially the one when Emmie almost drown.  However, everyone made it to Palos Verdes and settled in.  My Grandfather thought he was an investor, so he bought some houses on spec which also didn’t sit well with Grandmother.   (He had some quirks – that’s a whole other story!).

1929 was not a good year for them, Grandfather lost the houses and the one where the family lived.  It was an old Spanish style with creamy stucco and Spanish blue trim.  She was upset about losing the house and moving to a much smaller house.  Dad always said he would have survived the Depression better if he had been in Pasadena, a more established place.  By then the older girls had gone to college and were about to be married.  Dad didn’t go to college, he loved working with his hands and worked for a boat builder who was also a former (I think former) rum runner.  He worked in aircraft at Douglas, North American, Lockheed – I didn’t realize they hire for a contract and then workers had to find another job.

Dad enjoyed going out with his friend Jim Reed, plus he had a few somewhat disreputable ones.  Dad always know what he wanted, knew right from wrong, so he was never influenced to get into trouble.  I remember him telling about the time he and Jim rolled the car over on the sand and Jim hurt his arm.  They hoped baking it in the sun would help, but it didn’t.  They did get the car back right side up, but they were found out because Jim had to have his arm fixed.  He did a lot of stuff with cars, he has always loved them and felt if he had been able to keep all the cars he had, he would have quite a collection.  He never bought them new and fixed them himself.

In his high school yearbook, the girls all wrote “To the Dancing Sheik” because they loved dancing with him.  He said he had an easy style, not sure what that meant, but it worked well for him.  From what he said, I don’t think he dated a lot – then again, does a father tell his daughter about romantic adventures?  I think he went to dances a lot and spent time with girls there.  He drove his Mom crazy because when he was on the way out the door, she would ask “Where are you going?” and his answer was “Out”.  When she asked when he would be home, he said “About that time or a little after”.  Funny, his sister Ibbie always said she knew everything he did, but said she didn’t know much.

In 1941, he went back to Connecticut to visit an uncle, stayed in Glastonbury and rented a room in a house near my Mom’s grandmother. He worked at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, so it wasn’t a long commute for him.  At the time, I’m not sure if he was engaged or engaged to engaged and drove quite a way to visit her.  His landlady and Mom’s grandmother arranged a blind date for the two of them – Mom had spent a lot of time checking her grandmother’s flower garden so she knew what he looked like.   No doubt it is obvious he was no longer interested in the other girl after meeting Mom.  They dated and they always said neither asked the other to marry, it was understood.

They went to Mom’s dad and said they wanted to get married.  He told Dad, “Go back to California and establish yourself.  Then, if in 3 moths you still feel the same, then it’s okay with me”.  So Dad went back to California to establish himself and in December was Pearl Harbor.  Mom’s family thought she was crazy to go there – the Japanese would invade and it was dangerous.  Her Aunt Marian was the only one who encouraged her, so in early January, she flew from Connecticut to California to marry Dad.

To be continued.

Bon Voyage Debye!

December 1, 2013

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lYes, it says Bittersweet – Brandy bought it from those owners.  No proper picture with her sign, may have to take one myself to make it accurate.

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Gives you an idea of the inside.  Both side walls are brick – a very old building.  Now you know where I go every Wednesday morning.

Debye and Sal are on their way to San Diego area for who knows how long.

Wednesday at Breakfast Club was Debye’s last day – she and Sal will be leaving to move her to around Carlsbad – near San Diego.  That means we don’t have a massage therapist in the club, though she is working to have Michelle come and join us.  Michelle is Debye’s massage therapist.  I know Michelle from the Holistic Chamber networking group not too long after I moved here.  We met at her Whole Life Center; she and I talked about some promotional things, but nothing came of it because she had such an upheaval in her life for quite a while.

It is hard to say goodbye, Debye is a close friend, partner, teacher and mentor for me.  What is so cool is that she learned a lot from me.  This morning’s meeting was about what we are thankful for and it was wonderful to hear how much this club means to all of us.  It is not the usual networking group, so new people either think it’s great or are a bit put off by us.  We have a lot of fun, laugh and there isn’t that push to get people to buy that I have often found in other networking groups.  We have a structure but not the “have to’s” that so many have – we like to get to know each other first.

I saw Debye on Monday after seeing Dr. Cheryl.   I had time between appointments to buy Debye some lovely roses.  What do you get for the woman who is packing up her life in her van?  They are leaving Sunday, so there is time to enjoy them while they last.

Instead of a massage, she and Sal worked with his lasers, they apparently were using four at a time and really worked all over me.  I didn’t feel much – at first it was like a small pinching pain on my upper thigh, otherwise I didn’t feel anything.  I was very relaxed and allowed my mind to quiet and concentrate on the breaths between.  Sal is also a medical intuitive, so her  checked me over and had a couple of things to tell me.  I was a bit woozy when I got up from the table – not unusual – and was given water and told to drink a lot when I came home.

