Archive for April 2010

Vignettes – Bev Hardy

April 25, 2010

Ace and I had been married less than a month when his mother’s health got worse. Grace had strongly disapproved of me 25 years before. She didn’t change her mind over the years. When she was in her 70’s she came to Calif. From Illinois to get a face lift. Her Doctor was in Beverly Hills, which she couldn’t change, but she refused to take an apartment in Beverly Hills, because that was my name. Needless to say we didn’t tell her when we married. She died 2 or 3 years later. Never having known. Ace was an only child. His father was dead. There was no question, Ace had to go back to Illinois to take care of his mother.

Johns heart cauterization had turned out well. For the first time in his life he was allowed to carry on all normal activities including gym class. Before our honeymoon I had never been farther north on Highway 101 than Rufugio State Beach. I thought this would be a great time to retrace our honeymoon trip with the kids. Ace thought I should have someone else who could drive in case of emergency. To keep Ace happy I asked Betsy Baker who was 19 and had a driver’s license to join us. She was one of 11 kids and her folks were happy to send her along. (This was a family wanted a Bakers dozen (13 – 2 adults, 11 kids) and could afford the 11 kids. Both were college graduates and he had made a small fortune inventing things used in the space industry.) So Betsy, John who was 16, Ann 12, and Barbara 10 and I headed North in our VW camper.

We didn’t spend any nights in Malibu – too expensive! I planned to have us stay at the Miramar in Santa Barbara. As we went through Ventura the kids wanted to show Betsy the “island”. We had had several fun filled Girl Scout camping trips there. It isn’t really an island but it seemed like it was. It is adjacent to the County Fair grounds, just North of it. At high tide the only way to get the cars, which are parked on the fairground side is over a railroad bridge. The North side has a fair size rive cutting off access. There are several trees, but no tables or rest rooms, so it is primitive camping. We waded over to the island, looking for a small sea horses that we usually found there and keeping our eyes out for interesting seashells. Then we saw the pelican. It just stood there, looking sad. It was skinny and bedraggled looking.

When we walked up to it, it made no effort to walk away. We soon discovered that someone had tied a cord around it’s neck, making it impossible for it to swallow. It was starving to death. We cut the cord and holding it in my arms I waded out into the ocean to let him get wet and see if he wouldn’t drink some water. (I learned later pelicans don’t drink water – they get the fluid they need from the fish they eat.) I dipped it’s beak in the water, lifted it’s head and stroked it’s neck. It seemed to swallow some, but maybe a little didn’t hurt it. Holding the pelican we waded back to the car. Betsy sat in the front passenger seat holding the pelican. We got some wild looks from pedestrians and other cars as we went in search of a fish store and a public phone, where I hoped to find some kid of listing for a bird rescue place. We found the fish store first, where we bought some medium size whole fish. I showed Betsy how to lift the birds beak up, put a fish in in mouth and message its neck to get it to swallow. So now we drove along with her feeding fish to the pelican while people gawked. We finally found a phone, but had a lot of trouble finding the bird rescuer, arranged to meet her in market parking lot, handed over the bird to someone who knew what to do and headed north to spend our first night at Mir-a-Mar in Santa Barbara.

The kids loved the Miramar. The sand cleaned up some from the oil spill, but even so I soon got adept at removing tar. There were tennis courts, swimming pools, a train to eat in, free popcorn, shuffle board and a small minature golf course. We found out we could rent a small cottage for only $35 to $45 a night and later had some wonderful birthday parties there.

On we went to Cambria. Heading North on Highway 1 we came to a place called Morro Bay, and just as Ace and I had done we drove in, looked at the rock, read the historical information and headed out. We didn’t think much of the town. There was nothing to do there. We all had fun in Cambria. We stayed in the last motel North of town. The desk clerk stall remembered me from the honeymoon. They also had a miniature golf course and it was just a short walk to moonstone beach where the kids all found small moonstones. The only thing of real interest on the main drag was the Tin Soldier Store. They enjoyed the big battle scenes in the back room. After a dinner in the smorgasbord restaurant across 1 at the north end of town, we were tired enough we went back to the motal to get ready to take off for Big Sur the next day.

