Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Open House

“Bed and Breakfast” may be a relatively new term.  Yet we did not consider our week-end guests as a source of profit.  Rather they were easily entertained and our two daughters were more than cooperative.  We felt we should willingly share our home with some of the Vandenburg fellows who yearned for some family life.  Here there were few rules and considerable freedom.

No extravagant meals were served, no beds to make – nor any provided, and no alcohol was allowed.  Our girls and at times another girl or two provided companionship.  Our small dog was always eager to take a walk.  Table games and croquet allowed competition.

One young fellow, a Catholic, entered the front door by exclaiming, “God Bless this home.”  Another had some talent for painting and registered in an art class at Hancock.  There were many discussions and takes of home life in Idaho or Pennysylvania.

On Sunday morning Mom and Dad dressed quietly, tip-toed into the kitchen, and ate a light meal.  The sleeping-bag forms on the living room floor were not disturbed as we stepped over and around them.  We drove away to attend a Bible Class and for Choir practice – After an hour and a half Dad drove home to pick up his passengers.

It is fair to say that it was a fairly profitable venture as the two most regular became members of the family.  We have been provided with four grandaughters and two grandsons.  As of yet non has joined the armed forces, but Lisa will be commissioned as a Navy nurse in December

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Don’t Just Stand There

As I answered the door that Saturday morning I had no inkling of the sort of day I was to have.  There stood a strangely subdued neighbor girl, this youngest of four.  She was holding some library books.

“Mrs. Park, will you take these over to the school for me?  They are due next week.”

“I’ll be glad to Susie.  Has something happened to your father?  I know your mother just got home, and she was sure that he was out of danger.”

“He was real good, but now he’s dead and we are all going to San Diego as soon as we are ready.”

“How will you go?  Your station wagon is down there, and you wont be able to fit in the VW.  Who is going with you?”

“I don’t know, but we called the police.”

Suddenly realizing that I might be ‘up to bat’ I hurried next door.  Sure enough a speechless police officer stood helplessly by.  I looked around.  The mother in-law, two high school girls, and two young ones stood quietly near their hastily assembled luggage.  I began to put two and two together.

The woman standing before me was a zombie.  Her eyes were fired, and she appeared to be detached.  Over and over she stated in a self-accusing tone, “I killed him.  I killed him.  I killed him.”

In desperation I appealed to the officer, requesting permission to take her to my doctor.  It was plain to see that she was in no shape to make the trip.  As my mind considered – and rejected various possibilities, I found only one feasible solution.

Just as we were ready to go to the doctor’s, I rushed home and spoke to my daughters.  “Tell Dad we’ll take our Falcon and their Volkswagen.  We’ll need a thermos of cold water as it’s going to be a hot trip.

When the doctor was told the circumstances he was quick to give Marie a sedative.  He handed me an envelope containing some extra pills which I promised to leave with her sister-in-law who was a nurse.

Two of the girls, one a Junior in High School, and their mother climbed in the Volkswagen.  I knew little if anything about driving one, but I could always ask questions.  My young companion should have given the answers but her mother was able to instruct me.  Shelly did not volunteer any kind of information as she may have been in shock.

Fortunately I had a close idea of the route to follow and all events well except for the unseasonable heat.  I doubt that either car had air conditioning, yet there were no complaints.  It was fortunate that there were no sounds of grief.  I was not prepared for such outbursts.

Somewhere between L.A. and San Diego we felt the need for a break as some refreshment would be advisable, and my left leg was in desperate need of straightening out.  The leg space was very cramped.  We found a small grocery and bough bread, cold cuts, fruit and drinks.  That appeared to lighten our spirits quite a bit.

As we reached San Diego I followed the directions to the home of the sister of the deceased.  She may have been surprised but at the same time relieved.  Decisions needed to be made.

The members of the miller family were too numb to function except for Marie.  The older girls were capable of helping with the house work which was wise.  The little ones were meanwhile reassured.  The father had been in the hospital for a week or more before his surgery.  A blood clot had formed and caused his death.