I was a bit uncomfortable that night and woke up feeling rather stiff and uncomfortable in the morning.  A hot shower helped and I was better by the time I left to go visit Mom.  This morning I was doing pretty well – I realized I felt lighter.  With 43 years of RA, it probably will take a while to work through it.

This morning, instead of the usual 5 minute and 15 minute speakers, it was suggested we spend the time talking about what we are thankful for – seemed to cover mostly the group and how much it means to all of us.

Debye asked to go first because she had things she wanted to say to the group.  She thanked everyone in the club and handed out Pyrite or Fool’s Gold.  It has some very interesting properties, so I want to check them out online.  She also had a gift for 3 people, Judith and myself because we saw her nearly every week  since Debye joined the club.  She gave us Selenite, mine looks like flowers, Judith had one that had long, slender clear crystals.  The third was for Dr. Cheryl – Debye had space in her office and they have referred clients to each other.

I decided to just copy Carri’s minutes on what we were thankful for – it’s a shortened version but you will no doubt get the gist of it.

Judith B-Thanks Nick for fixing gutters. Thanks GRATEFUL FOR: Debye for your care.

Vickie B-Ditto, Ditto!

Dr.Cheryl B-Thankful for everyone. Blessings in life on planet.

Carol B-Thanks for personal growth. Was so scared she sat entire time for first talk.

Dick D-Met Pat and invited to Breakfast Club.  Exciting time-offered services and used referrals.

Brandy D-Had hard pregnancy. He never stopped moving. Thanks for using Down Home Catering.

Dave G-Thanks, Julia.

Lee K-Considers all of us her friend. It’s hard to ask for help. We have given her confidence. When she broke hip,received cards, emails, flowers and rides.  Thanks!

Barrie L-Thanks to Pat for helping with Jon’s last accident.  Thanks to Judith for helping son. Moving from 35 year home to retirement home. 

Julia L-Thanks for being member.

Carri M-She is Thankful, Grateful and Blessed.  Grateful to live in the Northwest and see Mt Rainier.  Thankful for technology that found breast cancer when so small. Surgery scheduled for 1/17. Asked for positive thoughts and prayers.

Pat M-Appreciates everyone!

Al O-Thanks to the entire club. Was part of initial information 20 years ago in April.  One constant has been the club’s support of his career.

Debye P-This is her last meeting.  Handed out “fools gold” as a token to remember her by. Rocks can boost vitality. Helps you conquer anything.  

Darrell S-Wife wants him out of house.  John W gave him turkey feathers for fly fishing. 3 gifts_Judith, Lee and Dr Berry.

Randy S-Thanks to group-you are all friends.
John VZ-Thanks for being among you, He see’s 
beauty.He has something to offer, like all of us.

I thought I would be very drippy saying goodbye to Debye and thanking everyone for all they have done and been for me.  Maybe I just shut my mouth before it got to that point.

A Little Rambling

November 24, 2013

I have been thinking of several ideas for this post – yet I can’t really remember any of them!  Sometimes I am compelled to write a post while other times something happened I just want to tell everyone about it.   What’s frustrating is to have something in mind and not have time to write it at the moment.  Then when I finally have time, it seems either bland or I can’t quite remember what was so compelling.  This gave me a chuckle so I will add this and see where things go:

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Looks as if this is one of those posts that start here and I have no idea where it will go.  When I think about the past week, I remember how down I felt last Friday after visiting Mom.  Not sure how much came from seeing her slowly going downhill, how much I was just tired or the frustration of feeling things are more work than usual.

I had a very good week and accomplished a lot of things – some unexpected and welcome energy for a change.  I began to slow down around Thursday – not my choice – and by Friday I was not so energetic.  Anyway, I just felt down after seeing Mom and it was like that for 3 or 4 days.  I felt like running away by myself for a bit and let someone else take over; but there isn’t anyone else.    I finally caught myself feeling low and a little sorry for myself – maybe I needed a good whinge – and decided, I don’t like this, it is uncomfortable.   I asked the Universe to help me with an attitude overhaul – an adjustment wouldn’t quite be up to the task.

When I do that, sometimes I notice a difference fairly quickly, other times it takes a couple of days.  This was days, not hours.  I had a massage Tuesday and it felt good – it’s been bout 3 weeks since the last.  Tomorrow is my last one with Debye because she is moving to around carlsbad in California – not the most convenient commute.  I am going to miss her so much, especially as a friend and in some ways a mentor as well a massage therapist.  However, I know her friend Michelle so I will check her out because she does things similar to Debye.

I am pleased the week ended a lot better than it started.  I saw Mom this last week and she was fairly aware.  I brought a D.E. Stevenson book to read, but couldn’t find it on Friday.  I was going to take my iPad but couldn’t open it – I had forgotten my passcode.  I found it and when I go Tuesday, I will play some music for her.