We loved the Big Sur area and spent several days in a cheap motel whose cabins were just below Highway 1. We had to drive up the hill to get to the highway and as we pulled out we pulled right into the scene of a traffic accident. It was apparent that the woman who left shortly before us was hit by another car as she entered the highway. Everyone was just standing around looking and doing nothing. I parked the camper and got out. The motel was located on a straight short stretch of the road, with blind curves on each side. The worst wrecked car was blocking one lane with the drive still inside moaning. It was her side that had been hit. I sent Betsy to the down hill side and John to the uphill side to direct traffic. Then I headed for the woman to see how badly she was hurt. It was still amazing me that all the other people were just standing around looking and making no effort to help.

The over weight woman probably in her late 50’s was hyper ventilating and complaining of her hip and back. From the damage to the car, it was conceivable she might have broken her back. She was jammed against the steering wheel. She was sure she was dying. The car windows were open and I reached in and took her pulse, double checked it on her neck. I timed her pulse rate (with John’s heart condition, I was an old hand at this.) I assured her that she had a good strong pulse and she was doing great and wasn’t going to die. I lied a little. Her pulse was racing and irregular, but the minute I assured her she was going to live, it started slowing down, and quit hyper ventilating. One of the things I realized when I first got the car was her little dog, a chihuahua’s left rear paw was being pinched by a crease in the body of the car. It was hanging upside down right next to the back window. It’s eyes were open, but it wasn’t moving or making a sound. I just prayed it would stay that way. I didn’t want anything upsetting the woman whose hand I held, while she continued to calm down. By this time a few people began to come over and peer into the car. Then two guys came over talking about pulling the dent out, and before I realized what they planned, they had readed in and were trying to free the dog. The dog started screaming in pain and the woman’s pulse went crazy. They couldn’t get the dog loose. About this time two rangers arrived and took over. It was probably 15 minutes after the accident, maybe more.

I headed down hill to take over for Betsy who had indicated she needed a break. The two kids had been doing a good job. I found myself very pleased to find out how nice drivers are. They couldn’t see the accident, but when they saw me standing in the road with my arm up, they stopped. Meanwhile John was letting a string of cars through. I walked up to the bend so I could see John’s signal and then I’d have my cars move to the other side of the road and send them through. We had no uniforms, we were nobodies, but everyone followed our directions. Over a half hour had passed before more rangers showed up to take over for us. We soon left Big Sur, headed for Monterey and then home. .

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Easter Sundays – Shirley Palmer

April 25, 2010

When we were first married Easter Sunday meant going down to my in-laws house for a family Easter dinner. My husband’s sister, her husband & their son and Bud and I would all go down to Bud’s parents home for the special dinner. Some years Bud’s other sister and; her husband would drive down from Fresno to join us – and sometimes Bud’s Aunt and her daughter would join us as well. It was a big family dinner party. My one memory of those days was that our nephew who was about 9 wouldn’t eat ham, so there always had to be another meat at the table for him. This totally amazed me, as I’d always been told to eat what was served – no questions asked. But I guess Grandma wanted to spoil him, so he always had something special.

As the years progressed and our children were born and reached the age of Easter egg hunts, we’d color eggs and hide them out in our huge back yard. They’d start out with empty baskets and run to spot the eggs before the other one did. We had a boy and a girl – 2 yrs & 4 months apart. One year after the kids were in bed, Bud took out a dozen eggs and hide them under plants, flower bushes etc – low down so they could easily spot them. He went outside with the kids and I’d hear him saying – “Did you look over here?” – “Did you look over there?” All of a sudden he came running in the house and grabbed all the colored eggs I had left in the baskets and went running outside with his pockets full of eggs. I’d see him send the kids to one side of the yard and he’d drop an egg under a tree and then say “Oh I spot one!” and they’d come running. What had happened was our Norwegian Elk Hound Dog had feasted all night long and eaten all the eggs we put out – so Bud was making a quick cover up – dropping eggs – kicking the dog to get away and calling the kids. It was quite a sight. The kids were too young to realize the eggs they found that the Easter Bunny left outside were the Easter eggs from their baskets – as they had chocolate bunnies etc. and I was quick to refill their baskets. Our trick worked – the dog (Inga) was in big trouble.