My husband and I did not feel ready to return to Santa Maria in the heat.  We contacted a family we had known in Santa Maria and whose son was a close friend of one our our sons. After a light meal we drove to their home and visited for an hour or more.  The ice cream we all enjoyed was a treat.

During our homeward trip we kept hearing some unfamiliar road noises.  We checked all the tires but to no avail.  Eventually we found one of the rear windows partially open.  After it was closed the frustrating sound no longer existed.  We reached home at about 4:00 a.m. and stretched out in our own bed.

From time to time we have had numerous visits from Marie or one of the daughters with a bridegroom in tow.  Some of their memories in this home were good ones.  Strangely our relationship has been closer since the unfortunate occurrence that we were able to help them get through.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Random Notes

Margaret – some type of concern – health, family, safety etc.

Papa seemed never to have enough time unless he was driving a team and showing us the contents of his trunk.  He tended to consume his food so he could keep going.  “If I just had 40 men.”  Where’ve you been all the forenoon*?

Mama, too, pushed herself.  First things followed by next things, and yet more things.  All along her busy mind kept planning, deciding, and accomplishing.

Dear Grace coping as best she could, ever fearful through not foolishly.  Such a dear friend.

Chick, the neighbor with grand hopes to be a car owner, a dog breeder

*at least I think she wrote forenoon. It was written along the edge of the page and I cant be sure of the spelling.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Thoughts re:Heroes

Until we know more than one fact of a person’s life, we can not judge fairly the value of their heroism.  A hero must be self-disciplined and be dedicated to certain values.  Oftentimes someone in his life has been a role-model.  At other times an event has made a strong impression on him be it a lynching, a fear of fire, or seeing a helpless child or animal in distress.

Some heroism is sparked by disaster, some by a desire to effect change, and some by just deciding to stand up and be counted.  Quite often heroes become so by circumstances – shipwrecks, floods, avalanches etc

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Taken for Granted

The taken for granted use of gasoline, heating oils and harnessing of The Geysers located near Geyserville, CA have long been a marvel in my thinking.  Natural gas exploding from the earth just a few miles from our Colo. farm and created new vision and opened wider fields of possible sources of ‘cheap’ energy.  Great power to be harnessed.

As I lay in the hospital bed after the birth of my first child, I scanned an article in ‘Life’ mag. about a young calf born in New England, but fathered by an Argentine bull.  I challenged by obstetrician wondering why our medical profession being behind the times.  He was a bit nonplussed.

Candle-making a lost art?  Not so, but a useful one.  Coleman lanterns most useful but requiring gasoline and some expertise.

Small stoves become popular as kerosene could be used in hot weather as a fuel rather than coal or wood.  Much comfort resulted.

One invention we have all profited from is the rubber tired vehicles.  To travel on wheels with iron rims rather than inflated rubber or pneumatic tires.  Consider our athletic shoes we love.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Role Model

Not being conscious of having a hero, I’ll settle for a role model.  Not many are qualified for such a responsible position, but without a doubt my mother filled that position.

With better than average education and considerable ability, Mama gave her family the image of a courageous woman, well mannered, and talented.  By the time I was old enough to remember her she served as doctor, teacher and entertainer.  She was a source of anecdotes, stories, fun and games, and book lore.  She served our clothes, cut our hair, and baked our bread.

Life was fascinating as we accompanied her to the country school where she taught.  She and Papa ‘broke’ the young horses, chopped trees, and trapped muskrats.  A gun was kept within reach to control chicken hawks by day or late travelers at night when Papa was gone.  We harvested wild mushrooms, raised ducklings from wild duck eggs, and came to the rescue when the neighbor’s pet bear had entered their house and was vandalizing it.

I treasure several samples of her literary offerings.  Creativity was always searching for expression in her busy life


I received a large box of genealogy goodies from my Aunt and in going through it found a treasure trove of stories my Grandmother wrote. 

These need to be shared and I figured this would be one of the better ways to share with the family and any others who may come across them.

Not every story has a date and I believe most are about events that happened as she remembers or she added to the memory, making a fantasy out of the story.

I hope you enjoy them.