When in doubt, talk about the weather.  We have had some gorgeous crisp, clear Fall days – nippy enough for frost.  I was amazed last week to see the sun shining and the Olympics came out from behind the clouds with snow covered peaks.  The other morning I was up early enough to see them look like strawberry sno-cones – all pink in the sunrise.  The Sound was a deep blue – so gorgeous but I was glad to have my car heater warm me up.  As long as I am in the sun, it is a bit warm and nice; in the shade it’s cold and windy.

I need to take a break and have a shower – we aren’t going out today even though it is sunny.  While Eddie vacuumed, I was printing pictures for his 787 exhibit and fixing the mistakes on his info sheet I typed the other day.  That along with this post.  Back in a bit.

BACK Again!

Not that it made a whole lot of difference; except I not only had a shower and got dressed, I also cleaned the bathroom.  So it has taken me a while to come back.  Too bad no fresh ideas, it happens sometimes.  I was hoping this one would start at one point and have an interesting journey to the end.  Can’t win them all.

English Muffins and Orange Marmalade

September 8, 2013

We bought english muffins the other day when Eddie grilled big mushrooms for dinner and we ate them like hamburgers.  Then we had some with toasted cheese with our soup and yesterday morning I had the last one for breakfast.  You may be wondering why I am writing a post about them – here’s the reason.

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English muffin and orange marmalade always makes me think of Eddie when I first met him and my Aunt and Uncle who introduced me to him.  I had been invited down for a 2 week holiday by them between finishing my second year of commercial art school and before I went to work for Boeing.  I can see their kitchen in my mind now and every morning for breakfast they would have coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice along with english muffin and orange marmalade – but not just any kind.  The muffins were always Thomas’ muffins and the marmalade was King Kelly.   I was never able to find it when I lived in the Eastern half of the country, I had to take some with me from my visits here or my California trips.

It was a special time in my life, I had fun with my Aunt and went with her as she was helping out with wedding plans for the young people in her life.  She had two sins and then kind of adopted Elle from Ireland and Bill – not sure where.  Eddie was good friends with my cousin Rob, the younger son who was also going to San Mateo Junior College.  When I arrived for my holiday, Eddie was an established part of the family.

Eddie and my Aunt met at the Red Cross doing the Charleston – Eddie was part of the Foreign Student Club and the Red Cross helped them a lot.  My Aunt was a volunteer – not sure how the Charleston came into it.  My aunt took Eddie under her wing and since he would look for room and board with a family in exchange for help around the house, she found him a place with her neighbor in back.  My Uncle also helped him a lot, plus he was invited to parties and family gatherings.

During my holiday I stayed in Bill’s old room, over the garage.  I can see that in mind as well.  I had visited  them with my family 2 or 3 times when I was growing up, but this trip was different, it was just me.  I had a project from my Dad, to copy my grandmother’s diary since my aunt wouldn’t let it out of the house even to be copied.  I also went with her on her errands and visiting, I enjoyed the drive through Hillsborough and looking at all the fancy houses.

I met Eddie about 2 days after I arrived – he came one evening to talk to my Uncle and before he went upstairs, he sat in the living room with my aunt and me.  I felt such an idiot, so when he came back downstairs and asked me out for ice cream, my jar hit the floor, I was so surprised.  So we went out quite a few times, even went to Sacramento for his class there.  I remember going to the Immigration office – he had to spend a lot of time there and had gotten to know a lot of people who worked there.  He not only went for his own stuff, but also to help new foreign students when they arrived.  Even so, there was still a lot of bureaucratic balderdash.

I remember driving around Hillsborough and the back way to San Mateo with him on our dates.  When I went by the golf course surrounded by huge eucalyptus trees, I thought about taking Max the dog out for a walk with my aunt to the course.  There were eucalyptus trees all over the place, something we don’t have in Washington.  My aunt had a lemon tree in her back yard, she always had fresh lemons.  Something else we don’t have here.

On the side of the house she had a lovely patio with a huge tree to shade it.  We would often have lunch outside there or I would just go sit and relax there.  I read the books she had and it was an enjoyable holiday.  So much so, I stayed an extra week, mostly because of Eddie.  He asked me out for most nights – it was painful for him because he would shave a second time that day and I am sure it must have burned every time after a while.  I didn’t realize that until quite awhile later.

When we came back from Australia, we lived in the Bay Area for 3 years and it continued to feel special to me because every where I went, there was a place Eddie took me or we drove by or something we would do.  We also made a lot of new memories as a married couple and also everywhere we went to live.  The memories here of my Mom and Dad, my two sisters and the wonderful times we shared all through the years.  I also would do English muffins and marmalade quite often and it would take me back to ay aunt’s kitchen in 1968.

Now you know why I wrote about English muffins and orange marmalade – it still gives me those wonderful memories of a time that truly changed my life.


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