The next year we got smart and hid all the eggs up in the trees – where the branches came together. We’d fool Inga this year. Well in the middle of the night it started to pour rain – so when the kids got up to go outside we had trees with all sorts of colors running down their trunks – and white eggs waiting to be discovered – which wasn’t much of a challenge – just follow the colored tree and you’d find an egg. By this time we’d invited some neighbors kids down to join in the hunts – so it was more like 3 dozen eggs out there. Despite the bad weather one or two years – we had the egg hunt for years.

My kids left for school before I left for work, so I was usually in the bathroom putting my makeup on and they’d come in and kiss me good-bye. This one morning Gary (our son) said I left a letter for you on the kitchen table Mom. Well that was unusual – but I said O.K. – hoping it wasn’t something from a teacher where he was in trouble. They went off to school – I came out and on the kitchen table was a letter – “To Mom” – Teri (that was our daughter) and I know there is no Easter bunny – we’ve know a long time. Would you kindly leave some money so we can walk over to Sav-on’s after school and buy the kind of Easter candy that we like!” Love, Gary and Teri. Sav-on’s was about 3 blocks from our house – having to cross a major intersection, but there was a signal there. So I left some money with the instructions to be careful crossing the street and to stay together. And to call me at work when they got home. They did exactly as they were told – they were so happy to get the candy they liked – not what I had been buying. So that was the end of the Easter Bunny at our house. They still enjoyed Easter Egg hunting in the back yard, but by this time we had added a Black Labrador to our family, so the trick was keeping 2 dogs from eating our bounty!!

After church on Easter we tried to do something special. One year I remember we drove up to Solvang and walked the village and had a Danish dinner. All dressed in our fine duds – I wonder how I walked all day in those high heels.

Well now fast forward to Grandchildren. One year our daughter and her husband wanted to go away for a week for their April Anniversary, so they brought their 2 kids down into the LA area. The other Grandparents had them the first of the week – I was to get them Thursday through Sunday (which was Easter). When the other Grandpa delivered them to me – his comments were – “Well good luck – we’ve been sick all week!”. Encouraging introduction!! I was working in Glendale at the time and went down to the Cuban bakery to get some of their meat pies for Easter lunch and was going to make a spaghetti salad – had a nice menu planned. By Saturday my husband was sick – bad flu! The kids were much better. They were like 2 and 5. Bud was laying out on the chaise lounge on our deck as the weather was warm. He was doing better by Sunday, when it hit me hard. I tried to get John outside to hunt for Easter eggs – I had only hid a few on the deck – above the dog area. I felt just awful and kept running back into the house to the bathroom – to do “my thing”.

Finally I came outside and here is John with an empty basket and I started saying – “did you look here?” – didn’t work. Finally he handed me the basket and said – “This is dumb!!” I said O.K. with me – and went and laid back down on the couch. About noon our daughter and husband arrived. Bud’s outside on the lounge – I’m in the living room moaning on the couch and daughter Teri says – “What’s wrong?” I explained the kids came down sick and were kind enough to pass it on to Bud and I. She asked me where Candy was – I told her in the Den destroying our telephone! At that point I could have cared less about the phone. She went in and got her and said, “Mom – she in her warm jammies – it’s almost 100 degrees outside. My comment was that I hadn’t noticed and I was sorry – but this had not been a good day. So they packed up their kids – together with the meat pies I had purchased and headed out. Bud and I spent the rest of that Easter Sunday stretched out, sleeping – running to the bathroom – and wondering why Grandchildren are so quick about sharing their germs. The next thing – I woke up Monday unable to open my left eye – I bathed it with eye wash and went to work. My fellow workers told me how bad I looked, which brightened my day. Then my boss came into my cubicle and said, “Shirley – I want you out of here and to the Dr. pronto – I’m sure you have Pink Eye” I got it from my grandkids last year and you look exactly the same. So off to the Dr. I went and yes, I did have Pink Eye. John had been kind enough to share that with us along with the flu.
Well we’ve had many pleasant Easters since those years, but it’s fun looking back. Life seems much simpler when you get old – go to church, make something to contribute to the dinner you’ve been invited to, eat, enjoy the company and then go home and rest. Praise the Lord for Easter and all my Easter memories.