12-My Class Goes to Disneyland

12-My Class Goes to Disneyland


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”

10-Rory Moves Out

10-Rory Moves Out

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.

A scary story: After the trip, Cher and I kept in touch. The next summer she and Lance were going Continue reading “10-Rory Moves Out”

9-New Job!

9-New Job!


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!”

8-We Move to Reno

8-We Move to Reno

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”

6-Rory and Me

6-Rory and Me


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”

5- Bound by a Childhood Vow

5-Bound by a Childhood Vow

Here is the background of the conflict that was at war inside me regarding sleeping with Rory.

I attended kindergarten and first grade at the Santa Clara Church elementary school. As a seven year old I began expressing an interest in being a nun so that I could emulate my beloved teachers, Sister Celine Marie and Sister Francis Eileen. My parents transferred me to our neighborhood public school for second grade.

My mom told me later that she wanted me to be able to make my own independent choices about my life and not be overly influenced in my early formative years about something so serious that I might become committed to the dream of being a nun and not able to budge from it later. Continue reading “5- Bound by a Childhood Vow”

4 -Nice Girl Wobbles and Topples

    4-Nice Girl Wobbles and Topples

vespaI was getting A’s on my tests in a sociology class and a guy asked if he could study with me because sociology was his major and he had to do well in the class. Rory was not bad looking, sort of cocky, and drove a Vespa scooter.
He was tall and his long legs dominated the vehicle. Owning a Vespa was pretty uncool, but I good-naturedly donned the extra helmet and found that I enjoyed riding on it. Rory seemed like he was in the straight-arrow nice-guy category, and I was immediately impressed that he conscientiously followed the speed limits and all of the driving rules, using hand signals and going the speed limit.

Rory and I studied sociology in the library several times and then he invited me out to his house for dinner. He lived several miles off campus with a good friend of his who was a great guy with a very neat girlfriend. Dick had a round face, a big boyish smile, and a rumbily contagious laugh. Since almost everything Jane said struck his funny bone because he was so in love with her, laughter filled the house. Continue reading “4 -Nice Girl Wobbles and Topples”

3-Nice Girl’s College Stories

3-Nice Girl’s College Stories

During my three years at Fresno State College, I see that I was a small sloop, bobbing on a vast sea of challenges, rather than being a solid house on a rock able to weather the incessant storms that came against me—and everyone—in that era.

Liberal philosophies threatened my conservative political base. And I caved in to them. The new social movement embodied the antithesis of my religious morality. And in time I embraced it.

Time magazine’s cover in April, 1966, asked, Is God Dead? Theologians were debating God’s existence. Professors and students were questioning the meaning of life and many concluded that ‘anything goes.’

Up until the mid-fifties, average Americans read the evening paper and listened to the news on the radio. Occasionally they would go to the movie theater and see the visuals of uprisings in other countries and hurricane damage in Florida. With the proliferation of television, families were daily watching heart-wrenching civil rights demonstrations, assassination reports of beloved and revered personalities, violent university riots, and devastating warfare footage from Southeast Asia.

It is appropriate for children to separate themselves from their parents during the late teens and twenties and to form their own opinions and choose their own lifestyles. Continue reading “3-Nice Girl’s College Stories”

2-Nice Girl Says Goodbye to God

2-Nice Girl Says Goodbye to God

I was pretty sure I had the grades to transfer to a state college, but would my wonderful parents be able to make the leap from my being a secretary in one of the businesses in our small town to my pursuing a teaching credential? We were solidly middle class, yet I didn’t know if my dad could afford to send me away to college. It took all of my courage to present my new idea.

My dad said he would pay for the first year of college and if I did well and wanted to keep going, I could apply for student loans for the next two years.

As a family we visited San Diego State College, a long drive down the coast. It was close to my beloved Pacific Ocean, but the campus was much too big and sophisticated for a girl from a small farming community. We went to Fresno State, and it was a fit. It was an agricultural school and had a very good teachers’ program.

It was 1965 and the Catholic Church was in the midst of adjusting to the new Vatican II decrees. After a lifetime of honoring the revered traditions of the church, the radical changes in Church procedures shook my faith to the core. Continue reading “2-Nice Girl Says Goodbye to God”