This story is back in sequence. It takes place the summer after I went to Europe with Rory.
Traveling in Europe had been such a great adventure, I wanted to go again. My sister Marsha was married and settled in with her husband and son, but my little sister, Connie, was just out of high school and glad to accompany me. It was 1972; I was 26 and she was 18. We planned to travel with backpacks and use public transportation. I was cavalier – “no problem, stick with me, kiddo!” I was the seasoned European traveler. She trusted me and our parents trusted me.
Transatlantic charter flights were inexpensive so that travel was affordable to the middle class. College students and hippies did not mind that the seating was crowded and cramped and that the plane was noisy and the food minimal. Everyone had their paperback copy of Europe on $5 a Day. It was a bare bones travel guide that covered the main cities of Europe listing budget-priced hotels and youth hostels, and inexpensive pubs and restaurants. There was advice about using the subways, trains, and other public transportation, as well as hints on ways to save money. Continue reading “15-Summer in Europe with Connie”→
This story happened 2 years before I met Rory. It was a memorable summer, a significant part of my history. My goal is to show more of my mindset in my early twenties.
All through college I stayed in contact with Nancy, my best friend in high school. In 1967, we had the idea of finding summer jobs where we could help people in some way. Nancy’s older sister, Carol, whose personality and advice had already been so impactful to us years before, was following John F. Kennedy’s call and serving in the Peace Corps in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a Registered Nurse. I’m sure this impacted us greatly.
Nancy heard about summer camps for blind children, so we sent out several applications, hoping to spend the off-school months working together in the same location. But that did not pan out.
Nancy took a position in a blind camp in northern California. I accepted a job with the Foundation for the Junior Blind in southern California. The camp was seven miles inland from that glorious spot of warm, sandy, Pacific-Ocean-beach called Malibu. Unfortunately for those of us who liked to body surf and tan our bodies, we were not allowed off site except on the weekends or for emergencies. Continue reading “14-Summer at Camp Bloomfield”→
When I told God I was leaving Him but that I would at some point “be back” in relationship with Him, little did I know there would be eight years of wandering in the dreadful wilderness known as rebellion.
This is how it looked for me:
I did not take God into account, didn’t ask for His guidance, didn’t ask for protection, and didn’t ask for His provision or His help.
I was “doing life on my own”, just as I had spelled out to Him that afternoon in my dormitory room. I was not considering Him.
That doesn’t mean that I was slothful or negligent or that nothing was accomplished. I was successful in my teaching—children learned to read and write, and my goal was to visit every child’s home each year. Because I was at the school seven years, and many siblings came through my doors, and I knew a lot of the parents on a first-name basis. Some of those of years I had small groups of students to my house for dinner.
My good-buddy teaching friend, Kathy, and I got the brainy idea to take my first grade class and her third/fourth grade class (which was on the nearby Paiute Indian reservation) to Disneyland for a day trip. Once again I had a friend with a strong personality (like Nancy) and lots of plans and goals, and we worked together very well.
We formed a 501c3 corporation which we named Excursion Bound. We procured a sizable donation ($1,500) from a local foundation, The Fleishman Foundation, and collected many small donations from rummage sales, interested community organizations, concessions stands at various schools’ sports events, and individuals, raising a total of $4,500. Recycling was a brand new phenomenon and very popular, and the kids and their parents and friends saved tons of aluminum cans.
Kathy and I had both grown up in southern California and had both been to Disneyland several times. We wanted our students to have their own magic experience there, one that they may not have a chance to enjoy in their future. Continue reading “12-My Class Goes to Disneyland”→
I always postscript the story of my husband’s and my marriage breakup with a realization that I had a few years afterward: marriage is 100%–100%. He had not given his 100%, but neither had I. The breakup was a shared responsibility.
You know, it is so nice not to blame and be angry and live in self-righteous justification that I did everything right and the other person was a jerk. It is so freeing! We were young and misguided. Two of the popular movies were “Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice” (which we did not see) and “The Graduate.” Wife swapping and adultery were the subject matter. In our small circle of friends, which was mostly university students, ‘commitment’ was not the popular moral standard of the day. We were in the world and of the world. That was our entire frame of reference.
We continued following our itinerary and in Switzerland we met a couple, Lance and Cher, from the Bay Area. They also had a VW bus and were our age. We got along very well and traveled together the final three weeks of our trip, sharing meals, exploring the countryside, sitting around the campfires in the campgrounds. This friendship was a godsend and helped compensate for the strain Rory and I were experiencing in our relationship.
A funny story: Whenever Cher and I looked at each other we felt like we were looking in a mirror! We looked so much alike, and the men agreed, that we laughed self-consciously every time our eyes met. I thought she was really cute and she felt the same about me! But neither of us liked our own looks particularly. Crazy.
My job interview had taken place a few days before Christmas vacation. I continued to work at the insurance agency up until the last minute before school started so that we could pay the rent and do the grocery shopping. I was so excited to be going back to the classroom.
Glenn Duncan School was in a low-income neighborhood and my classroom and 3 others were part of the Follow Through program. FT was a federally-funded program that was a continuation of education, health checkups, and social services to the children who had been in the Head Start Program.
I found out later that because the school was located in a low-income neighborhood, my school loans got paid off at a greater percentage than if I was working in a middle class school. That was a definite perk. Continue reading “9-New Job!”→
My husband, Rory, had goals and plans. His first priority was to obtain a Master’s Degree in sociology. The University of Nevada accepted him and offered to pay him a stipend to help him achieve his goal.
We moved to Reno in the summer of 1969, after five months of marriage. I cried as we drove on the freeway leaving behind the miles and miles of forests thick with pines, firs, junipers and sequoias which crowded together in the Sierras.
Entering Nevada, I was temporarily consoled for many miles by the rushing Truckee River. I was distracted by the fishermen and the people rafting, but not comforted. I was going to be a frustrated California girl longing for my home turf. Continue reading “8-We Move to Reno”→
Rory and I began seriously dating and I took that Vespa ride to his house often. It wasn’t long before my old traditional morals which were stuffed down and embedded deeply, were conflicting with my progressive under-the-influence-of-marijuana-and-beer/make-love-not-war morals.
My life took a drastic shift. I was trying to juggle too much of the new me with the old me. I made an appointment at the campus infirmary where birth control pills were distributed freely. But I also asked for a prescription for tranquilizers for the high anxiety that was my constant companion. Continue reading “6-Rory and Me”→
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